THE founder and chief executive of Astral Aviation,
an all-cargo carrier based at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International
Airport, Sanjeev Gadhia, has called on African airports to improve their
cargo-related infrastructure and procedures.
Making the plea on behalf of freighter carriers, Mr Gadhia, who's also a TIACA director and vice chairman of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Cargo Task Force, pointed out that the lack of adequate cargo
infrastructure at African airports has long been a source of concern. He
believes that only one-third of African airports have sufficient
cargo-handling infrastructure to meet the requirements of all-cargo
Speaking at a conference recently, he observed that the air cargo
industry is a catalyst for economic growth and development in Africa,
but that high-quality air cargo infrastructure is a pre-requisite for
sustained economic growth and competitiveness.
As a result, Mr Gadhia said, investment in existing and new cargo
infrastructure should be a "national priority", adding that the
involvement of the private sector in various concessions and
public-private partnerships has resulted in "new and efficient terminals
which offer sufficient capacity". However, he also pointed out that at a
number of airports across the continent there exist monopolies on
handling services - a situation that results in higher costs.
Airside and landside service roads are often not well maintained, a
situation that has led to both cargo and ground support equipment (GSE)
being damaged. He urged Airport Authorities to constantly monitor their
ground services providers (GSPs) to ensure that they only use
appropriately qualified and trained personnel, and that they maintain
all their GSE in such a way that facilitates safe and efficient
operations, London's Air Cargo News reported.
Security at airports needed to be tightened and the vetting of airport
staff prior to them being given airside access security passes should
also be enhanced, he said.
There is a particular need for improved customs processing in order to
improve speeds of cargo clearance and reduce costs. This may include
centralised and paper-less procedures for cargo clearance.
Airport Authorities need to involve cargo carriers and GSPs in any
decision-making likely to affect their operations. There is a
requirement for more specialised air cargo facilities that meet the
individual operating needs of carriers, freight forwarders and the cargo
industry in general.
Mr Gadhia said there should be increased investment in airport
infrastructure such as aprons, runways, lighting equipment and
accessibility, which would increase efficiency and turnaround times.
He said special economic zones/free zone enterprises within the existing
land area available should also be designated, and private sector
investment in these areas' development and managehttp://www.shippingazette.com/menu.asp?encode=engment should be