Emirates SkyCargo successfully navigated the complex landscape of the global logistics and supply chain industry in 2021 by focusing on its signature strengths and values- agility and responsiveness, customer focus, innovation, fleet and network capabilities.
The airfreight division of Emirates notched up numerous milestones throughout the year, reinforcing its leadership position in the global airfreight industry, said a top official.
"This has been without question one of the most challenging years for our industry as the pandemic continues to create difficulties across the entire supply chain and across all modes of transportation," remarked Nabil Sultan, the Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.
"However, Emirates SkyCargo has been a first mover in ensuring that trade lanes remain open by reinstating flights and providing additional capacity on key trade routes across six continents. We remain committed to offering the highest levels of service to our customers with safety at the centre of everything we do," he stated.
Emirates SkyCargo has maintained an unwavering focus on supporting communities, especially those in developing markets, with rapid access to Covid-19 vaccines and other medical supplies.
To this end, in January 2021, it partnered with Dubai-based entities- DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance to expedite global vaccine distribution through Dubai.
Emirates SkyCargo also signed an MoU with Unicef to prioritise delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and related supplies in support of the Covax initiative for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
With its expertise in transporting temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals and with its wide-body capacity and extensive global network, Emirates SkyCargo played an important role in the international movement of Covid-19 vaccines, said Sultan.
"At one point in April, one in every 20 Covid-19 vaccines administered around the world had flown on an Emirates aircraft," he added.
Throughout the year, it continued to operate cargo flights on its passenger aircraft and mini freighters (passenger aircraft with seats removed from Economy Class), supplementing much needed cargo capacity and transporting goods and commodities seamlessly from origin to destination.
The air cargo carrier operated a total of more than 20,000 cargo-only flights on passenger aircraft during 2021.
In March, Emirates SkyCargo marked one year of utilising Emirates Boeing 777 passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations. These cargo flights on passenger aircraft helped facilitate transport of PPE, food, medicines, electronics, raw materials for manufacturing and several other commodities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
By April, the airfreight division had reinstated its global network for cargo flights to more than 135 destinations across six continents. This represented more than 85% of its pre-pandemic global network. By end of June 2021, Emirates SkyCargo was operating to more than 140 destinations, restoring 90% of its pre-Covid network.
Emirates SkyCargo also showcased its support and commitment for the global food and beverage industry with a dedicated stand at Gulfood 2021.
It transported close to 600 tonnes of food materials every day on its flights supporting communities reliant on agricultural exports for income and at the same time also ensuring food security at markets reliant on food imports.
With capacity shortfall impacting exports of industrial and consumer supplies across the world, Emirates SkyCargo’s global teams pulled out all stops to operate additional flights to facilitate transport of time sensitive commodities.
As an illustration, Emirates SkyCargo’s team in Hanoi, Vietnam, transported more than 4500 tonnes of export cargo from Hanoi on a record breaking 97 cargo flights, handling anywhere between 6-7 flights in a single day, flying a variety of commodities from PPE to electronics and from perishable commodities such as fruit and vegetables to clothing and high fashion.
Emirates SkyCargo outlined its roadmap for 2022-2024 for its freighter fleet at the Dubai Airshow. The air cargo carrier announced that it had invested $1 billion for acquiring two new freighter aircraft from Boeing as well as for the conversion of four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).