• ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
Air CargoAmerican ShipperInternationalNews

Cargo congestion plagues Sydney Airport in Australia

The same cargo congestion issues that have paralyzed big airports in the U.S., China and Europe during the pandemic have materialized in Australia.

On Wednesday dnata, the airport operations division of the Emirates Group, warned it is experiencing delays processing import cargo at Sydney Airport because of an unplanned spike in volume from additional freighter services and passenger planes operating in cargo mode. The passenger aircraft include large shipments of medical supplies and personal protection equipment loaded in the passenger cabin to increase the carrying capacity.

Dnata, which stands for Dubai National Air Transport Association, said in a notice posted to its local website that it is taking steps to return processing and transfer times to normal. Corrective actions include:

  • Releasing small containers intact if the contents are for a single consignee
  • Adding extra staff to speed up deliveries
  • Obtaining additional wooden pallets
  • Increasing truck shuttles between Terminals 1 and 2
  • Accepting some cargo at Terminal 1 to ease congestion at Terminal 2.  

“We are currently making good progress in clearing the backlog with our focus on processing cargo in order of arrival. We anticipate having this backlog cleared and normal operation restored by the morning of Friday 14th August,” the statement said. “Thank you for your patience, understanding and support.”

Passenger airlines are operating cargo-only flights in many variations: with containers in the lower cargo hold only; with lower hold-cargo plus cargo in the seats and overhead storage bins; and with lower-hold cargo and cargo stacked on the cabin floor when the seats have been removed. The dedicated cargo flights help airlines earn revenue with passenger traffic at a standstill because of COVID-19 concerns and partially alleviate the resulting supply shortage of air transport for shippers.

Ground handlers at many airports are being overwhelmed because they aren’t equipped to handle such a high tempo of full freighters. The warehouse operators typically handle lots of cargo in small increments that come off regularly scheduled passenger aircraft. Freighters deliver much larger quantities at once. Modified passenger freighters take much longer to load and unload if there is cargo in the cabin because boxes have to be manually maneuvered through narrow doors and individually secured. 

Cathay Pacific, a large airline based in Hong Kong, recently began flying a couple aircraft to Australia with seats removed.The airline said it takes at least three hours to load the cabin. By contrast, loading and unloading pallets in the lower deck of widebody aircraft can take 15 to 20 minutes, industry experts say.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Qantas reopens Melbourne airfreight station after COVID infections

Cathay Pacific renews emphasis on cargo with leadership changes

Cathay Pacific sending planes to Australia for storage during the pandemic

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Eric Kulisch, Air Cargo Editor

Eric is the Air Cargo Market Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at ekulisch@freightwaves.com
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