Nigeria seems to waking up to the opportunities and financial gains inherent in cargo business development as its recent move at developing the sub-sector is yielding positive results.
Over the years, it had lagged behind in the air cargo business, despite being endowed with all kinds of agricultural produce with ready markets internationally and locally, enough population for import and the current government’s policy on local content in all sectors of the economy.
But the recent designation of some airports as cargo and perishable airports has led to a significant rise in cargo movement across the country.
In the third quarter of 2013, for instance, a total of 52.5 million kilogrammes of cargo was carried through the airports, according to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). This represents an increase of 20 per cent compared to 43.5 million kilogrammes carried in the third quarter of 2012.
Yakubu Dati, FAAN spokesman said that the concept of designating some of the airports as cargo airports was borne out of the need to facilitate the exportation of agricultural produce and other perishable goods, considering the high level of insecurity on the roads.
He said there had also been an increase in mail movement across the country as more courier companies relied on air transport as a safer and faster means of transportation.
Figures by FAAN showed that a total of 1.71 billion kg of mails were carried in the third quarter of 2013 as against 1.13 million kg in the similar period of 2012.
He added added that the aviation transformation was a key component of the Aviation Master Plan designed to modernise all the 22 airport terminals in the country.
Last year, FAAN had predicted that passenger number in the Murtala Muhammed Airport would hit 9.7 million by the year 2017.
The former Regional General Manager, South West, FAAN, Edward Olarerin, who said this, also predicted an increase in aircraft movement to over 130,000 in the same period.
“Passengers’ number is expected to rise from 7.1 million to 9.7 million by the year 2017 while the number of aircraft movement is also expected to grow to 139,636 in 2017. Also, cargo forecast is expected to rise from 170 million kg in 2012 to 188 million kg in 2017”, he said.
Olarerin said that from 5,117,034 passengers in 2008, the MMA processed a total of 7.2 million passengers in 2012 while aircraft movement rose from 84,198 in 2008 to 105,334 in 2012.
He explained that the same trend was replicated in cargo, adding that from a total of 164 million kg in 2008, freight rose to 170 million kg in 2012.
He declared that the Murtala Muhammed Airport was expected to be a hub as the ongoing construction of transit facilities would have come on stream within the next five years.
By: Sade Williams