AIPUT strengthens the resilience of vital pharmaceutical airfreight facility at Heathrow

posted on 28th May 2020 by Eddie Saunders
AIPUT strengthens the resilience of vital pharmaceutical airfreight facility at Heathrow

Aberdeen Standard Investments’ AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust) has secured a lease extension to 2030 with Kuehne+Nagel for its Heathrow South Cargo Centre warehouse at Heathrow Airport, securing the site’s pivotal role as a nationally-important facility for the movement and storage of imported/exported pharmaceuticals and other medical products, such as life science-related IT equipment.   Heathrow South Cargo Centre is one of a number of AIPUT’s locations working to boost the nation’s resilience in the fight against Covid-19.

Kuehne+Nagel – the world’s second largest airfreight forwarder – is an established customer of AIPUT, having operated out of the 208,000 sq ft Heathrow South Cargo Centre since 2014.  GlaxoSmithKline is the leading customer of the warehouse facility, which represents a significant share of the UK’s pharmaceutical imports and exports.  Kuehne+Nagel is joined at the Heathrow South Cargo centre by Do&Co Catering and GE Aviation.

Heathrow Airport is the largest UK import hub for pharmaceuticals and medical products, handling up to 41% by value of the UK’s total pharmaceutical imports.  AIPUT has supported the business growth of Kuehne+Nagel’s specialist air-cargo divisions on a number of occasions in recent years.  The company also operates AIPUT’s Perishables Handling Centre at Hatton Cross, a 72,500 sq on-airport temperature-controlled warehouse facility specifically designed to process imported food airfreight from all over the world.  

Heathrow has been repurposed in recent weeks to focus mainly on importing essential airfreight products to feed and support the UK’s recovery. The gateway airport is currently handling up to 95 dedicated cargo flights each day – 14 times the number in normal times. Overall cargo volumes passing through the airport have been significantly lower than usual due to the dramatic reduction in belly-freight usually carried in long-haul passenger aircraft.

Nick Smith, Fund Manager for AIPUT said: “Kuehne+Nagel is one of a number of AIPUT customers and commercial partners at Heathrow that have responded magnificently in ramping up their business operations to help support the nation’s health – in particular our NHS – in the most challenging circumstances. It’s hugely inspiring to see businesses vital to the operations of our leading airports, stepping up to the mark and proving the importance of the UK’s aviation industry to our national wellbeing, as well as to the future economic recovery of UK plc.


“This new agreement with our valued partners Kuehne+Nagel, secures the future of this nationally-important air freight facility for years to come, making a major contribution towards ensuring that the UK’s vital access to global healthcare supplies is maintained.” 

AIPUT is supporting its customers across the portfolio and through their warehouse facilities to actively support the UK through the Covid-19 emergency:

  • Radius Park, Feltham, South Heathrow: Agility Logistics, one of the world’s top freight forwarding companies, has turned its 55,000 sq ft unit over to the storage of pharmaceuticals for the NHS
  • Central Park Estate, East Heathrow: Nippon Gases is using its 18,400sq ft facility to manufacture and distribute dry ice, normally used by the airlines, to NHS operations in South West London.
  • Swissport, one of AIPUT’s largest customers at Heathrow, is working with FedEx and Royal Mail flying imported high value ecommerce-related goods, perishable foods and produce into Stansted
  • World Duty Free, Gatwick: Delivery drivers are volunteering as drivers for the NHS, with the company donating sweets and chocolates to local care homes and hospitals 

AIPUT manages over 2.1m sq ft of high-quality cargo warehousing serving Heathrow Airport, making the fund one of the airport’s leading specialist real estate landlords.  Resolution to grant planning permission has recently been secured for two new warehouse buildings set to deliver a further 145,000 sq ft of airport-related warehousing serving Heathrow, divided between its dnata City East campus, South Heathrow, and Blackthorne Point site, west of Heathrow which will contribute to the economic and social recovery of both the local area and wider UK