Virgin Atlantic Cargo has awarded a five-year handling contract to Sifax SAHCOL in Lagos to improve its service offering for customers in Nigeria. The move is also being driven by the need for growth capacity following a 19 per cent boost in export volumes in the last year and higher inbound demand from the pharmaceutical and courier sectors.
From 10 April 2019, Virgin Atlantic’s import and export cargo will be handled in Sifax SAHCOL’s 22,000 sqm warehouse operation at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS). This incorporates special facilities including a cold room for perishables and temperature-sensitive shipments, and dedicated locations for courier and high value cargo.
The building’s 22 truck bays will expedite collections and deliveries, while 24/7 CCTV coverage, access control systems, screening technology and a control room will ensure the highest levels of security, the British carrier says.
Virgin Atlantic’s daily Nigeria flights – operated by A340-600 aircraft with up to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity – saw positive revenue and volume growth in 2018. Revenues ex-UK rose 9.0 per cent year-on-year, helped by a 135 per cent rise in pharmaceutical volumes and a 21 per cent growth in courier shipments. On the other hand, the 11 per cent boost in annual revenues ex-Lagos was largely attributed to higher perishables traffic as a result of the Nigerian government’s initiative to encourage agricultural exports.
Tania Boyes, director – Cargo Operations at Virgin Atlantic, says: “Lagos has been an important cargo market for us for more than 17 years and we are forecasting further growth in our export and import volumes in 2019.
“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. We also wish to thank our previous handling provider, NAHCO, for their support since we commenced operations on the route.”
VN Cargo Connect continues in its role as Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s General Sales and Service Agency (GSSA) in Nigeria.