IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Unilode signs up NokScoot as 45th customer
Zurich-based Unilode Aviation Solutions which is a leading global provider of outsourced Unit Load Device management and repair solutions has won an ULD management contract with Thailand’s NokScoot Airlines.
NokScoot operates a fleet of five Boeing 777-200 passenger aircraft on medium haul routes within North Asia and the Indian subcontinent and has plans to expand their fleet and routes further during the coming years. One of the important points in the new contract is that Unilode will start to replace NokScoot’s present containers which are of the old type and rather heavy, with new lightweight ULD’s from the Unilode stock. NokScoot CEO, Yodchai Sudhidhanakul commented on signing the deal that: “By commissioning Unilode for the management of NokScoot’s containers and pallets for our current fleet we will receive cost-effective and professional services, which will provide us with peace of mind and allow us to focus on our core business of flying passengers.”
The deal is also an important one for Unilode as Benoit Dumont stated that: “Unilode has further strengthened its global ULD management market leader position with its recent contract wins and renewals and we are pleased to welcome NokScoot as Unilode’s 45th ULD management customer.”
DHL launches Medical Express Service
A new service for the health care industry has been launched by DHL Express for shippers on the Latin America - USA trade lanes. DHL Express say that the service has been initiated to help airlines who operate on these routes to avoid delays at Brazilian airports. Called ‘DHL Medical Express Service’ or in short ‘WMX’ - it offers shippers differing temperature-controlled transport for medicines as well as for sensitive medical equipment and biological samples. The service is offered from major Brazilian airports to most destinations within the U.S.
In other news, DHL Supply Chain gained global employee recognition from the Top Employer Institute (TEI) for the third year running. The recognition as a company which offers excellent working conditions for its employees was for DHL’s approach in the areas Leadership Development, Learning & Development, Talent Strategy and Career & Succession Management.
Tigers invests ahead in X-ray technology
Tigers Australia which is part of the Hong Kong-based Tigers Group which offers so called enterprise solutions to companies operating in the e-commerce and transportation sectors has invested in new X-ray and detection technology for the security of air cargo export from Australia. As of March this year there will be new security laws introduced in Australia for the export of shipments by air cargo.
The new equipment will be installed at Tigers facility at Perth Airport and includes state-of-the-art X-ray equipment along with an electro-magnetic detection machine and two explosive trace detection units. Tigers Perth facility has a 24/7 operation and the company states that this will allow export cargo screening to be completed after-hours which reduces the need for clients to deliver their cargo via the Cargo Terminal Operator (CTO) at the airport, where long waiting times occur.
Volga-Dnepr MRO gets B777 approval
VD Gulf which is the Volga-Dnepr Technics company within the VD Group has gained approval to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul services (MRO) at its Sharjah, UAE facility for Boeing 777 aircraft. This is an important breakthrough for VD Gulf which is already licensed in Sharjah for MRO services for the B747-400, N737 CL/NG and Airbus A320 variants. There are many operators in the region who have B777 passenger or freighter aircraft in their fleets.
Volga-Dnepr Airlines was voted as the ‘Heavy Lift Cargo Airline of the Year’ at this year’s Breakbulk, Heavylift & Project Forwarding (BHP) conference held in Mumbai, India. Lloyd Dsouza, VD Group’s Regional Business Development Manager who was also a speaker at the conference, commented: “we are honored to be among the award winners at BHP 2019. South Asia is an important market for us, and one we have served for a very long time.”
CEVA gives insight on 2018 results
CEVA Logistics has issued their preliminary financial figures for 2018. The past year was one where CEVA Logistics introduced various structural changes within the organisation. Revenue growth for the past year is expected to run at +5,2% compared to the previous year and the company’s net debt will have dropped to US$ 1,190 million which compared to the previous year is a drop of 43% (2017 - US$ 2,089 million).
Total revenues for the past year will come out at US$7,356 million and net revenue at US$3,629 million. The official financial results for 2018 will be published by CEVA on 28. February. CEVA Logistics have also announced that their partnership with Trieste, Italy-based Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding companies, has been renewed for an additional three years. The cooperation has been in effect since 2005 and CEVA is responsible for moving components and parts used in shipbuilding to the ten Fincantieri sites throughout Italy.
New Chengdu-Melzo rail service
Another cargo train connection with China has been introduced. This one operates from the Chinese city of Chengdu to Italy’s Contship Rail Hub in Milan. The first train left Chengdu at the end of January and is expected in Milan by mid-February. This is the first regular cargo train operation to be introduced between China and Italy and it is conducted by the Far East Land Bridge Company (FELB). The train which loaded a total of 40 containers is destined for the Melzo Rail Hub which is situated in the eastern part of Milan. The 10,000km journey crosses eight countries before reaching Italy. The return journey from Melzo to Chengdu will start as of the middle of this month and the company states that in the initial stages a twice monthly service will operate and be increased to a weekly service later on.
Rockford & Leipzig looking at direct links
Chicago’s Rockford International Airport (RFD) which is situated about 140km from the city of Chicago, is said to have partnered with Germany’s Leipzig Airport (LEJ) in a bid to start up a direct freighter service between both cities.
Both airports are studying a joint e-commerce connection between the two cities in the future. There is considerable trade between Germany and the U.S. state of Illinois where it is said that German companies situated there employ more than 35,000 American staff at various locations. UPS has quite a large operation at Rockford Airport and Leipzig is the main DHL Express hub in Europe as well as being home to Aerologic, a Lufthansa Cargo - DHL 50%-50% freighter operator.
TUI changes to ECS for cargo sales
TUI which is seen as being the world’s largest travel company with its own fleet of aircraft has handed over control to the Paris based ECS Group for its cargo activities. The deal entails that ECS and TUI enter into a Total Cargo Management (TCM) deal whereby ECS takes full responsibility for TUI’s air cargo activities.
TUI operates with 150 own aircraft which are spread over 5 different TUI managed carriers. They serve more than 300 destinations in 75 countries and are said to operate well over 3300 flights each week. The carrier offers a wide range of cargo products on their flights. These range from General Cargo, Perishables, AOG shipments and TUI Pets to Mail and e-commerce shipments.
In a separate development, British travel group Thomas Cook intends selling all airlines belonging to their Holding. These are German leisure carrier Condor, Thomas Cook Airlines UK, and
subsidiaries in Scandinavia and the Spanish Balearic Islands. Together these carriers operate 103 aircraft, predominantly on a “sale and lease-back” agreement.
While Thomas Cook issued several profit warnings last year for its core business the airline group performed well in contrast. Sales went up 9.5 percent to 3.7 billion euros while the operating income leaped 37 percent y-o-y to 146 million euros.
It is unknown if talks with potential investors have already begun, including other carriers. In any case, it seems to be a further step to consolidate the European airline landscape.
Affected from a change of ownership might also be GSAs like German Leisure Cargo that sells the lower deck capacity of the Condor fleet consisting of 53 aircraft.
National strike expected in Belgium
The Belgian trade unions have called for a national strike on Wednesday 13. February. The action will most certainly include the aviation sector as both airline and air traffic control staff have been invited to take part. Apart from medical flights, no aircraft will be able to land or depart from the Belgian airports, so one of the trade unions, ACV Transom claims.
Brussels Airport’s Head of Cargo, Steven Polmans says that the situation at this moment is not yet very clear, but he admits that a lot will indeed depend on what air traffic control staff will do. In 2018 the Belgian ATC agency Skeyes guided over 1.1 million aircraft in the Belgian airspace and airports. All together these carried more than 1.6 million tons of cargo and 34 million passengers. Brussels Airlines has already decided to cancel 28 flights.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters