Virgin Atlantic Cargo has awarded a five-year handling contract to Sifax Sahcol in Lagos, Nigeria. The UK carrier took this step to provide growth capacity following a 19 percent boost in export volumes in the last year and higher inbound demand from the pharmaceutical and courier sectors.
Effective 10th April 2019, Virgin Atlantic’s import and export cargo will be handled in Sifax Sahcol’s 22,000 sqm warehouse operation at Murtala Muhammed Airport. This incorporates special facilities including a cold room for perishables and temperature-sensitive shipments, and dedicated locations for courier and high value cargo.
The airline’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 percent year-on- year, helped by a 135 percent rise in pharmaceutical volumes and a 21 percent growth in courier shipments, while the 11 percent 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.
Prior to this, the cargo handler for the airline in Nigeria was NAHCO and the airline thanked the handler for its support since it commenced operations on the route.
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.”
VN Cargo Connect continues in its role as Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s General Sales and Service Agent in Nigeria.