Amsterdam tests environment-friendly towage
Over the last few weeks, a group of companies active at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has been experimenting with Taxibot. This is a hybrid towing vehicle that, unlike the normal pushback trucks, is licensed to tow full aircraft to near the start of the runway, without the aircraft having to start its engines.
On top of that, the vehicle is operated by the aircraft pilot, not by a driver. The system is expected to reduce fuel consumption during taxiing by 50% to 85%. The Taxibot itself would allow for a fuel consumption reduction of about 95%. The difference is explained by the fact that aircraft motors will always need some warming up.
The partners in the program are Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Corendon Dutch Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Transavia, easyJet, and airline handlers dnata and KLM Ground Services. So far, no cargo companies are involved in the project. The project will be finalized by the end of this month and further evaluated at the end of 2020.
ACN supports the initiative.
CFG asked the umbrella organization Air Cargo Netherlands if they were indifferent to the way aircraft are towed from and to the runways. “Certainly not,” says the organization’s Managing Director Maarten van As. “We are developing a sustainability agenda for the cargo industry. Operating in a sustainable way will gain importance as a license-to-operate, also for the cargo sector.”
Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam
SAL’s Pharma Facility Launch at KFIA Cargo Village Dammam
14,000 tons of temperature-sensitive goods a year can now be handled at Saudi Arabian Logistics’ (SAL) new, state-of-the-art pharma facilities at the Dammam-based King Fahad International Airport’s Cargo Village.
Meeting the stringent standards laid out by World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union Good Distribution Practice (EU GDP) and Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), the new warehouses are equipped with quality temperature-control and risk-prevention safety systems. There are separate storage areas for goods requiring 15-25 °C, 2-8°C and various medical cargo needing temperatures below zero.
Originally 118m² in size, the extension now runs to an impressive 542m², and has gone into operation at a time when it is very much required, as Omar Hariri, SAL CEO, confirmed: “We usher in a new phase of advanced cargo handling services for pharma and medical equipment. We are creating the proper environment and developing the infrastructure needed for the current period, which has seen an increasing demand on pharma and medical equipment cargos during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The pharma handling facilities are the latest in the drive to network land, sea and air logistics within Saudi Arabia, as laid out in the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program. The country’s Vision 2030 is already seeing a great deal of transformation in the push towards international trade and electronic commerce.
Cainiao’s speed-of-light development plans
9 months are significant when it comes to new human life. For Cainiao Smart Logistics Network – the logistics arm of the Alibaba Group - it is an initiative time frame that will see its charter flights balloon from 260 now to 1,260 at the end of the 9 months. The aim? To reduce average international airfreight delivery time from 7-10 days to only 3-5 days, and – over the space of the next three years – to come to a delivery promise of 24-hours within China and 72 hours to circa 100 global destinations. It believes that 90% of international orders shipped from China will manage this timeframe.
More frequencies mean more warehouse space is required, and here, too, Cainiao has major plans, intending to double the floor space of its overseas warehouses to 2 million square meters. Cainiao deals with around 30 million import goods a day, and to this end, has also set up close partnerships with over 30 customs-clearance facilities.
Cainiao’s President, Wan Lin, speaking at the online industry summit, pointed out that “Today, logistics has become a game-changer and key differentiator that sets one business apart from another. Our investment to establish a global smart logistics network, including international shipping routes and warehousing facilities, will provide businesses with greater operational efficiency, cost savings, transparency and accuracy in their supply chain management.”
Gebrüder Weiss goes Down Under
“There are no kangaroos in Austria!” – but there are in Australia – and that is where Gebrüder Weiss will be kicking off its first ever Down Under subsidiaries in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as in Auckland, over in New Zealand on 01JUL20. Dealing with Air & Sea freight, the three locations are the latest addition to the company’s global strategy to expand its network in East Asia/Oceania. Just a couple of weeks ago, Gebrüder Weiss added Seoul, South Korea to its network, which – now with Australia and New Zealand numbers 35 locations in the region.
Michael Zankel, Regional Manager East Asia/Oceania at Gebrüder Weiss, explained the aim of the expansion: "As we enter the markets in Australia and New Zealand, we will focus primarily on import business from Asian, American, and European markets." It looks to offer Australian and New Zealand customers one-stop logistics solutions through its strong presence in each of the region's top trading partner countries, which includes China, the USA, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. It expects to ship business commodities such as vehicles and automotive parts, machines and electronic products, and goods from the food and chemical industries from the USA, Europe, and Southeast Asia to its newest Down Under locations.
"The important thing here is to establish compelling delivery chains in the future, based on our long-standing experience in the logistics market. In this context, we also make sure to tie in with fast-growing transport activities within Asia and create synergies when it comes to the efficient use of transport capacities," he added.
cargo-partner expands to service automotive industry
3,600 pallet slots have been added to cargo-partner’s warehouse at its 18,300m² iLogistics Center in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia, bringing the total up to 26,700. Why? Because the company is looking to make space for an automotives customer, whilst at the same time improving the efficiency of its warehouse operations. Tibor Majzún, Managing Director of cargo-partner in Slovakia, outlined the move: "Our latest investment in Dunajska Streda was motivated by our desire to enhance and expand our collaboration with a long-term automotive client. With the addition of more than 3,600 new pallet slots, we are glad to streamline our warehouse operations and continue our growth together with our valued customer. Based on years of experience in handling automotive, industrial spare parts and high-tech machinery as well as oversized goods and project cargo shipments, our team at the iLogistics Center provides a range of value added services, ensuring quality and care at every step of the supply chain."
The location of this, cargo-partner’s second iLogistics Center in Slovakia, is particularly attractive given its direct connection to the METRANS container terminal, linking it to major European seaports and to China via the New Silk Road. It is also one of cargo-partner’s most important European rail hubs. It will be delivering automotive components via this multimodal access to leading OEMs in several European countries, including Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Swissport halving UK workforce
Just weeks after the Swissport filed bankruptcies for some of its subsidiaries in Belgium, the next wave of bad news has hit. On Wednesday last week, UK Swissport staff received a memo from their UK Chief Executive, Jason Holt, announcing that up to 4,556 of Swissport’s 8,500 UK employees would be laid off. Currently around 6,000 are furloughed. He explained: "There is no escaping the fact that the industry is now smaller than it was and will remain so for some time to come. We must adapt by reducing the size of the workforce If we are going to survive as a company." Its revenues were down by 75% in MAY20.
Though, together with WFS, Dnata, and Menzies, Swissport UK has been lobbying the UK government for financial support for aviation, this has not been successful thus far. Since the government will be asking employers to contribute to the cost of its Job Retention Scheme from August onwards, job reductions starting now will go towards minimizing the costs in national insurance and pension schemes the company is having to pay its furloughed workers. The planned job reductions will most likely hit the UK’s regional airports hardest since these have been nigh on standstill these past few months. Almost all cargo is going through Heathrow at the moment. Prior to corona, Swissport was handling around 5,000 flights a week at UK airports. Currently it is servicing less than 10% of that and is thus looking to possibly withdraw altogether from Southampton and Aberdeen and reviewing operational strategies for Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Jersey, and Gatwick. Swissport’s move will have a significant negative knock-on effect on other jobs at the regional airports.
Neutral Air Partner and PayCargo collaborate
Hong Kong-based, global air cargo and aviation specialists’ network, Neutral Air Partner (NAP) has teamed up with PayCargo to further hold true to its claim of “connect[ing] every single piece of the global air cargo puzzle.” The latest collaboration looks to provide digital air freight payment & settlement solutions to its members which are based in 150 countries around the globe. PayCargo offers centralized visibility, a payment approval & tracking system, multiple payment options and 24/7 access.
“Digitalization in the payments and settlement process is essential for the future-ready air freight logistics provider. PayCargo platform will enable our members to improve cash collection, reduce manual effort and make the overall process more transparent and streamlined. It will also save them time and money when making payments, while improving operational efficiency and customer experience. Our long-term goal is to partner with PayCargo and to develop one global integrated netting system for our members” said Christos Spyrou, NAP CEO
“NAP’s commitment to innovate the SME air cargo logistics community and digitize the process of air cargo transportation for its members is impressive. We are delighted to be part of their modernization plan, by providing the group with digital payment solutions, and we are confident that working together with partner like these, will drive direct value to our global customer base.” Added Adriaan Reinders, CEO Europe at PayCargo.
Bellies are coming back slowly
The rate peaks are over. Cargo rates are coming back to more palatable levels (pardon the pun), and airlines are slowing starting to return to the skies with their passenger networks now. Delta announced last week that it would be resuming its passenger flights from Seattle and Detroit to Shanghai (via Seoul – operating A350s) in JUL20, making it the first of the U.S.-carriers to resume U.S.-China operations.
Qatar has largely ramped up its passenger services worldwide, adding Budapest, Dar es Salaam, Dhaka, Istanbul, and New York last week to existing daily flights to most key global destinations, and while airlines such as Air France who ran their final A380 flight last week, are ditching the expensive aircraft type, Emirates has announced that it will be deploying its A380s from 15JUL20 as passenger flights to London and Paris, and bellies for cargo. July sees an active ramp-up for the carrier’s passenger flights (operating Boeing 777-300ER) and thus their bellies, yet it is also continuing with plans to modify 10 of its Boeing 777-300ER to cargo-only aircraft. Seven of these “preighters” have already been completed, offering 17-ton capacities on upper deck and up to 50 tons on lower deck, and the other three are expected to be finished in a couple of weeks’ time. An unusual move, given the gradual return to a “new normal”. Or perhaps one with foresight, should there be a second crisis mirroring what happened in MAR20.
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