Ethiopian steers to fly high in e-commerce cargo

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

With operations geared to begin soon, Ethiopian Airlines commences the construction of a modern e-commerce cargo service center worth USD 50 million; in line with the group’s vision to become a logistics hub for Africa’s growing e-commerce market.
Girma Wake, Chairman of the Board of Ethiopian Airlines Group noted that the airline is the largest in Africa in terms of cargo services and follows a modern system to maintain its competitiveness in the world. He underscored that with digital marketing in the world diminishing the demand for regular cargo service, a world of opportunism in e-commerce freight provision has become a trend in which the airline will align itself in.
According to Girma, the new cargo operation could take up to 7 days less than the previous system did. The 15,000 square meters platform will reportedly start providing services in the middle of the coming year, 2023.
Ethiopian Airlines Group will ramp up investment in cargo services and infrastructure and is looking to become a logistics hub for Africa’s growing e-commerce market.
The continent’s largest airline has order for about five Boeing Co. 777 freighters.
“We are building a new e-commerce warehouse in the cargo terminal,” the chairman said, adding, “E-commerce is growing especially between China and Africa and we want to continue the leadership on that front.”
While Ethiopian has long been a major operator in freight, the Covid-19 pandemic has elevated demand as stay-at-home rules triggered a boom in online retail. Carrying goods during the past two years helped many airlines stay afloat, as border closures hammered demand for air travel.
“The normal Cargo is in the process of transmuting into E-Cargo system following the change in working system from international e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba,” Girma highlights.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines announced Monday that construction of its e-commerce Hub has reached 44 percent of completion.
“We’re aiming to perform better in e-commerce and construction of our E-Commerce facility has reached 44 percent of completion,” Abel Alemu, Managing Director of Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services elaborated during his presentation on a panel discussion, which focused on “Embracing Ethiopia’s E-Commerce Logistics: Challenges and Opportunities” at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel.
“The new e-commerce facility is being built on 15,000 square meter land, and is capable of handling 150,000 tons of cargos in a year,” Abel explained.
“We’ve identified infrastructural development as a basic requirement to implement the e-cargo system compared to the international dynamics,” the logistics head affirmed.
“Ethiopian Airlines has also crafted an e-commerce strategy,” Girma on his part complemented.
By the end 2030, 755 of air cargo shipments will be e-commerce parcels, estimates show.