Has Airfreight Handling Quality Changed for the Better?

We follow up our recent articles on air freight modernization and problems facing the various players in the industry in keeping abreast of the times and ensuring that customers really get value for money.
In this issue, we take a short look at the quality aspect as seen by the shippers.

Model example of properly handled cargo shipments  -  photo: hs
Model example of properly handled cargo shipments - photo: hs

Too many mistakes happening “on the floor”
Adequate training has become something that freight forwarders, airlines and airport handlers are having to take a closer look at these days.
This especially applies to the handling of temperature sensitive and hi-value shipments which are fast becoming the normal trend.

Another issue is ensuring that shipments are handled properly on the warehouse floor, especially as far as labeling is concerned.
There are reports in the past twelve months that various hi-value temperature sensitive pharma shipments have ended up at wrong destinations due to faulty paperwork and labeling.
Faulty pallet or container build up, although it should never happen, is a nightmare for companies who entrust hi-value, perishables and pharma cargo to airlines.
The mistakes cost shippers a fortune and often end up with cargo having to be destroyed.
The result here is that especially pharma shippers switch back to ocean vessels, claiming that although it takes longer, it’s safer!

Well-trained staff can react faster
Each link in the supply chain should be in the position to cooperate with another so that airfreight handling can get a clean bill of health in the shipper’s eyes.
TIACA’s Shippers Advisory Council (SAC) whose members include various representatives from international shippers, has picked up on this by urging members of the airfreight industry to take a much closer look at how best to introduce and understand enhanced technology in order to make cargo handling easier and safer all round.

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Do players understand what a supply chain is?
It’s however, the old story as far as getting a fully functional supply chain.
Getting the individual players to recognise the importance of a watertight supply chain is still a harrowing task.
The debate on this particular issue is being forced by TIACA and one can only hope that future conferences will put this on top of their agendas in a form that most participants can and will understand.

The airfreight industry has come a long way since its inception many decades ago.
What’s wrong is that we are still working with procedures that were put together for the carriage of cargo as a by-product in the bellies of a B707 or DC8 aircraft.

Not enough has changed with regards to quality handling and there is a long way to go - but time is running out.

John Mc Donagh

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    Radharamanan Panicker (Tuesday, 11 July 2017 07:49)

    Training is good subject for discussion in forum where there is nothing else to discuss. But does training add value to the customer and brings benefit to the supplier. Or is it cost to be borne by organization solely. Who recognizes the efforts and money put into a well trained human resource. If customers constantly harps only on only reducing cost while procuring service ignoring the quality then you need to remember the famous American saying- when you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Quality is primarily driven by well oiled systematic training system. Airlines had a fantastic system many years back but once they started ignoring the same, you can see the result. Same is the case everywhere. Let's not training when we can't think of value creation for everyone in the supply chain. Value cannot be created for customers if it cannot be created for their vendors

  • #2

    John Mc Donagh (Wednesday, 12 July 2017 11:27)

    Dear Radharamanan,
    Thank you for your valuable comments and thoughts on our training article.
    We at CargoForwarder Global strongly believe that training methods have to adapt to future market demands and that the next generation of air cargo managers (i.e. today's youth) must be fully integrated in present and future training programs. We fully concur with your point on "what you pay for is what you get." However, this we feel should not be the norm and leads to dangerous erosion of quality, safety and industry image.
    Look forward to future comments -keep 'em coming. John Mc Donagh

  • #3

    Bob Rogers (Monday, 24 July 2017 13:19)

    I believe a major point is that somehow or other its become the norm to forget training when it comes to cargo...I often tell friends who are not in this industry- next time you sit on a plane listening to the inflight safety briefing just remember that your aircraft was most likely being loaded by the lowest bidder, employing minimum wage staff, possibly working split shifts, who have probably not been on the job for more than 3 months and wont be around in another three, and for whom "training" meant " do what he does".
    To make a point the issue goes beyond training, its also about incredibly high staff turnover, approaching and exceeded 100% per year...does it make sense for such a transient workforce to be loading US$ 150 million airplanes?