The new programme is expected to give the Arabian carrier a competitive market advantage, enabling both their passenger and cargo division to offer value-added services to their customer. Simultaneous to this announcement Unilode informed the industry about the launch of pallets equipped with Bluetooth 5 digital tags, giving full transport transparacy of cargo shipments.
The Zurich-based global provider of ULD management and repair solutions for the airline industry has been working together with Saudia Airlines and Saudia Cargo since 2017 whereby they supply
Saudia’s total fleet with ULDs as well as running a maintenance and repair station for the carrier in Jeddah.
As a next phase of their collaboration, Unilode will roll out what they say is ‘a state-of-the-art’ digitalisation programme for Saudia and Saudia Cargo. In a recent release they state that this new programme will give both carriers a competitive market advantage by them being able to offer other value-added services to their clients. Saudia Cargo’s CEO, Omar Hariri said: “Saudia Cargo aims to serve the air freight industry with a spirit of excellence by continuously enhancing service levels and developing effective logistics solutions to the highest industry standards. The full digitalisation of our ULD fleet by Unilode will enable us to achieve just that.“
In another release Unilode announced the successful completion of a year-long development and testing programme conducted together with industial partners Safran S.A. and OnAsset Intelligence for equipping cargo pallets with bluetooth 5 digital tags. The tags, they say, can be fitted easily into a pallet to prevent mishandling or stacking problems that might occur with bolt-on solutions positioned externally. Safra designed a complementary corner piece solution to house the antenna of the tag in the pallet corner, with the rest of OnAsset's innovative digital device being entirely integrated inside the edge rail of the pallet. According to Unilode, the new Safran pallets will be delivered with the integrated corner piece while existing units will be retrofitted to enable the provision of data on location and shock. This is especially important for time-critical and shock-sensitive cargo.
The technology, which is a centerpiece of Unilode’s digital transformation programme, is fully DO-160 compliant and approved for in-flight use.
Comments their CEO, Benoît Dumont: “Our solution for the digital enablement of pallets is fully integrated and therefore safe, compliant with prevailing regulations, does not create a trip hazard for individuals or pose a target for forklifts and does not operationally impede on the use of the pallets by occupying a portion of the seat tracks.”
Unilode and SAS Cargo deepen ties
As the ULD manager announced today (March 11), they will digitalize SAS Cargo's container fleet starting Q2, 2019. The accord reached between both companies is fully in line with Unilode's digital transformation programme, enhancing the professionality of transporting and handling unit load devices by equipping pallets or containers with data transmitters. This way, ULD tracking is optimized, and the temperature and humidity data of sensitive shipments become fully transparent, among other benefits provided to shippers and consignees.
Unilode points out that the intensified cooperation with SAS Cargo is "another major milestone" in the long-standing pact with the Scandinavian freight carrier that commenced eight years ago.
Jettainer started testing intelligent containers
Unilode is not the only service provider eager to lift ULDs to the next - digitalized - level. Almost a year ago, their competitor Frankfurt-based Jettainer kicked off a test series in close cooperation with Lufthansa Industry Solutions to launch a digital container. According to the developers, their device will register and record shocks and damages occurred during transportation or within warehouses. I also will collect and deliver data on temperature changes should they occur. This way, maintenance and repair processes can be better planned in case the boxes were damaged in service and shipping visibility will be enhanced.
Further to this, Jettainer reminded that the ULD manager is celebating its 15th birthday this year. On this occasion they have produced a special visual container which marks the 60th anniversary of the air freight container having been in service. The box is an eye catcher and the company is sending it around the world to send out the 60th anniversary message. It left Frankfurt on March 7, bound for Singapore where it will be on show at the IATA World Cargo Symposium. After that it will continue its journey around the globe.
John Mc Donagh / Heiner Siegmund