Jettainer Pushes for ULD Innovations

ULD manager Jettainer intends to further streamline the flow of air freight containers and pallets to the benefit of customers, reducing costs and enhancing efficiency. Details were revealed by the management at a media event held in Berlin last Thursday.

American Airlines Cargo is one of Jettainer key clients  - courtesy Jettainer
American Airlines Cargo is one of Jettainer key clients - courtesy Jettainer

ULDs are dealt with as the last resort by many carriers in their biz, more than often having paid very little attention to. A costly error, claims Jettainer, the specialist in outsourced management of airline containers and pallets. That way transporting freight within a carrier’s network according to customer demand can become a bumpy ride. Particularly new LCC market entrants pay their full attention to the passenger segment, widely neglecting the cargo edge as additional source of earnings, including the related ULD processes.

High requirements
How sophisticated these are, was illustrated by Jettainer’s Managing Director Carsten Hernig at the Berlin press briefing who pointed out, that it needs much more than a state-of-the-art IT tool to manage the flow of devices within a carrier’s network according to demand, but also includes a systematic procurement policy to get the right devices for transporting different kinds of shipments together with a proven maintenance and repair concept.
Basically, airlines have two options: either they manage their ULDs in-house or they outsource the biz.

Significant cost savings
Asked by CargoForwarder Global about the financial differences of both models Hernig said, that an airline can save between 18 to 20 percent of their ULD costs if they decide to have Jettainer taking control of the activities.
Simultaneously, Carsten admitted that the ULD biz could well need a technological revolution to improve the operational performance and lower the carrier’s costs by adding artificial intelligence to the system.
That’s something his firm is keen on accomplishing, to lift the ULD management to the next level.

Jettainer’s MD Carsten Hernig pushes for ULD innovations  -  picture hs
Jettainer’s MD Carsten Hernig pushes for ULD innovations - picture hs

Intelligent ULDs
The company’s main visionary project is creating and implementing electronic tracking devices in containers and pallets that act autonomously. “Once in operation we have an accurate overview at all times showing us the current position of each single container and pallet,” Carsten states.
To achieve this goal the devices will be equipped with a small module that reports its position to the company’s central server automatically via GPS. The transmission frequency can be fixed depending on the requirements of each mandate airline.
For developing workable tools and solutions Jettainer partners with the University of Cologne.
If all goes according to plan the first trial phase for testing the modules in day-to-day operation will be rolled out next year. Should the results be according to expectations the regulators will have to give their approval before the roughly 90,000 Jettainer-managed ULDs can be equipped with transmitters to become intelligent.

Lightweight pallets are to come next
In addition, the company’s head of sales Martin Kraemer pointed out another project of high priority for Jettainer. “Together with a partnering company we are currently developing a lightweight pallet, that doesn't weigh more than 70 kilograms but is rugged enough to also accommodate heavy items.” He added to this that once the pallets are in operation, greenhouse gas emissions can be lowered since less weight reduces the fuel consumption of an aircraft.
Martin left open, when the lightweights will be introduced to the market. The manager added to this: "We only go life in the market once tests show results that are perfect."

Customer base keeps on growing
At present, the Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary (100%) manages the ULD biz of 19 airlines, among them Swiss WorldCargo, Jet Airways, American Airlines, Etihad and parent Lufthansa Cargo. Lately, cargo carrier Kelowna and discounter West Jet, both headquartered in Canada, were added to Jettainer client’s portfolio. So is Lufthansa offspring Eurowings that launches its first passenger long-haul flight today (2 November), taking off at Cologne en route to Varadero in Cuba. According to plans, the Eurowings’ fleet will be upped to seven A330 units within the next two years. All aircraft will be based at Cologne-Bonn Airport.

Heiner Siegmund  /  Michael Taweel

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