2017 has got off to a strong start for dnata, with senior vice president UAE cargo & DWC airline services, Bernd Struck (pictured below) saying March and April were “outstanding”.
Speaking to Air Cargo Week at air cargo europe on 10 May, he says the year is young as its business year starts in April but has started well. So far it has grown 12 per cent at Dubai International Airport, which he says is amazing considering the limited facilities.
Struck says: “We are in the full process of upgrading our facilities over there in order to grow into the future before the traffic relocates to Dubai World Central.”
Dnata has a facility at Dubai World Central (DWC) with 350,000 tonnes of capacity, owned by the airport and leased to dnata, but it has purchased land next to the facility to construct a mega terminal, likely to be in place in phase one in 2019 or early 2020.
Struck cannot say what specialist facilities the mega terminal will have, describing it as a “fluid development” saying: “It depends on what happens at Dubai International and how quickly the transit comes. The integrators are still at Dubai International and they have been advised by Dubai Airports to relocate to DWC next year.
“They are currently negotiating with the integrators whether they will have their own facilities or whether we will represent some of them in our facilities. This is still fluid at the moment. My understand is there is so much space that they will be looking at building their own facilities.”
Dnata is also working on upgrading its Calogi community system. Struck says Calogi gives the business community the opportunity to make business with dnata, particularly helping the small agents.
He explains: “We not only have the big agents but almost 2,000 small ones known as ‘Mum and Pop shops’. They have a telephone, a computer and an internet connection, and they do business with the people they know about.”
Struck continues: “They have no storage capacity so they have a virtual business. In order to be able to do so they need access to us and need credit facilities.”
He says the credit facility is one of the biggest features of Calogi, as it means they can use the system immediately to fulfil the needs of their customers.
Calogi is 10 years old and Struck is doing a study on the future of Calogi, before deciding on a new cargo management system for dnata worldwide.
Looking to the future, dnata is the designated service provider at Dubai International, and will remain so until a certain volume is reached, and this is also the case at DWC.
Struck says: “We have the possibility to work with the airport itself on developing the future of the largest airport in the world, which DWC will be at some stage. The requirements that are being built into the airport for a ground handler will be fundamental for the airport.”
There are big plans to move facilities underground and automated, not only for transporting cargo but also catering and baggage. Struck comments this is a lot of money to invest and a technical challenge but this is essential for the longer term.
He says: “We are doing this for the longer term with Dubai Airports to ensure this can handle the connecting times in spite of the huge space to be managed.”
Struck is confident that dnata has a strong future, as part of the Emirates Group, which is owned by the Dubai government.
He tells Air Cargo Week: “We have a strong future not only in Dubai but also across the world. I see the future of dnata in a very good shape.”