Emirates unlock seafood markets

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Emirates boosts its network


India is one of the fastest growing markets globally for the food and beverage sector. With a young population that is increasingly well travelled and familiar with international cuisine, there has been a growing awareness and demand in the country for quality produce and food ingredients from around the world.

In 2015, Catch of Norway Seafood, a family business based out of Bengaluru and Oslo, realised the immense potential for bringing fresh seafood from the cold waters of Norway to fine-dining restaurants and homes of customers in India. Mark Alzawahra, co-founder of the company moved to India and set up a small office in Bengaluru to import and distribute salmon and other seafood to end customers in the country.

Over a period of five years, Catch of Norway has met with success, rapidly expanded its client base by supplying to restaurants in 5-star hotels, premium and organic supermarkets as well as leading catering businesses across more than 10 cities in India. Following on from its success in the b2b sector, Catch of Norway has now also established its own direct to customer channels, allowing for individual customers across many cities in India to source seafood from Norway.

From its early days of setting up business in India, Catch of Norway has had a reliable partner in Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates. Through its cargo operations across a global network, Emirates SkyCargo helps facilitate the rapid movement of fresh seafood from Oslo to Bengaluru via Dubai.

“Our first shipment of fresh salmon was transported in 2015 with Emirates from Oslo to Bengaluru via Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo has literally been part of our success from the first time we imported salmon in to India to this day. Emirates came highly recommended and we were already aware of the reputation of the passenger and cargo services. There is a lot of trust in the name Emirates and the organization does not disappoint,” commented Mark Alzawahra, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Catch of Norway Seafood.

“Emirates SkyCargo has the best and widest route network with multiple flight frequencies from key cities. For perishables such as premium salmon, cod, halibut, and shellfish, minimizing transport time, transit times, and turnaround times on the ground is crucial. Having multiple flights from Oslo to Dubai and onwards to Bangalore has been very important. If there are delays, there are backup flights within a short timeframe if the initial connection was missed.

“Emirates SkyCargo’s teams in Oslo and Bangalore have been very responsive and supportive over the years. We imported 50 kg of fresh whole salmon and fresh salmon fillets and portions for our first shipment in to India. In 2020, we were importing almost one tonne of fresh seafood from Norway every shipment, mostly with Emirates SkyCargo. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates SkyCargo has been operating regular cargo connections to Bengaluru, helping maintain the continuity of the supply chain” added Alzawahra.

Emirates SkyCargo prides itself as a business enabler for small and medium sized enterprises operating internationally by helping them access growth opportunities in new markets through its flight connectivity. Currently Emirates SkyCargo flies cargo to over 125 destinations across six continents. Through its global network and modern all-widebody aircraft fleet, the air cargo carrier is able to rapidly transport time-sensitive cargo including fresh seafood and other agricultural produce from origin to destination.

With Emirates Fresh, Emirates SkyCargo’s specially designed air cargo product for perishables, the carrier is able to ensure that commodities such as sea food retain their freshness throughout the journey.

Emirates SkyCargo has been operating flights to Oslo since 2014. In addition to passenger flights, the air cargo carrier also operates freighter flights to the Norwegian capital since October 2016, offering around 100 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight. Between 2016 and 2018, Emirates SkyCargo helped export over 35,000 tonnes of Norwegian salmon to a number of export markets in the Middle East and Asia. Over the last three years, Emirates SkyCargo has transported over 225,000 tonnes of seafood across the globe.

Emirates SkyCargo connects nine destinations in India to its international cargo network through scheduled cargo flights. India is one of the cargo carrier’s most important markets globally. In 2019, Emirates SkyCargo transported more than 250,000 tonnes of cargo to and from India, including important exports of food items and perishables as well as pharmaceuticals.

As part of its business plan over the next 2-3 years Catch of Norway Seafood is looking to expand its source markets, diversifying its product portfolio and embracing e-commerce channels to match the evolving tastes of Indian customers.

Alzawahra added: “We have sourced seafood occasionally from the Netherlands and we are considering importing seafood from markets such as Canada, Japan and Spain. We are also observing an increased interest in a variety of health-food and plant-based food product ranges from Europe in India, all of which is very exciting and we look forward to using Emirates SkyCargo’s services and expertise in bringing these quality goods from international destinations into the Indian market.”