AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Airlines will continue to develop Moscow as a gateway with airport partners, having helped increase volumes at Sheremetyevo International Airport by 20 per cent.
Total cargo volumes at Sheremetyevo were 60,000 tonnes in the first eight months of 2018, with around 40 per cent originated from China, with commodities including hi-tech equipment and electronics, and e-commerce shipments.
The rest came Europe and the Americas, with fashion goods, pharma products, industrial equipment and e-commerce coming from Europe and different industrial equipment and e-commerce from the Americas. Aerospace exports bound for Europe are strong.
ABC general director, Sergey Lazarev says: “Our joint commitment to bringing the level of logistics sector services in Russia to the next level is shouldered by introduction of the latest technologies and modern equipment, application of cutting-edge IT solutions to improve customer experience, and paying particular attention to talent acquisition and proper training.”
With the peak season approaching, Lazarev says ABC is expecting demand in Russia to increase driven by online sales events including single day, pre-Christmas and New Year sales.
Lazarev says: “Apart from that, we forecast upsurge of transit and transfer volumes through our hub in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport on trade lane Asia-Europe during peak season. Overall, our assumption for the growth of Moscow export/import volume is that it will exceed 20 per cent.”
The airline has been focusing on products for high-end services for special cargo including pharmaceuticals, dangerous goods and e-commerce. The airline has also been listening to customers and introducing new routes where required.
“This year, so far, we have covered regions of Americas with the introduction of Columbus, Budapest, and Ho Chi Minh City to meet the market demand and customer expectations with various types of cargo. Each new point within our international network facilitates access to more cargo destinations worldwide with wide choice of products for special cargoes” Lazarev explains.
The aim is to continue expanding ABC’s network based on customers’ demand and developing specialist products including abcPharma, abcDG and abcXL, which Lazarev says are in “great demand among our customers”.
Quality of service is very important, with Lazarev saying: “One of our key focuses will remain bringing level of quality performance to a higher level and keeping our 48-hour cargo delivery option for the whole network, optimising our costs and developing IT infrastructure to make the process of air freight delivery as transparent and easy as possible.”
As with any airport, there are challenges of doing business in Moscow including airport operations being focused on passenger demand. Russia’s weather, particularly in the winter can also cause delays.
Customs regulations mean BUP cargo acceptance and hand-over are not possible, and though the first steps towards e-document implementation has taken place, it will be a long time until there is 100 per cent penetration in Moscow.
Despite the challenges, Moscow is in a favourable geographic location with infrastructure receiving significant upgrades in recent years. Lazarev cites road improvements, improved rail access across the country and logistics centres around the Moscow circle road. Imports are benefiting from surging e-commerce sales in Russia and the development of business relations with other countries. Moscow’s airport operator also understands the importance of cargo infrastructure and is working to attract more cargo carriers.
Lazarev also highlights qualified personnel as another reason for making Moscow a successful gateway, saying: “For the last 10-15 years the logistics sector has managed to grow its own professionals, who are properly trained, certified, and have the right set of knowledge and understanding of the market and infrastructure.”