Heathrow airport in London plans to double the airfreight volumes in its endeavour to become one of the leading airports for cargo in Europe.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye announced at the British Chambers of Commerce that the airport will invest £180m in the project and has its blueprint ready.
Investment will be made to enhance air to air transit by building a facility on the airfield for faster handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out by air, reducing the times from a current average of more than hours.
E-freight will be fully implemented cut down on paper work and make it 100% digital.
The airport will build a new truck parking facility for over 100 vehicles, with waiting arenas for drivers.
The project includes development of a special pharmaceutical storage area to move highly valuable and temperature-sensitive medicines and provide better infrastructure for hazard-less movement of the freight in half of its usual time.
Being the international trade hub of the UK, Heathrow airport plays a critical role in connecting the British exporters to the global markets.
Freight Transport Association (FTA) director of global and European policy Chris Welsh said at the BCC conference: "Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is excellent news, and exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for.
"The improvements it is proposing are essential for the growth and success of the UK economy."
According to FTA, airfreight occupies 40% of UK’s imports and exports business.
"Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport.
"This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020," Holland-Kaye added.
The airport dealt with 1.50 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2014.
Image: Heathrow Airport aims at doubling airfreight volumes. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports Limited.