Expansion and investment to drive rapid growth in UAE logistics sector
Expansion projects and new investments are expected to fuel growth within the UAE’s logistics sector over the next five years, according to a recent analysis by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The positive outlook is supported by expectations of strong growth in the country’s air and sea freight markets.
The analysis, based on recent data from Business Monitor International, forecasts the UAE's air freight market to expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% over the 2017-2021 period.
It also showed demand within the country’s air freight market increasing at a CAGR of 8.6% between 2012 and 2016.
Dubai International Airport handled 2.6mn tonnes of cargo in 2016, with freight volume growth of 3.8% compared to 2015, the analysis showed, while Abu Dhabi Airport handled nearly 800,000 tonnes of cargo during the same year.
In 2017, air freight volumes at Dubai International Airport are expected to grow 5% in 2017, and increase at a CAGR of 3.2% over the next five years. At Abu Dhabi Airport, air freight volumes are projected to grow 12% this year and record a CAGR of 5.2% over the 2017-2021 period.
The UAE’s two leading airports have continued to invest in expanding and enhancing facilities in recent years.
Emirates SkyCargo recently opened a new pharmaceuticals facility at Dubai International Airport to accommodate growing demand for pharmaceutical and cold storage products. Going forward, the expansion of cold-chain logistics services at both airports is expected to further increase air freight volumes in the UAE.
Both Emirates and Etihad Airways have played an important role in air cargo in the UAE and will continue to contribute to increasing air cargo volumes over the next five years.
The UAE has the largest container port between Singapore and Rotterdam, while the country serves as a maritime hub for the Middle East region. In 2016, container port traffic in the UAE amounted to 21.3mn TEUs. This figure is expected to rise 5% to 22.4 million TEUs in 2017, and increase further to reach a record of 28.4 million TEUs by 2021.
Container traffic at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port is forecast to Jebel Ali witness a CAGR of around 6% between 2017 and 2021. Over the next five years, container traffic in Sharjah is forecast to record a CAGR of around 3.2%, while container traffic handled at Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port will likely increase at a CAGR of 13.5% over the same period.
The analysis highlighted the potential impact of expanding ports in the UAE and further developing their facilities. Jebel Ali Port, managed by DP World, is investing $1.6bn with the aim of increasing the port's total capacity to 22.1mn containers.
Abu Dhabi Ports Company plans to expand Khalifa Port by 100km2 by mid-2018 to accommodate more industries and keep pace with rapid growth within the sector.
H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained that the logistics sector is among the key sectors driving the UAE’s economic growth.
He noted that recent expansions, investment and improvements within the sector have strengthened Dubai’s position as a global trade hub and enhanced the competitiveness of the UAE economy.
DHL Express Invests in Electric Cargo Plane Fleet
DHL Express has ordered 12 fully electric cargo planes to supercharge efforts in reducing carbon emissions across its US delivery network.
The Alice eCargo planes are manufactured by Seattle startup Eviation, and are designed specifically to be configured for either cargo or passengers. The first planes are expected to be delivered to DHL Express in 2024.
“We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
The purchase forms part of DHL’s €7bn investment in reducing CO2 emissions by 2030, with a zero emissions target set for 2050.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” Pearson added. “On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
What is Eviation's Alice Aircraft?
- Manufacturer: Eviation
- Capacity: 1,200kg
- Range: 815km
- Charge time: 30 minutes
- Launching: 2024
Eviation’s Alice aircraft enable cargo and passenger airlines to operate zero-emission fleets. The plane can be flown by one pilot and is capable of carrying 1,200kg, with a maximum range of 815km.
The aircraft can be fully charged in 30 minutes, which can take place while the vehicle is loaded and unloaded between flights. Eviation says that, because the aircraft has fewer moving parts - or points of failure - than traditional aircraft, they are more reliable and reduce maintenance overheads and downtime.
“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network,” said Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express. “Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions.”
How Does Alice Compare with UPS’ eVTOLs?
DHL Express is not alone in electrifying the skies. In April, UPS announced a new fleet of eVTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, from Beta Technologies, which will enter service in 2024.
UPS’ vehicles can carry 635kg with a 400km range and cruising speeds of up to 170mph. The eVTOLs can carry cargo to several short-hops or one long route on a single charge, and are aimed at healthcare organisation, SMEs and businesses in small or remote communities.
“These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation,” said Juan Perez, UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer.
The first 10 eVTOLs will be delivered in 2024, with the option for UPS to order up to 150 more.