Plans revealed for Ethiopian trans-shipment hub

Ethiopian Airlines has made no secret that it wants to be not only the largest airline in Africa but also one of the top global carriers in the world. According to more details that have been released about ongoing cargo terminal expansion at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the carrier will likely have a world-class facility to handle its ambitious plans.

Germany-based engineering firm Unitechnik Group will be the designer, builder and logistics systems provider for Ethiopian Airlines’ new trans-shipment facility that will be able to handle 600,000 tonnes per year, which will more than quadruple the throughput of the current airfreight facility, which Unitechnik had built back in 2006. Included in the €32 million expansion design will be space for cool-chain storage of perishable materials, capable of maintaining temperatures between 2 and 10°C, as well as a storage area for dry goods.

Once completed, the new import-export terminal will be the largest trans-shipment terminal in Africa and will be used to prepare the transport of perishable goods, such as cut flowers, meat and vegetables to markets around the world. Goods to be imported will be sent to workstations to be broken down and repackaged onto pallets for either storage or immediate truck transport. Products to be exported will flow in the opposite direction, where they will be loaded onto a connecting aircraft.

The design calls for the inclusion of an automated, high-bay racking system that will coordinate the movement of about 1,000 ULDs and move them into position to allow for the quickest possible trans-shipment of goods. The system will also include four elevating transfer vehicles (ETVs) to provide maximum speed and easy loading and unloading.

After this phase is completed, Ethiopian and Unitechnik have plans to make more additions to double the capacity of the new terminal to 1.2 million tonnes per year.

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