Luxembourg-based IT solutions provider CHAMP Cargosystems is developing technical means guaranteeing users full visibility of air freight along the entire supply chain. Core piece of the
future scheme is the constant data flow during flights from the items stowed on board an aircraft to their contractors, be it forwarders or shippers.
We spoke with Nicholas Xenocostas, VP Commercial & Customer Engagement at CHAMP about the status of this project.
Mr Xenocostas, CHAMP announced introducing solutions guaranteeing constant online connectivity of items flown in the holds of pax aircraft, making them visible throughout the entire
This is the plan. What’s the reality?
NX: CHAMP’s vision is to have cargo connected continuously and connected bi-directionally: receiving and transmitting. We believe this will open new service possibilities for the industry. For example, CHAMP has been working with its partners on health monitoring of animals being transported including during the flight phase. The initial application that CHAMP is creating a Proof of Concept (POC) for is to monitor the vital signs of horses allowing on-board grooms to be notified of any anomalies. As the aircraft become “connected”, then this information will also be sent to the various stakeholders on the ground. Such advanced technology can be used as well in monitoring ULDs transporting Pharma and perishables. This will only become more ubiquitous in the future.
Does CHAMP’s program to enable total connectivity also include main decks of freighters or is it limited to pax a/c for the time being?
NX: The discussions taking place involve both full freighters and passenger aircraft. The latter one will probably be the first ones to offer the service by extending the infrastructure already in place for the passenger cabin
How much would users have to pay for constant data transparency during flights?
NX: There are various commercial models towards pricing for this. Ultimately, the stakeholders paying for the services will require some granularity to link the cost on a per monitored shipment basis, as it’s related to overall cost base for that particular shipment. Currently, we do have a partner airline that is looking into the costing for their freighter fleet.
What’s the timeline for getting the system going?
NX: We would expect that in the next 2 years, if not earlier, “cargo connectivity” will become an extension of the well-established passenger WiFi services.
Any specific carrier on the hook becoming CHAMP’s WiFi Guinea pig?
NX: We are speaking to a few customers of ours in terms of getting a POC up and running. Once we have progressed further, we would be able to share the news. We aim to have the POC done by the end of the year or early 2020.
Please give our users a hint which other major projects are waiting in CHAMP’s drawer.
NX: We are seeing key technological advances reaching a level of maturity that can now act as a springboard for some exciting new products in our industry. The complexities of these technologies mean these developments require collaboration among the various stakeholders, and also require players in the industry that can integrate such technology in our processes. In this respect, CHAMP is very proud that in the last 6 months CHAMP, in partnership with technology providers, has either won or been a finalist in a number of Industry Innovation awards. In keeping up with our current customers, we have created and implemented the CHAMP Academy which gives CHAMP users the tools needed to become experts in using CHAMP products. This ensures our customers are up to date with the latest product functionalities.
Furthermore, over the last period CHAMP has launched new products such as:
- DataChecker (validates the content of messages to ensure they are compliant with the recipient air cargo applications)
- EmissionsCalculator (calculates the emissions on shipments)
- Cargospot Quotes (allows sales agents to manage quotes and the approval process to drive up the quote acceptance ratios)
- FREIGHT.AERO (multi-airline booking portal) Traxon Global Security (managing the pre-load advance cargo information for Canada and USA).
Looks like an ambitions program. It seems, there is no shortage of objectives.
NX: This I can definitely confirm.
Thank you for your time and contribution.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund