IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
February volumes continue the decline trend
January was not a good month as far as air cargo volumes went. Figures released by IATA and World ACD these past days show that February volumes are not faring any better either. IATA reports that demand when measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) went down by -4.7% in February whereas the available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs) rose by some 2.7%. This, IATA states is the ‘twelfth month in a row where capacity has outstripped demand growth.’
WorldACD adds to the above that general cargo growth went down by -8.5% YoY and special cargo demand actually went up by 0.5% YoY. The actual chargeable weight moved for February declined by -11.3% and now shows a YoY decrease of -5.8%.
Load factors also suffered, now standing at -3% YoY. It is interesting to note in the WorldACD figures that yields again dropped, this time in February by -3.4% compared to the previous year and that average revenues generated from large shipment of over 5 tons dropped by -13.2% and those of small shipments by -4.9%. The Chinese New Year of course plays a negative role in February, but even without this, figures would have been worse than those of February 2018. The areas with the largest percentage demand declines were Asia Pacific and Africa (-11.6% and -8.5%). Latin America however records a demand growth of +2.8%.
LH Cargo and CX Cargo expand J/V
The cargo joint venture between Lufthansa Cargo and Cathay Pacific Cargo seems to be paying off for both carriers. This has been enabled by the so-called Joint Business Agreement (JBA) that has been expanded to include eastbound cargo shipments from Europe to Hong Kong. The agreement which was signed in May 2016 now also includes IT and service enhancements, both carriers state. Customers have been able to book westbound shipments from HKG to FRA under the agreement since 2017 and the addition of Europe to Hong Kong now enables them to choose from a total of 280 direct flights per week from 15 airports, including hubs such as Paris CDG, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan or Zurich, to name some. “This way we can offer our customers more capacity coupled with greater transport flexibility,” states Andreas Pauker, Head of Communications at LH Cargo. He wouldn’t exclude more route joint ventures similar to the deals signed with ANA Cargo, United Cargo and Cathay Cargo to come. “But there is nothing in our pipeline right now.”
Unilode acquires AeroNet
Unilode Aviation Solutions, the Zurich-based ULD management and repair specialists has announced that they have purchased the assets of AeroNet Services, French based ULD maintenance and repair (MRO) company.
Unilode will now take charge of AeroNet’s repair facilities at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. AeroNet’s 31 staff members will also be fully taken over. The repair centres in CDG and ORY of the French company are EASA and FAA Part 145 certified and the company states that they repair up to 1,000 containers, pallets, cooltainers and horse stalls at both locations each month. AeroNet previously acted as a sub-contractor repair partner for Unilode in France.
Swiss WorldCargo increase N. America capacity
Zurich-based Swiss WorldCargo, the airfreight division of Swiss International Air Lines has published its Summer 2019 schedule which shows a marked increase in capacity on offer to destinations in Asia and North America.
Both Montreal and Beijing will now be served with daily Airbus A330-300 services. Chicago will now get twelve weekly services from Zurich, operated by Swiss B777 and A330 aircraft. Other service upgrades from ZRH are: four weekly Vancouver (A340), two weekly Calgary (A340), two weekly San Diego and up to fourteen weekly connections into Boston. Swiss International’s fleet of B777, A330 and A340 long haul aircraft offer ample belly space on their extensive North America and Asian services.
ABC ups Rickenbacker frequencies, introduces new product
AirBridgeCargo Airlines which operates an extensive worldwide cargo network with its fleet of Boeing 747 freighters, has decided to double their frequency to Rickenbacker Airport (LCK) in the U.S. state of Ohio.
The weekly service to Rickenbacker, which is ideally located to serve the Columbus, Ohio market, was started a year or so ago. The carrier has recorded positive loads on both inbound and outbound sectors and has now opted to increase capacity to a twice-weekly service. Rickenbacker is a dedicated cargo airport and seems to be an ideal hub for distribution in both the U.S. and Canadian markets. The airport management has put much effort during the past couple of years in promoting the location and in the meantime other carriers with freighter aircraft such as Emirates, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific and China Airlines, operate regular services there.
Joseph Nardone, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority which operates Rickenbacker, stated that: “By moving imports and exports through Rickenbacker, businesses can eliminate hours and costs from their supply chain, creating better efficiencies and higher profits.“ AirBridgeCargo moved more than 5,000 tons to and from Rickenbacker in 2018 and demand from clients has convinced them that a second weekly operation will also be a success.
ABC further announces the introduction of “abc premium,” a new product offering customers guaranteed capacity and prioritization on specific flights across the carri-er’s global network. “We expect ‘abc premium’ to attract high demand from custom-ers with urgent, time-sensitive shipments,” illustrates Fedor Novikov, Deputy Gen-eral Director, Products, of AirBridgeCargo Airlines. The new offering can be com-bined with ‘abc pharma’ or ‘abc XL’ to deliver the speed and quality clients require, the manager explains.
AF-KL-MP Cargo collaborate with SkyCell
SkyCell, the Swiss-based manufacturer of temperature-controlled containers for the transport of pharmaceuticals, has announced that they will expand their present collaboration with Air France, KLM, Martinair Cargo. They will now work on a global scale with the Franco-Dutch carrier with regards to the carriage of the carrier’s pharmaceutical shipments.
SkyCell apparently came out with top marks during a recent international audit. The audit which was for a twelve-month period showed that temperature excursions in SkyCell containers within that period only happened during 0.1 percent of the transports with their containers. Enrica Calonghi, Global Head of Pharmaceutical Logistics at AFKLMP Cargo stated: “Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo values of transparency, innovation and care match the values of SkyCell.” She added to this: “We are both committed to provide the highest quality standards to our clients in the most transparent and innovative way.”
Virgin Atlantic Cargo starts Sao Paulo operations
The UK-based airline, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has made it known that they will commence services to Sao Paulo from London Heathrow airport as of 2020. A daily B787 passenger aircraft will operate on the route and the destination will be Virgin Atlantic’s first destination in South America. This will give Virgin Atlantic Cargo customers a direct link into the subcontinent.
Virgin’s cargo managers see plenty of potential for cargo into and out of Sao Paulo which rates as being one of the top 20 global economic cities. High on the list are car parts, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. Virgin Cargo’s Managing Director, Dominic Kennedy notes that: “Sao Paulo is a fantastic route for our cargo customers, with high demand for both import and export capacity.” The carrier also recently announced a new service to Tel Aviv which is expected to start this September.
Rhenus starts networks in Canada and South Africa
The Rhenus Group has taken over the Canadian- based logistics solutions company Rodair which has its main office in Toronto. The acquisition which is still subject to regulatory approval is an important move for Rhenus to establish themselves in the Canadian market. Rodair has locations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver and caters mainly to customers from the fashion, retail, automotive, mining and pharmaceutical industries.
Rhenus has also announced the acquisition of the South African freight forwarding and logistics company, World Net Logistics (WNL). Headquartered in Johannesburg, WNL has a dense network of offices in South Africa as well as branches and partners in Asia and Germany. Here also, the takeover is subject to the relevant cartel authorities giving their green light.
John Mc Donagh