4000 bovines on their way to Qatar to meet its milk demand
July 19, 2017: As the geo-political standoff between Qatar and the rest of the Gulf Co-operation Countries (GCC) languishes, a Qatar-based businessman has worked out a plan to airlift 4000 cows into the country. This move is to boost Qatar’s milk supply and wean the country off Riyadh’s teat. The cows will help Qatar meet 30 percent of its dairy demand (the country currently receives 80 percent of its food imports from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbours).
Qatar Airways Cargo, the cargo division of the Qatar’s national carrier, has been instrumental in transporting the country’s first two shipments of 330 Holstein cows from Europe on a Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777 freighter. These initial shipments are part of a 4,000-head herd that marks the launch of a completely new industry for Qatar.
Qatar Airways Cargo recently attracted well-deserved attention for undertaking the massive airlift of food and grocery items when the illegal blockade was initiated by neighbouring countries on 5 June. This undertaking, arranged entirely by Qatar Airways Cargo, lasted several weeks and used its own fleet, as well as other leased aircraft. The cargo airline continues to connect its global customers’ businesses to over 150 destinations on 200 passenger and freighter aircraft.
Ulrich Ogiermann, chief officer cargo, Qatar Airways said, “It is with utmost pride that we were given the opportunity to offer our expertise and services to support this momentous project. We are truly a part of history, helping launch the country’s newest industry, producing dairy products to meet local demand. The cattle charters involve a great deal of skill and coordination to ensure the flight from the points of origin to Doha was smooth and safe.
“With our extensive freighter fleet and state-of-the-art cargo facility at our Doha hub, we were able to meet our client Baladna Farm’s requirements with tailor-made solutions to transport the cattle from various continents swiftly into Doha. Our dedicated team at Qatar Airways Cargo is well-trained and our QR Live product is fully-compliant with IATA’s Live Animal Regulations to ensure safe and comfortable air transportation of live animals.”
The cargo carrier has been appointed to charter more than 20 cattle shipments from Europe, the U.S. and Australia in the next few weeks. Upon arrival at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the cattle are carefully and efficiently transferred to Baladna Farm, a huge livestock farm in Qatar.
Power International Holding Chairman Mr. Moutaz Al Khayyat said: “We are proud to expand the dairy industry in the State of Qatar, and are thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo for the expedient, safe and secure transportation of the cattle that have now safely arrived at their new home, Baladna Farm. With the arrival of the dairy cows, we aim to meet 30-35 per cent of the imported milk demand in the country within two months.”
Baladna is a subsidiary of Power International Holding, a well-diversified Qatari company. Baladna has built special cowsheds with a temperature control system to ensure a comfortable environment for the cattle. Baladna Farm, built over 700,000 sqm, includes 40,000 Awassi sheep able to withstand high temperature and produce high-quality milk. The farm also houses 5,000 goats and an animal feed mill yielding 100 tonnes per day.
Ranked the world’s third-largest international air cargo carrier, Qatar Airways Cargo has made significant investments in its fleet, network, its hub and products in recent years, as part of its strategy and commitment to improve and enhance its product offering for the benefit of customers globally. Qatar Airways Cargo’s charter product performed outstandingly well, with a 150 per cent increase in tonnage in 2016-17 over 2015-16. The cargo carrier also performed charters for a variety of products such as horses, cattle, pharmaceuticals, odd-size shipments, oil and gas products, art, concerts and exhibitions, machinery, mining and humanitarian relief goods.