Zambian freight forwarder NAC2000 has landed a double safety first. It’s become the first ground handler in the country to obtain the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata) new Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certification, and to install the country’s first explosives and narcotics detector. “This certification proves that Zambian companies can operate to international standards,” says NAC2000 managing director Jonathan Lewis. ISAGO is an internationally recognised system for assessing the operational management and control systems of an organisation that provides ground handling services for airlines. Having a certified ground handler in Zambia could attract more international freighters and airlines, Lewis believes. Another benefit has been improved systems and productivity of the NAC2000 services at Kenneth Kaunda International airport (KKIA), Ndola and Livingstone international airports, he says
“This is a major milestone for us as we used the initiative to change the way in which we work in order to improve the safety culture of the company,” he told Freight News. As part of the process the ground staff have undergone training for the handling of dangerous goods. In February NAC2000 became the first cargo operator in Zambia to introduce an explosives and narcotics detector into an aviation cargo screening operation. The ISAGO certification requires that you have narcotics and explosives detection systems in place. “Most operators rely on sniffer dogs, but the certifying authorities expect you to provide proof that goods have been checked for narcotics and explosives. “We decided to invest in equipment that operates round the clock and provides a traceable record rather than relying on dogs only,” he says. According to
Lewis, the safety upgrades have been welcomed by the authorities and the company’s airline customers. Middle Eastern airlines that have been considering Zambia as a destination will now be encouraged to start services as ISAGO certification is a requirement of the airlines. Airfreight capacity in and out of Zambia is already increasing as airlines start returning. Ethiopian Airlines has kept on operating throughout the pandemic, and is instrumental in transporting medical supplies. It is also helping keep the doors open for Zambian perishable exporters. “On the 25th of March Zambia entered uncertain times when we moved from an average of 16 aircraft turnarounds a day across four international airports to five f lights a week at one airport (KKIA), with the other three airports being closed and staff sent home,” says Lewis. Airlines now f lying into Zambia include Ethiopian, Rwanda Air Kenya Airways, Prof light, and Dutch Airline Euro Cargo, which is operating freighters only into Zambia. Ad-hoc charters have also begun to return, he says.
We decided to invest in equipment that operates round the clock and provides a traceable record rather than relying.