ACW: The aviation industry has completely changed this past year. How have operations been affected at DTP?
DTP: Dube TradePort’s cargo operations have experienced considerable contraction as a direct result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, with passenger movements declining by 88% when comparing the period of April – October 2019 and 2020, as the majority of cargo through King Shaka International Airport is transported on passenger aircraft.
This reduction has led to frequency and capacity restrictions that have only served to compound pressure on the sector.
ACW: How do you plan to recover from this?
DTP: There is certainly light at the end of the tunnel, as we have seen King Shaka International has experienced a firm recovery in air traffic since the government has eased lockdown restrictions and reopened the economy. November figures show that King Shaka International Airport’s route network has been restored to 29% with a hub carrier like Qatar Airways providing onward connectivity to around 120 destinations within key markets around the world.
We are actively working through the Durban Direct Route Development Committee engaging Airlines to reinstate and increase frequencies, as and when government regulations and various international travel restrictions allow.
Another area where we have seen some positive movement has been the opportunities presented by ad hoc charter freighter operations during the period, which have been successfully handled.”
ACW: How will the planned developments grow operations?
DTP: Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone is in the process of developing a 38hectare light industrial medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster adjacent to the Dube Cargo Terminal, positioned to be an ideal platform to supply the sub-Saharan African region.
This comes on the back of the African Free Trade Continental Agreement coming into effect earlier this year paving the way for improved intra-African trade, here we believe is where airfreight will be key to enabling that market access. Dube TradePort has also recently Customs bonded its fleet of trucks, operated by Dube AiRoad, in order to better serve our customers, and this is a service we plan to introduce to the market in the near future.