Ethiopian airlines cargo industry on upswing



The first cargo charter operation was destined to Nairobi in 1946. Back then, the route network was extended to Nairobi, Port Sudan and Bombay. Charter flights were also flown to Jaddah. The increase in destination through time and the boom of agricultural products since 1970s has further intensified the demand for freight transport.  This lead to configuring the previous passenger aircraft, which is 707-320C with the first Cargo, to come up with an enhanced cargo intruder aiming to satisfy the clienteles in the year 1976.

The continuous advancement of cargo market demanded Ethiopian Airlines detached and distinguished shipment with new infrastructure committed to this specific cargo services. The Ethiopian Airlines cargo section has two terminals, Terminal I and II. The old Terminal I with the new gives a total e capacity of around one million tons per annum, the largest in Africa. It is among the top ten Cargo Terminals in the world; even compared to Amsterdam Schiphol, Singapore Changi, Hong Kong, or Dubai.


It a fashionable construction costing a whopping €110 (USD150) million built up on an area of 150, 000 Sq. meters. It is well-built with a warehouse sprawled on a 40, 000 sq. meters. The above area has various temperature-controlled compartments and is parted based on general cargo on 22,000 sq. Meters   and 18 ,000 Sq. meters for Perishable cargo. It also contains chillers and deep freezers at two locations on 200 Sq. meter.

The newly built terminal has two sections naming, Perishable and Dry cargo warehouse. The latter has the facility to cart 250,000 tons and covers 16,000 Sq. meters, while the former has a weight carrying capacity of 100,000 tons (suitable for all types perishables including PEM, Pharma and PEF). It has a parking space for three Apron B747-800 aircraft at a time. Both have a temperature ranging from -21 to 80C.

Terminal II has various special cargo storage rooms including an office, canteen and utility buildings of about 13,000 Sq. meters. Not to forget, the vast 68,000 and 32,000 Sq. meters of parking space for aircrafts and vehicles respectively. It is well guarded by CCTV cameras integrated with an access control system, no blind spot alluring errors and it has an automated firefighting system.

Ethiopian airlines, one the largest cargo operator in Africa, as more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations. It is known for fleet including ultra –modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Air bus A350 being the old version to the latest Boeing fleets.

It has updated its aircrafts by bringing six latest freighters were two are 777-F6N and the remaining four modeled B777- F60. The unique features of these aircrafts include an adjustable temperature for Perishable Cargos, automated technology for loading and unloading activities including uplift capacity of beyond 85 tones. Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines plan, whose number of aircrafts recently reached 100, to purchase four B777 Freighter and two B737 Freighter in 2018/19.


The Airlines transports various types of cargos. The perishable cargo is eligible for delivering pharmaceuticals at a well-controlled cooled cargo with different temperatures ranging from Cool (+15°C/+25°C), Cold (+2°C/+8°C), Frozen

(-15°C/-20°C). It fulfills the special requirements of a wide variety of perishables including horticultural products, seafood, chilled meat or flowers with modern cold room facility with adjustable temperature. Ethiopian Cargo is working tirelessly to acquire certification from Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) which will enable to effectively target Pharmaceutical business and increase its market share.


While the Dry port cargo offers high level of security when transporting valuable items such as gold, banknotes, precious art pieces, Jewelries, etc. by using secured containers and security escorts.

There is also a section for Commercial and Laboratory live animals.  The team at the Cargo & Logistics Services are all trained to provide safe and professional care at all times. This team is also responsible for the safe arrival of dangerous goods incompliance with IATA dangerous goods regulation, safety standards and local regulations. If needed, there is the service catered to transport mail documents and packaged boxes from one airport to another.

Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics known for its impeccable service, has been presented with various international and continental awards.  Some are the “Export & Import Cargo Transportation Award” at a customer’s Symposium organized by Guangzhou Bayiun International Airport in China on February 7, 2018, Brussels Airport Aviation Award in the category of cargo performance and Fastest growing international cargo airlines of the year –India on February 2018.  Including the Air Cargo Brand of the Decade for Africa, South Africa, from Shipping, Transport, Aviation and Tourism (STAT), for three years in a row 2015, 2016 and 2017.


Be that as it may, the Airlines also continued being among few profitable carriers in the World. In the past fiscal year, it netted a profit of $233 million despite the adverse impact of the devaluation of Birr and the soaring oil price on its performances.



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