Virgin Atlantic Cargo is responding to demand for inbound air cargo capacity to West Africa – especially healthcare products, like pharmaceuticals – by signing a five-year contract with Nigeria-based logistics company Sifax SAHCOL.
Starting this week, Virgin Atlantic’s import and export cargo for the region will be handled in Sifax SAHCOL’s 22,000 square-meter, Lagos-based warehouse at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS), which is enabled with cold-chain infrastructure for safe storage of temperature-sensitive cargo. It had previously partnered with another local logistics company called NAHCO to fulfill its regional handling service needs.
Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to the West African hub, operated by A340-600 aircraft, which offers about 20 tonnes of capacity per day.
The carrier said it experienced a 135% rise in pharmaceutical volumes and a 21% growth in courier shipments in 2018, compared to 2017year. Its revenue derived on routes from the U.K. to Lagos increased by 9%, and in the opposite direction, revenues increased 11%, year-over-year.
Virgin Atlantic attributes the higher perishables revenue ex-Lagos as a result of the Nigerian government’s initiative to encourage agricultural exports.
“By moving to a larger and more modern facility, we can improve our product and service offerings for the growing number of companies moving goods to and from Nigeria,” said Tania Boyes, director of cargo operations at Virgin Atlantic.
The carrier has been operating flights to Lagos for more than 17 years.