Qantas will celebrate a milestone next week when its multi-million dollar Melbourne terminal redevelopment is opened, with a massive airside dedicated perishable handling facility. The airline has also closed a deal to replace its entire fleet of forklifts.
The new, 2,000 m2-plus terminal at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport will have the country’s only dedicated airside perishable facility, with a capacity to store 20 AKE-class airline containers or unit load devices (ULD).
As Melbourne is Australia’s busiest air export hub with significant volumes of perishables (seafood, flowers, fresh produce and pharmaceuticals) going through Tullamarine, Qantas’ terminal will be able to store containers at +13°C until ready to be loaded on the aircraft. The building also has a freezer area for frozen goods.
Export shipments spend a minimum of one hour in the terminal between close of receivals and loading on the aircraft, giving perishables exporters a small window of opportunity to deliver their containers without these experiencing a rise in temperature. With the new perishables facility, exporters will be able to deliver the cargo to the terminal earlier.
Qantas Freight has also signed a contract with Hyster for the delivery of a total of 70 new forklifts of various sizes, replacing the airline’s entire fleet. The new Hyster forklifts have already been rolled out in Brisbane and Melbourne, and are being deployed this week in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
The new terminal and forklift replacement is part of the airline’s ‘Freight Futures’ program, which has also seen the company moving from its legacy IT system to iCargo, a next generation, industry specific information technology application.
Qantas Freight executive manager Stephen Cleary said: “We have achieved a critical milestone for this important project, with the successful cut-over of the first phase in our iCargo implementation with our Unit Load Device (ULD) control and schedule management staff now having access to the application.
“iCargo will be integrated across the Qantas Freight network over a number of phases, with our terminal operations business planned to be the last to cutover late in 2010.”
Mr Cleary said Qantas Freight had worked closely with the global software vendor IBS plc throughout the development of the iCargo application.
“Qantas Freight experts have contributed to the application’s development since the very beginning thereby ensuring that iCargo will suit the needs of our business now and well into the future,” he said.