Qatar Airways Cargo has reported that 95% of the so-called PES (perishable seafood) traveling on board it’s from Scandinavia, especially from Norway, is salmon. In 2021, it transported a shocking 1.3 million tons of salmon, worth EUR 8.57 billion. To achieve this, the aviation company operates six B777 cargo services each week, supplying global demand via the Oslo-Doha route.
These figures have marked a milestone in perishable seafood logistics and in particular, in the shipment of salmon in the hands of the company, which has already been recognized as Airline of the Year, Best Business Class Onboard Catering and Best Airline in the Middle East, among others.
Rob Veltman, vice president Cargo Europe at Qatar Airways, explained that the airline has not only offered a global network of more than 150 stations, but also had the responsiveness to support Norwegian seafood exporters who were affected by the pandemic’s impact on all sectors.
Significant capacity increase for the Norwegian market
As the executive explained, “By introducing passenger freighters to the Norwegian seafood market, including Harstad-Narvik Airport in Evenes and Bodø Airport in northern Norway, Qatar Airways Cargo significantly increased its capacity for the Norwegian market in 2021 and when it was needed most.”
“The operations team pulled out all the stops to meet our customers’ needs, resulting in a record increase of more than 68,944 kg on a single 777-passenger flight on the lower deck. Qatar Airways Cargo carried more than 46,000 tons of Norwegian seafood in 2021, the highest result to date. The airline transports more than 125 tons of seafood from Oslo every day,” Veltman said.
It is worth noting that Qatar Airways Cargo, together with its Norwegian GSA partner, ECS Group subsidiary NordicGSA, are experts in air cargo and especially seafood logistics. They were awarded the prestigious DB Schenker Seafood Airline Seafood Award for three consecutive years – 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“The DB Schenker Seafood Airline Award is the only award where seafood producers are the ones who judge the various airlines in terms of how they handle perishable products, the service offered, their quality and proactivity, among other factors,” commented Carl Christian Skage, managing director of NordicGSA in Norway, for his part.
For Skage’s company, the priorities are to “guarantee a specific commodity service, temperature control and, above all, an awareness of sustainability, which is a decisive factor, particularly in Scandinavia. That’s why we have a program in place whereby all carbon emissions generated by our operations here in Norway, including trucking to our facility, are offset by Norway’s largest BIOcarbon capture initiative, Trefadder, which plants trees on our behalf.”
Live crabs and trout, among other seafood, also travel.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which belong to Denmark, also see some seafood traffic including live crabs, trout and other seafood, although most of the salmon business comes from Norway.
Qatar Airways Cargo offers about 850 tons of cargo capacity each week from Norway, transporting Norwegian salmon through Doha’s state-of-the-art perishables hub to destinations throughout Asia: Seoul/South Korea (ICN), Bangkok/Thailand (BKK), Shanghai/China (PVG), Osaka/Japan (KIX), Narita/Japan (NRT), Hong Kong (HKG), Guangzhou/China (CAN,); and Middle East: Dubai/UAE (DXB), Doha/Qatar (DOH) and Riyadh/Saudi Arabia (RUH).