Margibi County – A joint venture company, Global Logistics Services Incorporated and National Aviation Services (GLS-NAS) has broken ground for the construction of a US$11 million cargo terminal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
The 2,700 square meters Roberts Air Cargo Center (RACC), according to the management, is aimed at improving RIA’s air cargo operations to meet international standards and support export supply capacity in Liberia.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony on Thursday, March 4 at RIA, the General Manager of GLS-NAS, Axel Coulibaly said the construction of the new facility demonstrates the company’s dedication to the country and commitments to contributing to the growth of the Liberian economy.
Mr. Coulibaly added that project is part of a 25-year air cargo operations concession awarded to GLS by the Government of Liberia wherein GLS-NAS is tasked with the design, finance, building, maintenance, operation and transfer (DFBMOT) of this new and modern facility at RIA.
The event was attended by the company’s executives, top government officials and the diplomatic community including the Minister of Transport, Samuel Wulu, the Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Bishop J. Alan Klayee and the GLS-NAS Chairman, Peter MalColm King.
Mr. King noted, “Our Roberts Air Cargo Center will be the first of its kind in Liberia providing the much needed infrastructure to enhance air cargo supply chain operations, improve trade barriers and boost Liberia’s potential as a hub in the Mano River sub region.”
Minister Wlue, performing the ground breaking exercise lauded the efforts of the President George M. Weah, the company and RIA management for the level of progress so far, and added that he look forward for the completion of the project in 2020.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Bishop J. Alan Klayee asserted that the project which will change the Robertsfield skyline when completed, is part of government’s efforts to ensure that the RIA meets international standard; adding that it will go a” very long way in alleviating problems associated with storage for cargo at the airport.”
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According to the company’s General Manager, Axel Coulibaly, the size of the facility currently fulfills a 14-year forecasted baseline demand and can be further expanded up to 3,553; while the construction project is expected to be completed by April 2020.
He said the company has been operating at RIA for over a year, during which its operational improvements have helped grow the airport’s cargo handling capacity by almost 60 percent.
With the new warehouse, he noted that they will not only build capacity but also offer diverse solutions for a variety of industries dealing with perishables, fresh produce, livestock, pharmaceuticals and temperature sensitive cargo.
“We can also handle high value shipments that require special security. All of which will serve to attract more cargo airlines at the airport while focusing on safety and security,” he said.
The warehouse, he added, will be one of its kind with extended racking for storage, temperature controlled cold storage, walk-in freezers, dangerous goods storage, a vault, mail area and five loading dedicated areas for customers inspections and other government agencies.
In addition, he said the facility will also house a dedicated area for customs inspections and other government agencies; adding that a separate freighter stand will also be developed by the Liberia Airport authority to accommodate freighter parking for larger aircrafts such as the Boeing 777F.
An off the grid facility, the cargo terminal will be self-sufficient in terms of power, water and sewage disposal and will include sustainable design features based on the principles of “Net Zero Emissions” and Green Building Design.
GLA-NAS currently operates out of the existing warehouse at RIA, handling nine airlines and over 2200 metric tons of cargo annually. Its customer base includes Arik Air, Kenya Airwaves, Air Cote d’Ivoire, Brussels Airline, Royal Morac, ASKY, Air Peace and ground handling to the DHL cargo aircrafts.
Coulibaly added that NAS is presently in more than 35 airports across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa and handling services to seven of the world’s top 10 airlines; with an average on-time performance (OTP) of 98 percent across its operations with several certificates which has demonstrated expertise in supporting local hub carriers in these countries.
In addition, he said NAS also manages 35 airport lounges and offers an expanded portfolio of aviation services that include innovative technology solutions.
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