(Posted 22nd September 2023)
In order to grow aviacargo business in Nigeria, a team led by FAAN visited the leading air cargo airports in Africa to benchmark their services. Kenya currently leads Africa in air cargo business while Nigeria is number 5. FAAN set up the Aviacargo Roadmap committee to design a plan that will lift Nigeria to the 1st position in the shortest possible time.
To meet this target FAAN team had to find out what the other airports have done well and why Nigeria is failing despite its huge economy, production capacity and population. The benchmarking visits done in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) enabled the officials from Nigeria to engage with stakeholders in the cargo ecosystems in both countries. There were facility tours of equipments, terminals and transit sheds in both countries.
The FAAN team was led by the Director of Commercial and Business Development Olumyiwa Femi-Pearse. It included Chief of Staff to the MD, staff of Business Development, Cargo Departments, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, the Coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap committee Ikechi Uko and 2 other members of the Aviacargo committee.
Legal issues concerning airports as free trade zones were raised with the Ethiopian and Kenyan officials and how those issues have been resolved in both countries. The proliferation and attendant charges by agencies at the airports were discussed during the stakeholders engagements with both the government and private sector players.
The team went through a detailed tour of all the air cargo facilities available at Bole Airport Addis Ababa. The tour was led by the MD of Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Mr. Abel Alemu and his team. It included tours to the Cold Chain, pharma, perishable and dry goods section. The technological modernisation and the E-Commerce projects were of Interest to the Nigerian team.
In Kenya, the Nigerian team was received by the Acting Managing Director of the Kenya Airport Authority Henry Ogoye. The Nigerian team were taken round the leading cargo transit sheds by the operators of the terminals. They visited dry cargo sheds, perishable goods sheds, flower export sheds, fruit export sheds and others. The Aviacargo team rounded up the tour with visits to Nigerian Embassies in Ethiopia and Kenya where they exchanged ideas with the diplomats on opportunities for cargo in both countries.
The team was received at the Nigerian Embassy in Addis Ababa by Dr. Geoffrey Chima on behalf of the Ambassador. The team leader Mr. Femi-Pearse told the Nigerian High Commissioner in Kenya Ambassador Yusuf Yunusa that “this fact-finding visit is an eye opener for Nigeria. We have identified the gaps in knowledge and facilities. We are going back to implement some of the lessons learnt. Nigeria will become a major player in air cargo business in a very short time.”
The Ambassador expressed joy with the visit. He said that this type of study tours will help drive export in Nigeria. The Coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap committee Ikechi Uko while thanking the embassy for receiving the team said “FAAN should be commended for driving this process. Everyone talks about loaded cargo planes arriving Nigeria and Leaving empty but Nobody did anything to solve the problem. FAAN stepped in with the Aviacargo project and now we are here. This exposure alone is part of the solution. Now we know what we are not doing well. We will soon round up this phase of the project. I want to tell you sir that FAAN has allocated a 2.7 hectares of land for the cargo village. Based on what we have seen here the land is small but it is a step in the right direction. Nigeria will get there soon.”
The Aviacargo team had earlier visited Abuja, Jos and Nassarawa airports as part of the roadmap project. There are plans to visit airports in other zones of Nigeria.