Tonnage trebled at Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) in 2016 to 9,522 tonnes and the northern located UK gateway is aiming to grow further.
The operator at DSA is Peel Airports and cargo manager, Dayle Hauxwell says it was line with planned growth, but it has exceeded expectations in the diversity of carriers and business welcomed to DSA. “Although the core is large ad-hoc movements we are seeing much more repeat business and airlines returning as part of long term projects,” Hauxwell says.
In 2016, DSA worked closely with DHL as a partner during the East Midlands Airport (EMA) runway closures. For the duration of closures it handled their weekend operation and diverts, totalling 90 movements and 1,000 tonnes.
Hauxwell says: “This was a great test of our capabilities, proving our ability to handle intensive integrator operations and importantly, we were able to meet DHL’s high expectations.”
DSA is now rivalling EMA in the north of the UK. Hauxwell says: “Historically, EMA has been seen as the default choice because of its established position in the market, however we believe we provide available capacity and a more broader and flexible solution to serve the problem of increasingly congested airports across the whole of the UK.
“In 2016 we opened a £60 million link road which has significantly improved access to the UK motorway network, which combined with our central location means we can serve the whole of the UK. Taking EMA specifically, there is less than 60 miles between us and negligible difference in both flying and fuel cost.”
DSA has developed expertise in handling oversize cargo and types of cargo requiring specialist loading, and express handling solutions for ultra-time sensitive material.
But what is it hoping for in 2017? Hauxwell says: “Our primary focus is to continue improving our product, listening and responding to our customer needs which is driving the fantastic levels of growth we are currently seeing. We have for example recently been approved as a Dedicated Port of Entry allowing us to handle certain categories of Perishables imports.
“This is an area we are looking to grow through 2017 capitalising on our speed of handling and connectivity to key UK markets.”
DSA is targeting inroads into the perishables market and hoping to see growth in time sensitive consumer markets. Hauxwell adds: “Just as automotive relies on just-in-time stock management we believe many of the global retailers will move towards more dynamic logistics solutions and DSA is placed to meet those needs.”
DSA will be investing in airfield infrastructure in 2017. But Hauxwell says most importantly, it will be investing in the Transit Shed itself to increase floor space to 50,000 square feet, to deliver an improved process for transit shed operator Anglo World Cargo. It will boost access and see a HGV parking area built.
DSA is positive about Brexit. Hauxwell says: “It’s too early to predict the business implications of Brexit and much will depend on the UK’s final position on customs union and free trade. We do believe the UK market is resilient enough to adapt and find opportunities within whatever the final outcome may be.”
As for a 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport: “We do not believe a 3rd runway will significantly improve Heathrow’s position to develop further pure cargo capacity, particularly given the demands of passenger traffic which we believe will be the major beneficiary.
“We believe long term cargo forecasts suggest the UK will need additional cargo capacity that is unlikely to be provided in the South East alone. DSA offers available capacity now, with space to grow within our existing footprint and is well placed to meet this long term demand.”