IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Unilode gets large Korean Air contract
Zurich-based Unilode Aviation Solutions a leading supplier of outsourced ULD management and repair solutions, has announced that Korean Air has awarded them the management of their entire fleet of 16,000 containers and pallets.
This is an important breakthrough for Unilode as it now manages one of the largest ULD stocks worldwide. Unilode will set up a new regional ULD management office at Seoul Incheon Airport and also completely take over Korean Air’s existing ULD maintenance and repair facility there as well. Part of the deal is to also manage Korean Air’s cool containers and horse stalls as well as controlling the supply of pallet accessories within Korean Air’s global network.
The AKE containers and pallets will be supplied from Unilode’s global ULD pool. Commenting on the new deal, Mr Samsug Noh, Korean Air Senior Vice President Head of Cargo Business Division stated: “one of the main drivers in Korean Air’s decision to outsource the management of its entire ULD operations was to be able to reduce ULD imbalances in Korean Air’s global network of more than 100 destinations.”
Italy - China multimodal rail link being planned
Russia’s Eurasian Rail Alliance, Italy’s Interporto Quadrante Europa (Verona) and the German Port of Rostock have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a new rail link between Italy and China.
The idea is to forward freight containers from Verona to Rostock, where they then will be shipped by sea to the Russian port of Kaliningrad and thereafter by rail to destinations in China. The trio have chosen Kaliningrad due to it being able to process anywhere up to eight full train loads per day to destinations in China. They further claim that this route will ensure that shorter delivery times will be on offer. In 2018 the port transported almost 300,000 TEUs on container trains between China and Europe, routing them over Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Cargolux adds SCL to their network
Luxembourg’s all cargo carrier, Cargolux has added another destination in South America to their network. Well, actually not so new! Santiago de Chile was served by the carrier in the past, but services were put on ice some time ago. Now, CV has reinstated a weekly stop in SCL with the freighter routing from Luxembourg - Viracopos - Santiago de Chile - Quito - Bogota - Aguadilla and back to LUX via a stop in Amsterdam.
The decision for the reinstatement of SCL into the network was made due to the increasing flow of goods from Europe into the Chilean marketplace. The demand for European originating pharma, building materials, electronics and machine parts has increased considerably, the carrier states.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo to increase belly capacity
Virgin Atlantic has decided to invest around US$4.1 billion in transforming their fleet over the coming ten years. This is good news for Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s managers who will benefit from added belly capacity on many routes. The added capacity will be supplied by the new fleet of Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, of which Virgin has now ordered fourteen aircraft and a further six on option.
The new Airbus fleet will gradually replace the older A330 aircraft, have a far better fuel burn and offer more belly cargo space over longer distances than the present aircraft Virgin have in service. Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s Managing Director, Dominic Kennedy, commented by stating that “we expect the A330-900neos to be another fantastic aircraft for cargo and will support our projected growth in the years ahead.”
ABC partners with SkyCell
Moscow-based AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has made a deal with Zurich-based cold-chain ULD manufacturer, SkyCell whereby the carrier will lease various types of SkyCell containers for the transport of pharmaceutical products on ABC’s wide-ranging network.
ABC has seen a huge increase in demand for space to carry pharma products over their network. The airline carried a total of 3,500 tonnes of pharma related cargo during the first quarter of this year. SkyCell offers various sized containers which are capable of keeping temperatures inside at between +2 to +8 degrees Celsius. SkyCell concentrates solely in designing and producing containers for temperature-sensitive products.
AFKLMP Cargo on the FlowerWatch
The Franco-Dutch carrier was present at this year’s International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya. It was at the Expo that AFKLMP Cargo received the FlowerWatch accreditation for flowers they transport between Nairobi and Amsterdam. In a statement issued last week they said that they are the first airline to have been given the FlowerWatch accreditation.
The FlowerWatch has been developed as a fail-safe Quality Assurance system which does not just identify problems or challenges in the cold chain but also helps to permanently correct them. AFKLMP state that the central concept of FlowerWatch is time temperature exposure which they measure in so called ‘degree hours.’ In other words: the average temperature of fresh flowers during transportation multiplied by the number of hours flown. The aim is to minimize the actual number of degree hours as much as possible.
ASL goes for more B737-800Fs
Dublin-based ASL Aviation is reported to be closing a deal with Boeing for the delivery of up to twenty B737-800BCF freighters. The P2F conversions are becoming very popular with express operators and feeder services due to their higher payload and more fuel-efficient engines.
ASL Aviation already has two of the type in service and sees this aircraft as being their European backbone for short and middle freight sectors in the near future. The agreement with Boeing is presently for ten firm orders plus a further ten options. Boeing already has a sizable order book for the B737-800 conversion, with between 120-130 orders or options on hand.
Qatar Airways Cargo to increase B777F fleet
Doha-headquartered Qatar Airways Cargo made news at this year’s Paris Air Show by ordering a further five Boeing 777 freighters. The carrier has recently opened three new transpacific freighter routes and needs more all-cargo capacity in the near future. The five new aircraft will join Qatar Cargo’s present fleet of fifteen B777Fs.
With its 102-ton payload, longer range and lower handling costs, the two engined B777F is a valuable asset to carriers operating them, reducing costs considerably and being in a position to operate ultra-long routes non-stop. QR Cargo reported a ten percent rise in volumes during 2018 and has opened new cargo routes during the past months.
BE-GATE authorization given to LCA
The Liege Cargo Agency (LCA) has been granted BE-GATE authorization for their activities in the Belgian Walloon region - specifically at Liege Airport.
BE-GATE is an administrative system developed by the Belgian FPS Finance, Customs and Excise department for the handling of e-commerce shipments. It offers secure electronic connections between the e-commerce operator and customs and is adapted for the processing of large data flows.
The BE-GATE system is also designed to improve communication between all parties to speed up transactions, as well as giving better customs control. The Liege Cargo Agency has increased their number of employees from 7 to 34 during the past twelve months
John Mc Donagh