Air Astana adds Cargo Division with converted B767-300 aircraft
Having turned 18 just a couple of weeks ago, and run specially modified B767-300 flights recently to transport medical equipment and supplies to destinations across Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Europe, Air Astana announced last week that it plans to launch an international air cargo division operating a fleet of three converted Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The first of those aircraft is already undergoing conversion into semi-cargo configuration at Air Astana's technical center in Almaty, which includes the removal of all seats and other passenger amenities and will enable payloads of up to 32 tons. The second plane is due for conversion in July, and it is currently open as to when the third will start operations.
- Is Air Astana Cargo a long-term project or will the aircraft be transformed back to passenger jets once demand increases again?
ZS: It is likely to stay as cargo for at least 2 years.
- Which routes exactly will Air Astana Cargo serve?
ZS: Primarily Southern China, Almaty, and Europe
- Do you plan to add any European destinations to the network? And if so, which cities are you looking at?
ZS: We have already operated charters to Warsaw and expect to operate other flights to Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, the primary destinations in Europe are likely to be Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and London.
- Will the Air Astana Cargo aircraft be available for charters?
ZS: Yes. That is what they are presently doing.
- Is Air Astana Cargo considering buying any pure air cargo aircraft? And if so, which type of aircraft are you looking at?
ZS: No. We think the three 767s will be sufficient.
“Once new division start operations with the converted semi-cargo Boeing 767 aircraft, Air Astana will be able to considerably increase the volume of transported goods and offer customers more flexible conditions.”
28MAY20 – An historic date in Aviation: the eCaravan takes off
Whilst most of the world’s aircraft are still on the ground, with some airlines preparing to take to the skies again gradually in the coming weeks, last Thursday saw an Aviation First: the world’s largest all-electric aircraft had its first flight. The so-called eCaravan is a Cessna Grand Caravan plane that electric-motor company, magniX, has retrofitted with a 750-horsepower electric engine. It is 37 feet long, has a cruising speed of 114 mph and a range of 100 miles. The 30-minute test flight in collaboration with airplane testing, engineering, and certification company, AeroTEC, took place on the morning of 28MAY20 at Moses Lake in central Washington state.
Speaking to Geekwire after the test-flight, magniX’ CEO, Roei Ganzarski explained: “Choosing the Cessna Grand Caravan was very intentional. It was, ‘Let’s find the aircraft that everyone in the world knows, uses and lives, and let’s give it a new lease on life.’ Let’s make it electric. Let’s make it the Tesla of the air, if you will.” He went on to say that “Electric airplanes will be 40%-70% lower cost to operate per flight hour. That means operators will be able to fly more planes into smaller airports, meaning a shorter and door-to-door experience, with no harmful CO2 emissions,” and predicts that all flights of less than 1,000 miles will completely electric by around 2035. However, battery energy density still requires a great deal of work: “Now that the first commercial aircraft has flown all-electric, battery companies are starting to work more diligently on aerospace-ready battery solutions.”
He hopes that the plane which can seat 9 passengers in addition to the pilot, will enter commercial service by the end of 2021.
South African cargo initiative to secure logistics
South Africa officially declared a national State of Disaster on 15MAR20 following the start of the corona pandemic, and the country moved into strict lockdown regulations on 26MAR20. A State of Disaster lasts for 3 months (unless terminated earlier by the Minister). The country, along with the current collapse of its national airline, and the grounding of most other airlines normally servicing its destinations, is suffering severe problems in keeping supply chains running. This has given rise to an initiative called “Operation WarHorse” with its aim to “restore and stabilize the Supply Chain to South Africa and the Region”. Driven by tvg&associates, an independent coordinating company based in Gauteng, Johannesburg, it has the backing of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders SAAFF and organizations such as SAEPA (South African Express Parcel Association), B4SA (Business for South Africa), and BUSA (Business Unity South Africa) as well as companies including Bidvest International Logistics, CFR, BidAir and Savino Del Bene to name but a few.
Fred du Plessis, Operations Manager for WarHorse explains: “The WarHorse team will procure charter aircraft including the payment of the costs and then rebill back to the agents on a cost basis dependent on percentage utilization where required. Each agent will be responsible for their own billing to their clients in the same manner that is currently followed when utilizing commercial airlines. The cargo sanitization will follow the current standards and requirements of government regulation and is under the control of the airline handling agent in South Africa.” TVG’s Teresita van Gaalen says the next flight is scheduled for 05JUN20.
Savino Del Bene’s CEO, Kobus Maree, underlines that, in a situation where South Africa is competing with the rest of the world for urgently needed products: “It is crucial that we ease the way for importers to get the cargo to South Africa in a timely and cost-effective way. WarHorse is a project able to instantly put aside suspicions between competitors in the freight forwarding industry and grasp the opportunity to help reignite the economy while bringing benefits to people on the ground, especially when it comes to urgently needed personal protective equipment and medical supplies.”
cargo-partner opens new locations in Benelux
In addition to its existing locations the Netherlands (Rotterdam – the location of its "Project Cargo Competence Center", specialized in the transport of extra-large and heavy cargo, Amsterdam, Roermond) since 2006 and Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp, Liège) since 2007, cargo-partner has now added two new locations over the past two months: a new warehouse and office space in Roermond, Netherlands, and a Sales and Customer Service office at Liège Airport, Belgium, chosen because of the ongoing, strong volume growth the airport has seen in recent years, and its freighter-friendly service offer which has led to a number of pharmaceutical and automotive industry moving to the region.
Over in Roermond, the office will oversee cargo-partner’s national and international overland shipments, and from JUN20, the new 7,000 m² warehouse which includes a cross-docking area, 8 truck docks and DGR storage functionalities, will act as a regional consolidation center. Commenting on the expansion, Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, said: "The positive business developments of our branches in the Benelux countries led to the decision to expand our network in this dynamic region with its important hubs. We are certain that the outstanding work of our local colleagues will add tremendous value and enhance the service quality of our entire company."
Gebrüder Weiss opens 33rd office in Asia
01JUN20 saw the opening of the latest addition to Gebrüder Weiss’ Asian Air & Sea network – this time in Seoul, South Korea. Chosen for its high-tech focus with many of the world’s best-known high-tech companies located there, the logistics company is also attracted to the excellent demand in both export and import businesses. European customers are keen to develop South Korean business relationships, and Gebrüder Weiss has spent quite some time setting up a South Korean solution. Despite the current challenging corona circumstances, preparation continued as planned and the project completed on time. 15 Air & Sea experts are based at the new Seoul office, focused on establishing customized transport and logistics solutions for clients.
Michael Zankel, Regional Manager East Asia at Gebrüder Weiss, stated: “Our goal is to grow with our customers and to apply uniform standards in our work around the globe. Within Asia, but also with a view to our global supply chains, South Korea is an important component in this respect.”
Gebrüder Weiss has been actively pursuing its various 2020 plans, having recently introduced the latest in its digital strategy – the launch of its ETA function (Estimated Time of Arrival) which proactively and continuously calculates a shipment’s ETA, to provide the customer with real-time information. At the start of MAY20, the company’s 5th solar power plant was put into operation, in line with its environmental strategy.
Expeditors acquires Fleet Logistics’ Digital Platform
On 26MAY20, Expeditors International officially announced that it had acquired Fleet Logistics’ Digital Platform in a move to further solidify its lead position in supply chain technology. Fleet is a digital freight forwarding platform offering end-to-end international freight shipping services. On a single platform, importers, exports and other freight transportation customers can connect with freight service providers in air, sea and road, as well as customs brokers and LTL carriers, and get instant rates, bookings, manage their shipments and delivery information. Max Lock, who founded Fleet back in 2014 and is its CEO, has spent the past 18 months working together with Expeditors on the move to integrate Fleet to Expeditor’s online LTL shipping platform, Koho (gokoho.com) of which he has now become director: “I am delighted to join Expeditors and lead Koho so that we can bring further transparency and savings to the less-than-truckload market for small and medium-sized shippers,” he said. “Combining Expeditors’ world-class systems and service standards with Fleet’s digital platform will help Expeditors further extend its capabilities.” Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“As we have said, we will continue to invest in technology and people,” said Jeffrey Musser, President and CEO. “This acquisition extends the services within our Digital Solutions division and evidences our commitment to making investments in our business. We are also excited to extend our system capabilities and welcome new talent.”
Benjamin Clark, Chief Strategy Officer, added, “This investment supports Expeditors’ online shipping platform Koho (gokoho.com), which helps small shippers quote, book, manage and track their LTL shipments online. Through our Koho pilot, working closely with Fleet, we were able to demonstrate our ability to meet an unmet need. Koho is the first idea to successfully navigate all stages of our innovation framework – from seed through to scale – and represents the culmination of our efforts to create our innovation team and framework.”
Hellmann selects CargoWise as its integrated logistsics solution
27MAY20: Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has decided to implement WiseTech Global’s integrated single-platform logistics solution, CargoWise, in its move to enhance processes within its Air and Sea freight operations across the global Hellmann network. CargoWise will first be piloted and then implemented in 42 countries, amongst them the US, Australia, Germany, the UK, India, South Korea, South Africa and Hong Kong. Standardizing systems and databases, working to a more efficient resource usage across the entire supply chain and integrating CargoWise with Hellmann’s customer facing solutions will further improve the customer experience, enabling automated and transparent information exchange with clients around the globe.
CargoWise is licensed across circa 150 countries and supports logistics service providers in executing highly complex transactions in freight forwarding, customs clearance, warehousing, shipping, tracking, land transport, e-commerce, and cross-border compliance. Operations can be managed using a single database across multiple users, functions, countries, languages, and currencies..
“Transcending the challenges in global logistics sustainably and further developing the service quality for our customers, requires a global integrated platform that can provide end-to-end logistics execution. Essential to our decision was uncompromising delivery of real-time and accurate data visibility, a high degree of automation and a strong compliance and risk mitigation. Another argument in favor of CargoWise was the ability to integrate with existing systems”, said Reiner Heiken, Chief Executive Officer of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. “We are passionate about providing our people with a stimulating and empowering working environment. With the global rollout of CargoWise, we will enable our staff to deliver their full potential and add further value to our customers.”
WiseTech Global Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Richard White, said: “We are pleased that Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has chosen CargoWise as their freight forwarding solution for their Air and Sea freight operations globally. CargoWise will provide Hellmann with a highly scalable platform that will not only improve compliance, safety, and visibility, but also enable invaluable improvements to productivity across their global supply chain ecosystem.”
Mexican Mangos on the move thanks to Dachser Mexico
Edgardo Hamon, Managing Director Dachser Air & Sea Logistics México explains: “Given the recent disruptions to ocean and air freight operations worldwide, Dachser México’s air cargo services provide reassurance to Mexican exporters that their produce will get to their intended European destinations without issue. With Dachser behind each air shipment, our customers will get the expertise they require as well as dependability in every area along the supply chain." Dachser Mexico has kept up an interrupted weekly flow of mangoes to five key destinations in Europe: Frankfurt (FRA),Germany, Paris (CDG), France, Madrid (MAD), Spain, Amsterdam (AMS), Netherlands, and London (LHR), in the United Kingdom, in its weekly air cargo schedule, from where shipments can connect with its European logistics network which includes a door-to-door delivery of mango produce shipments.. A message that is especially relevant for Mexico’s mango transporters during the mango season that runs from March to September. Europe accounts for 28% of all mango imports, in a market that has seen an annual 5% growth over the past decade. Reliable transport is key in ensuring that the fruit arrives just in time to be fresh enough to sell in the local supermarkets.
Mr Hamon continued: “Our overarching goal is to provide our customers with solutions to logistical challenges. Mexican mango exporters are seeking reliable alternatives to ocean freight transport that will ensure consistent high-quality standards that protect the freshness and integrity of their produce supply. With our weekly air cargo services schedule, Dachser México can ensure quick and reliable shipments to Europe throughout the busy spring and summer season, which is critical for exporters of perishable products, such as mangoes.”
Aeromexico completes longest flight in Mexican Aviation History
Aeromexico experienced a couple of firsts last week: On 24MAY20, it flew from Mexico City to Shenzhen, China for the first time ever in its 86-year history – a journey of 14,000 km, operated using a B787 – which, incidentally, is also the country’s largest wide-body aircraft type. Though this was the longest distance in a single journey, the outbound was not a non-stop flight, as the plane touched down in Narita, Japan for a technical stop-over. The return flight on 25MAY20, however, made it into the history books are the longest non-stop flight not only in Aeromexico’s history, but also in the entire history of Mexican aviation. Early on 26MAY20, the plane landed back in Mexico City bearing a load of medical supplies, and the honor of being the first flight from Shenzhen to a direct connection in Latin America.
It was the first of a number of planned flights to Shenzhen. Aeromexico has already transported medical supplies to 14 countries during the pandemic, on board of 100 pure cargo operations to Shanghai – in total over 1,400 tons of cargo during 3,600 of flight hours.
Commenting on the situation, Grupo Aeromexico’s CEO, Andres Conesa, said: "We are in the most difficult crisis the airline industry has ever experienced, but in adversity there are also opportunities. I want to thank flight attendants, pilots, cargo technicians, maintenance, airports, ground support, training, administrative, and management teams for their support and commitment to continue flying and protect the wings of our Caballero Aguila. […] I also want to thank the Mexican Government, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, airport authorities and all Chinese partners, as well as private companies for giving us their trust and support to transport these important supplies and continue writing new stories for Mexico."
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