PART 2: Notes from the 32nd ULD CARE conference in Montréal, Canada
Who let the dogs out?
Back in the conference hall after breakfast, delegates were greeted by a number of furry friends and women in purple t-shirts. Johanne Tasse, Executive Director CAAQ introduced the YUL Pet Dog Squad – a service whereby volunteers take their dogs to the airport for a couple of hours, a few times a week, to give nervous passengers and stressed airport staff a chance to relax when petting the dog – their so-called “Fur Fix.” This initiative exists at 5 airports in Canada and a number in the U.S. already. All dogs are certified as people-friendly, and have their own airport passes and business cards – which have since become collector’s items.
With the delegates’ fur fix also sorted, next on the agenda was a panel discussion on how to get the ULD CARE message out, now that a number of new tools have been developed over the past 5 years, and with more to come. Panel experts discussed the merits of social media, videos and webinars, of cross-referencing, of involving the press, and of being brand ambassadors at every opportunity.
“Tied up in Recycling”
After the coffee-break, delegates were shown sobering images of pollution through plastics. Jos Jacobsen held an extensive presentation on the problems of one-time use of plastics in air logistics, and the problems faced by repairers of tangled nets being sent in that are in such a state that it is not economically viable to sort them, so they end up in incinerators or as landfill. He urged everyone to push for better housekeeping in the warehouse – to ensure that nets are properly bagged and reused as much as possible. He asked if everyone is really aware of how their GHA is operating in this respect and underlined that we are all responsible for making sure that we work towards a cleaner environment.
Almost 50 and still going strong!
ULD CARE’s core business – the IULDUG system – was discussed next with power users talking about the benefits, features and how these can be modified to a newer look and to keep up with technological advances. Newer users of the system were invited to a workshop being held at the end of the conference on Day Three – again a new addition to the conference structure and one that will be offered each time.
Excellence Through Technology
The amount of tech drivers on offer today is staggering! Delegates were shown the benefits of BLE (Bluetooth), IoT (Internet of Things), LPWAN, Blockchain, and finally a better ULD tracking solution than RFID. A video-interview with Air New Zealand demonstrated the real-life merits of BLE-tagging over the past 18 months of testing, whereby ULDs could be located down to a 20m range.
Ian Craig, CORE/Descartes, encouraged delegates to become early adopters because “early adopters get huge benefits,” since they shape the system for others. Joseph Jensen, Unilode, pointed out “BLE is not a fad – it’s going to be here for a very long time!” and “If you’re waiting out, you’re missing benefits.” Yet, the proposals for IoT, LPWAN and Blockchain were also highly convincing… So, which way to go? “The last innovation in Air Cargo was scanning the barcode! It’s going to take time to make a change…,” Joseph Jensen added. A breakout session followed where small groups discussed their impressions, and the evening ended with the official dinner at the 1909 tavern just down the road from the hotel, sponsored by Descartes/Core.