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ITE Transport and Logistics

Sheremetyevo airport expansion signals clear skies for Russian air freight sector

One of Russia’s largest air cargo hubs, Moscow Sheremetyevo, is gearing up to significantly grow freight volumes. Traffic at the site has already risen in 2017, but that is not enough to satiate airport authorities. A programme of cargo-facility expansion is now in the works.

Air freight volumes rising at Sheremetyevo

Sheremetyevo is Moscow’s primary international gateway for both passengers and cargo. Encouragingly, it has seen cargo traffic rise in the first few two months of 2017. Between January and February, Sheremetyevo handled 27,888 tons of freight – a 29% year-on-year rise on 2016’s volumes.

This includes a 41% increase in freight volumes in January, reaching 14,569 tons. February, while not posting growth as radical as January’s performance, still registered a 13% increase in traffic for a total of 13,319 tons.

2016 was a great year for Sheremetyevo. 231,000 tons passed through the airport during this time.

Rising cargo volumes at Moscow’s busiest airport are indicative of a recovery in Russia’s air freight sector as a whole. While total international freight levels contracted 4% in 2016, international turnover actually grew 22%, reaching a ton-transportation ratio of 5,716 million tons to kilometres.

Russia’s air freight recovery is tied in with the success of AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Airlines. Part of the Volga-Dnepr Group, ABC ranks amongst the biggest Russian carriers – and it has been growing in the face of sanctions-driven industry decline. By October 2016 it had transported 498,177 tons of cargo. Comparatively, ABC handled 483,000 tons of freight across the whole of 2015.

Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, also has plenty to celebrate at Sheremetyevo. Last year, the carrier announced its cargo turnovers there had increased by 51% against 2015’s levels.

As Sheremetyevo is ABC’s primary hub, any increases in traffic is good for the airport – and the Russian air freight industry in general. The airport now handles over 50% of cargo flows in Russian civil aviation, and is attracting greater levels of inbound international freight too.

Sheremetyevo to receive multi-million upgrade boost

Moscow’s location makes it an ideal hub to handle cargoes from both Asia-Europe and Asia-North America. Even so work must be done to improve its cargo facilities says Sheremetyevo’s authorities. This work is already underway.

A new $85 million automated cargo complex is coming to Sheremetyevo – and, this being Russia, it’s going to be big. It will cover an area of 42,300 square metres and will increase throughput capacity substantially.

The facility, which is expected to be commissioned in the autumn of 2017, is predicted to handle 380,000 tons of freight annually during phase one. Over a million tons of cargo will pass through Sheremetyevo’s newest freight facilities once fully operational by 2018. 

This site will be equipped with an automated cargo handling system – making it the only facility of its kind in Russia. It will feature:

• An automated bin system designed to handle 3,198 pallets
• An automated ULD system with a 576-compartment capacity
• Facilities to handle 60 temperature controlled ULDs (from +2°C to +8°C)

It will also feature 13 conveyor belt lines running to the airport, including:

• A line for 20-foot pallets with 29 points of cargo acceptance
• Two lines for bulky/oversized cargoes
• Two for acceptance of express shipments

Sheremetyevo’s upgrade regime does not stop at freight-related complexes however. It is also forging ahead with the construction of a third runway. While this was originally meant to cope with increase passenger flights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which Russia is hosting,  it also means more cargo planes can take off and land there too.
In short, the cargo environment at Sheremetyevo is getting better and better, signalling clear skies for Russia’s air freight activities going forward.

Meet the Russia air cargo sector’s biggest players at TransRussia

With recovery set to soar, now is a good time to connect with the biggest players of Russia’s air freight industry. To do this you need to find them while they are looking to expand fleet loads, searching for new technologies, or on the hunt for specialist transport and logistics services.

TransRussia is the place to be to meet representatives from Russia’s aviation industry. 14,745 industry professionals from 53 countries attended 2017’s show meeting with 345 companies from around the world. It is the perfect platform to expand your Russian-focussed transport operations.

Contact us today to learn why you need to be at TransRussia 2018 and the ways your business can take part.


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