Abu Dhabi-headquartered freighter airline Etihad Cargo today (12 September) announced the launch of its new FreshForward service for perishable goods, designed to strengthen its support for the cold chain industry that imports produce into the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The new service ensures items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish, meat and flowers move seamlessly across Etihad Cargo’s global network until they reach their final destination, the airline said. More specifically at its Abu Dhabi hub, it prioritises the transfer of perishable cargo from the aircraft into a dedicated centre, and subsequently onto reefer trucks to be delivered directly to the customer’s doorstep anywhere in the UAE.
The launch of FreshForward marks a milestone in the expansion of Etihad’s value chain offering to include last-mile delivery in its home market for select products, the company said in a press release.
Commenting on the launch, Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Etihad Airways managing director cargo and logistics, said: “Etihad Cargo plays a vital role in stimulating the UAE’s imports and exports via our Abu Dhabi hub, and today we are delighted to introduce yet another product that will act as a further catalyst to this. Safe, efficient and timely transport is critical for the UAE’s major importers of fresh produce including supermarket chains, F&B wholesalers, restaurants and florists.”
Etihad Cargo transported over 90,000 tons of perishables over the last 12 months. Fruits and vegetables made up more than 37 per cent of the total, while meat (15,000 tonnes), flowers (19,000 tonnes) and fish (8,000 tonnes) were the other major categories carried by Etihad.
Etihad’s fleet of 109 narrow-body, wide-body and freighter aircraft fly to over 90 destinations globally, and are readily configured for perishable cargo compatibility, applying the highest levels of quality controls.
The Etihad Cargo network connects the UAE with key export markets globally, and also provides seamless transfer in Abu Dhabi for a global cold chain industry that boasts South American flowers, Indian mangoes and Australian lamb as some of its key products.
Customers will continue to benefit from Etihad Cargo’s established track and trace capabilities, adaptive temperature control on freighter and passenger aircraft, cold chain storage at the hub, dry-ice packing, thermal blankets and cool dollies, all but a few of the elements available under this newly branded product, the press release said.
'FreshForward is just the latest release in Etihad Cargo’s revised commercial offering to increasingly address premium product segments. Recent launches of new products such as FlightValet (automotive), FlyCulture (arts and music) and now FreshForward (cold chain), have been designed to specifically meet the unique attributes of those industries,' the statement said.