Super jumbo Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft makes its largest ever delivery to Dube TradePort

04 April 2017

On the 30th of March 2017 Dube Cargo Terminal witnessed its second landing of an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, as part of the delivery of 80 tonnes of highly specialised spools, which forms part of the main furnace at the local oil refinery.

The components ranged from 4 to 16 meters in length, 1 to 3 meters in width and 2 to 4 meters in height.  Due to the oversized nature, weight and value of the cargo, Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping, the company contracted to deliver this essential equipment for the refinery, felt that it necessary to charter an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft.

Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft at Dube Cargo Terminal

Mr Justin Naidoo, Airfreight Controller, Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping said, “Due to the enormity of this cargo, not to mention the monetary value of the shipment, extreme care and caution had to be taken in ensuring that the transportation and disembark from the aircraft, as well as loading onto the specialized low bed trucks, was carried out with the utmost precision and precaution.

‘The need for specialized cranes, rigging crews and equipment that best suited the low bed trucks needed to accommodate this cargo really demanded the input of personnel with years of experience, as well as planning down to the tiniest detail - needless to say, this was all done successfully.”

The spools that were delivered by the aircraft are critical components for the production of fuel at the oil refinery. It was essential that the delivery of these replacement parts, which are of higher grade material, be expedited as efficiently as possible. The landing rights were secured a few weeks prior to the Antonov’s arrival as the cargo was sourced from Germany. The aircraft took two and a half days to reach Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, leaving Leipzig Airport on the 27th of March 2017, with two rest and refueling stops in Cairo and Mombasa.

“The necessary motivation for the need to bring in this type of aircraft was key to having this permit (landing rights) issued, needless to say, Dube TradePort provided sufficient motivation to have this expedited accordingly and receiving a flight of this nature was welcomed by King Shaka International Airport,” continued Mr Justin Naidoo.

An Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft has the carrying capacity of 120 to 150 tonnes - the biggest series heavy lifter in the world. It is a military spec aircraft that is built specifically for the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo, which even includes other aircraft and industrial equipment. In 2013 Dube Cargo Terminal saw a smaller load on an Antonov An-124 airlift a 54-tonne acid cooler for a mine in New Caledonia; this second landing of this aircraft certainly positions Dube Cargo Terminal as a world-class facility capable of handling heavy lifts.

“Dube Cargo Terminal has invested in a specialised outsized cargo handling facility which is equipped with hoists, mobile cranes and conveyor systems to handle bulky or outsized shipments such as large pipes, outsized machinery, motor vehicles, large animals and 20-foot ocean containers,” said Mr Ricardo Isaac, Manager of Dube Cargo Terminal.

“The infrastructure to handle outsized cargo allows us to be flexible in enabling more specialised charter flights as well as growing cargo throughput by facilitating sea to air connections via the increased cargo capacity from the air services that already fly directly to Durban.  By doing so, we are confident that we will continue to stimulate more growth in the local market. In the last 12 months we have seen a steady growth in excess of 20% in cargo throughput.”  

Mr Aubrey Veeran, Director of Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping added, “We have chartered smaller aircrafts in the past but nothing like the Antonov An-124. This is a milestone and we are very excited to be a part of this project. We believe there is certainly lots of potential to have charter flights come in (to King Shaka International Airport).  We have an airport that is able to handle major aircraft and the fact that we have received an Antonov An-124 is really major. Durban has more than enough potential and capacity to see and successfully handle many more freighter charters in the years to come.  It was a fantastic experience being part of a project of this magnitude.”

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About Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping
Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping (PTY) Ltd (SFS) started in 1997 as the first Black Empowered clearing and forwarding company in the industry. SFS is 55% owned by the Makana Investment Company and 45% owned by Bidvest.

Makana is the investment company of Makana Trust, a trust that was formed by the late former President, Nelson Mandela, to look after the families of over 50 000 former political prisoners. Bidvest is one of South Africa's big diversified groups, listed on the JSE.

Sebenza employs 90 people in the 3 major cities of South Africa, namely Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and has global networks in over 250 countries in the world.

Sebenza is a member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA). Sebenza offers a range of logistics solutions including international forwarding; customs clearing; warehousing; transportation; insurance and credit facilities.

As Sebenza we pride ourselves for being client-centric, which means we adapt the way we work in order to fit into the client needs. We keep our clients informed about the status of their goods at all stages in order to give our customers a peace of mind.