Apr 05, 2017: Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft delivers 80 tonnes of highly specialised spools, at Dube Cargo Terminal. The spools are 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.

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 specialised low bed trucks, was carried out with the utmost precision and precaution.

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, with two rest and refuelling stops in Cairo and Mombasa.

"The necessary motivation for the need to bring in this type of aircraft was key to having this permit 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," Naidoo added.

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.

Ricardo Isaac, manager, Dube Cargo Terminal, said, "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."

"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 of 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 percent in cargo throughput."

Aubrey Veeran, director, Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping, added, "We have chartered smaller aircraft's 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 into 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."

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