Saudi Arabia has its first foreign cargo handler

Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

SATS has become the first international cargo handler to win a tender to build and operate a cargo terminal in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The tender is awarded subject to terms and conditions being agreed by both parties. This award marks the first step taken by GACA to introduce a second player into the cargo handling market at King Fahd International Airport(KFIA) and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Granted to its subsidiary SATS Saudi Arabia, the cargo handling concession is valid for 22.5 years. Saudi Arabia is a key aviation hub in the Middle East and is the second-largest in terms of cargo throughput among the Gulf Cooperation Council member states. GACA, KFIA and SATS have formed a strategic tripartite partnership with the aim of elevating service standards and introducing new service offerings at Dammam to position KFIA as a key air cargo hub in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“We believe this strategic partnership with SATS will further enhance KFIA’s position as a gateway for cargo in the Eastern of Saudi Arabia. The introduction of a second cargo terminal operator will result in enhanced services, options and increased air cargo capacity for the marketplace. KFIA looks forward to working together with SATS to grow cargo activity and services,” said Turki Al-Jawini, Director General, King Fahd International Airport.

SATS will build a new cargo terminal in the vicinity of KFIA and within the Kingdom’s new cargo village. The facility will be capable of handling 150,000 tonnes of cargo annually. It will also incorporate a dedicated cold chain facility to meet the growing needs of the pharmaceutical and food industries to ship high value, temperature-sensitive goods.

Through its vast experience and expertise in operating cargo terminals in China, India, Indonesia, Oman, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam, SATS will introduce best-in-class cargo handling standards and new technology to ensure an efficient and effective cargo terminal operation. “We have confidence in the future of the Saudi economy and in the continued growth of Dammam as the major industrial city in the Eastern Province. We look forward to working with our airline customers to connect KFIA into our growing network of cargo hubs across Asia and the Middle East,” said Alex Hungate, President and Chief Executive Officer, SATS. This investment leverages SATS’ core expertise in cargo handling, building out its presence across Asia and the Middle East. The investment also aligns with SATS’ vision of Feeding and Connecting Asia, where it seeks to provide customers with premium, high quality, valueadded cargo handling solutions as well as seamless connections between its cargo operations across the region. The construction of the new facility is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.