Air France KLM Martinair (AF-KL-MP) Cargo says one of its priorities in Saudi Arabia (KSA) is sending out electronic air waybill (eAWB) shipments.
AF-KL-MP project manager for the Middle East, Gulf and Indian Subcontinent, Sophie Duret (pictured), explains to Air Cargo Week: “Increasing e-AWB usage into the Middle East is one of the priorities of our global strategy. AF-KL-MP has a dedicated e-freight expert for the MEGIS (Middle East, Gulf & Indian Subcontinent) market, working with the International Air Transport Association to improve the eAWB usage in the region.
“UAE and Qatar were where we were able to develop eAWB usage most significantly, from 74 to 88 per cent penetration by June this year. And our main focus now is Saudi Arabia. In order to boost eAWB usage in the Kingdom, the strategy is to work on a joint plan with our key accounts. After a roll-out period for the testing and improvement of the quality of messaging, we will focus on smaller local players.
“AF-KL-MP Cargo still has some room to improve in the region for our customers’ eAWB adoption,” she admits, but adds, “We believe that Saudi Arabia has a good driving force to pull its Middle Eastern neighbours in the right direction of increasing eAWB usage.”
AF-KL-MP has two stations in KSA in Riyadh, the capital, and Dammam, in the east. Air France flies to the former four times a week from Paris, while KLM operates to Dammam from Amsterdam three times a week.
“We are able to carry 12-13 tonnes of cargo on our Riyadh flight and 14-15 tonnes on the Dammam flight,” Duret notes. “KSA is mainly an import market for consumer goods, oil and gas, aerospace and industrial goods, but pharma products and fresh products are also carried. For exports, we are mainly carrying some local products to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, but also some personal effects to Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Dates also represent important traffic from Dammam.”
The carrier expects the same capacity to Dammam through the winter 2015-16 programme until March 2016. The Riyadh capacity will be adjusted downward during the winter.
Imports into KSA from the Far East, have picked up of late, in the form of consumer goods to oilfield equipment, Duret says. KSA’s airfreight sector is being boosted by the strength of the country’s transport infrastructure development and other project cargo traffic being flown in. But it is also now a more competitive marketplace, Duret points out.