Last year saw the opening of Panalpina’s own 41,806 sq. metre multi-modal transit and logistics hub in the ‘aerotropolis’ of Dubai World Central (DWC). The impressive state-of-art facility comprises 2787 sq. metres of office space, a 11,148 sq. metre multi-purpose logistics operating area and a 13,935 sq. metre lay down area. Tapa A certified, it also has 23 gates, including one mega door, ten dock levellers, air cargo pallet roller beds and a huge 13.7 metre ceiling height. After all that, there is still room left over for future planned growth.
“The facility represents a key milestone in our expansion strategy in the Middle East,” says Schmidt. “It will allow us to significantly increase our service offerings in supply chain management by providing a seamless integration of international air, ocean and trucking services, with our logistics and order fulfillment services.”
When it comes down to seamless multi-modal logistics, DWC is certainly the place to be. Covering a mind-blowing 140 sq. kilometres of space, the project encompasses the largest free zone in the UAE (Jafza), the sixth largest container terminal in the world (Jebel Ali Sea Port) and the world’s largest airport.
“It was a strategic decision to set up in a location where we could bring together multi-modal services and have a multi-modal platform which gives us the opportunity to combine ocean with land solutions and also have a contract logistics capability,” says Schmidt. “A platform here has great flexibility to fit between modes and the advantage of operating in the free trade zone.”
The key attraction of the facility for Panalpina’s customers, according to Schmidt, is that it provides a chance to reduce costs, whilst simultaneously maintaining a high level of service and reliability. “Having this hub and being able to move products in here from different regions and then feed it out, gives us the chance to be more innovative with our supply chain solutions,” he says.
At present, half of the facility is dedicated to transit operations, and the other half to contract logistics. “For the contract logistics part, we are looking to develop this to further support our plans for both hi-tech telecom and pharmaceutical/healthcare customers,” he adds. As well as handling both inbound and outbound cargo movements, the facility comes with the latest in temperature controlled storage capabilities.
As if opening up a massive regional facility was not enough to keep Schmidt busy last year, Panalpina Middle East hit the headlines again, as the first scheduled cargo service to fly to the much anticipated Al Maktoum International Airport.