Virgin Atlantic switches Lagos cargo handler to meet growth

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Virgin Atlantic Cargo has awarded a five-year handling contract to Sifax SAHCOL in Lagos as it looks to meet recent growth to the country.

The airline said the new handler, which will take over the contract on April 10, will improve its service offering for customers in Nigeria and provide extra capacity following a 19% boost in export volumes in the last year and higher inbound demand from the pharmaceutical and courier sectors.

Virgin Atlantic’s import and export cargo will be handled in Sifax SAHCOL’s 22,000 sq m warehouse operation at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

This incorporates a cold room for perishables and temperature-sensitive shipments, and dedicated locations for courier and high value cargo. The building also has 22 truck bays, 24/7 CCTV coverage, access control systems, screening technology and a control room for security.

Virgin Atlantic’s daily Nigeria flights – operated by Airbus A340-600 aircraft with up to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity – saw positive revenue and volume growth in 2018. Revenues ex UK rose 9% year-on-year, helped by a 135% rise in pharmaceutical volumes and a 21% growth in courier shipments, while the 11% 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, said: “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 in Nigeria.

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