Sara Van Gelder swops BAC’s cargo team for Nallian
Right after Steven Polmans, another member of Brussels Airport Company’s cargo team, Sara Van Gelder, is leaving. As from August, she will join the data sharing platform, Nallian. It was not an easy decision to make, says Ms van Gelder. “After 4 years of working for the cargo team at Brussels Airport Company, the best cargo team in the world, I’m changing my course. I will stay in the industry and, more importantly, I will take the next step in working on something that became my personal mission: digitization and innovation in the air cargo industry. I believe that at Nallian I can have the broadest possible impact in bringing what we started with BRUcloud to as many airport cargo communities as possible around the globe.”
At BAC, Ms Van Gelder was specifically involved in the implementation of BRUcloud, which she calls ‘her baby’. “And yes, I will miss the Brussels Airport Cargo team and the Air Cargo Belgium team working on BRUcloud,” she says.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
Hi Fly goes Big Fly with world’s first A380 Preighter
Instead of 471 passengers, Hi Fly’s “Save the coral reefs”-livery, registration 9H-MIP A380, which it bought second-hand from Singapore Airlines back in JUL18, now offers "more than 300 m3 of volume and nearly 60 tons of cargo" on all its three levels. The Portuguese leasing company stripped the A380 of its economy class seats and announced on 07JUL20, that the aircraft was now available for wet lease. Though not confirmed by Lufthansa Technik itself, various media report that Hi Fly was the mystery operator last May that commissioned Lufthansa Technik to carry out the temporary conversion.
Reason for the conversion, according to Hi Fly, was the increase in demand for freight capacity to transport medical equipment during the corona crisis. It posted on LinkedIn a month ago: “Another unique operation for our A380 “Save the Coral Reefs”, that performed a 12h50m flight between Tianjin, China, and Montreal, Canada, carrying 46 tons of protective and medical equipment to fight the global Covid-19 virus outbreak.” One of a number of international flights that it has carried out since the start of the pandemic, including various repatriation flights between Wuhan and France, for example. With the company’s recent announcement of the A380 completed conversion on LinkedIn, one follower wrote “A little late to the party?”, whilst another wrote “Doesn’t make any sense nor cents”, pointing to the increased loading time compared to a normal freighter.
Fact is, it is currently the only A380 converted freighter on the market right now, and one of only 6 A380 (the only one outside Asia) actually still active. That said, Emirates is planning to reinstate a few of its A380s from 15JUL20 on. Whether it will remain the only A380 preighter in operation, remains to be seen.
Disinfecting Cleaner Bot – the future of warehouse cleaning?
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), together with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), recently designed a robot capable of autonomously navigating through a warehouse, powerfully disinfecting surfaces and neutralizing aerosolized forms of the COVID-19 virus.
Within the space of just 4 weeks, MIT’s CSAIL team came up with a custom UV-C light fixture that was then integrated with an Ava Robotics’ mobile robot base. UV-C light is known to be effective at killing viruses and bacteria on surfaces and aerosols yet is not safe for humans to be exposed to. The robot requires no direct human supervision, and can navigate spaces according to pre-defined waypoints in its map, delivering just the right dose of short-wavelength UV-C light to kill any microorganisms using a process known as “ultraviolet germicidal irradiation” which is also used to sterilize rooms in hospitals and medical settings.
Travelling at a speed of circa 0.22 miles (0.35 km) per hour, the robot was able to cover a 1,220m² space in GBFB’s warehouse in just half an hour, neutralizing around 90% of any surface viruses. Its creators are currently working on teaching it to adapt to ever-changing surface spaces, adjusting its speed, journey, and dosages as required. The next step is getting it to work within a team of UV-C bots.
“We are excited to see the UV-C disinfecting robot support our community in this time of need,” CSAIL director and project lead Daniela Rus, said. “The insights we received from the work at GBFB has highlighted several algorithmic challenges. We plan to tackle these in order to extend the scope of autonomous UV disinfection in complex spaces, including dorms, schools, airplanes, and grocery stores.” Ava Robotics CEO Youssef Saleh concurred: “The opportunity for robots to solve workplace challenges is bigger than ever and collaborating with MIT to make an impact at the food bank has been a great experience."
Jan de Rijk backs Trucking CDM Platform
The Trucking CDM platform provides transparency, predictability, and a slot allocation planning mechanism between truckers and handlers. Netherlands-based Jan de Rijk is one of the main RFS providers with a total fleet of over 1,000 vehicles in use every day. The company serves all main hubs as well as some minor ones.
Stefan Pieters, Manager Operations and Development, states: "Our biggest challenge boils down to the waiting hours at cargo handling facilities. Often there is no contractual relationship between the trucker and the handler; both parties operate on behalf of the airline, but are not directly connected." He laments that this is very frustrating and ties up vehicles, incurring additional costs and at the same time causing more emissions. "If we could share data about when the freight is available, and the status of the vehicle combined with shipment information, we would be able to communicate much better with the handler by sharing this data with all parties involved."
The Trucking CDM platform allows data sharing between the involved stakeholders, concerning truck movements. JdR currently shares all of its European traffic data from and towards AMS. The idea of a CDM platform was born almost 5 years ago with data-sharing allowing all parties to access and use real-time information. Data-sharing is the only way forward when it comes to removing congestion at airports. "It will help us to fully integrate our systems, as opposed to the several single systems that we have today. The trucking CDM platform could be the basis for this," Mr. Pieters states. The electronic tool was developed by CargoHub BV, based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
New CCO at Volga-Dnepr Group
Konstantin Vekshin who originally joined the Volga-Dnepr Group in 1997 as a sales executive, has now been appointed as its Chief Commercial Officer. In his new function, he will be responsible for implementing the Group’s marketing and sales strategies, as well as centralizing and digitalizing its sales teams. The Group includes all-cargo airlines: Volga-Dnepr Airlines, AirBridgeCargo and e-commerce-focused ATRAN.
His career has brought him a great deal of industry experience, having held positions at Bertling Logistics as Vice-President of Air Freight Charters and Centurion Cargo Airlines, where he was formerly Vice-President, Charter & Government division. From OCT16, he was back at Volga-Dnepr Group, this time as Managing Director of CargoLogicManagement, followed by becoming Executive President, Charter Cargo Operations (CCO) for Volga-Dnepr Airlines in AUG18.
Commenting on the appointment, Group shareholder, Mr. Alexey Isaykin, said: “It is through our Group’s joint successes that our company is in a good state of ‘health’ whilst continuing to solve our clients’ objectives during these challenging times. Konstantin has exceptional experience and unique knowledge, which is appreciated not only by the Volga-Dnepr Group, but throughout the air cargo industry.”
Perishables are now a thing over at Neutral Air Partner
Hong Kong-based Neutral Air Partner (NAP) has, in collaboration with UK-based Peter Shepherd Consultancy, recently launched “Perishable Logistics Network” (PLN), which aims at supporting professional SMEs in offering competitive rates and services when it comes to fresh perishable and cool chain logistics. PLN offers a fresh logistics network combined with innovative digital tools. Peter Shepherd has been appointed CEO of PLN, bringing 50 years of global freight and sales experience, having previously been at AMI Air Menzies International, amongst other companies. He states: “We are very delighted to announce the launch of PLN. Its membership will be comprised of local and independent perishable logistics specialists, committed to delivering global fresh & temperature-control supply chain solutions with no boundaries. We are offering networking skills, professionalism and expertise which will be unique within the perishable logistics sector. We are looking to expand SME’s opportunities worldwide under the NAP umbrella, and the large range of benefits Neutral Air Partner network has to offer.”
Christos Spyrou, CEO of NAP, added: “Perishable and cold chain logistics are essential for the growth and sustainability of the air cargo industry and the logistics sector. Being one of the leading air cargo networks with 250 local airfreight heroes in 150 countries, we were looking at the right timing and opportunity to get involved in the fresh & perishable logistics field, and we are very excited with this new partnership.”
Amazon Air going green in the next 20 years
On 08JUL20, Amazon Global Air’s Vice President, Sarah Rhoads, published a video announcing that the company had “secured up to six million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which has the power to reduce carbon emissions by up to 20%. We’re about to trial something that could really change the future of Amazon Air, and hopefully our planet.” Given Amazon’s steadily increasing greenhouse gas emissions (Its 2019 sustainability report shows an increase of 15% from 2018), and the exploding growth in eCommerce, this step is both necessary, yet also challenging.
As part of the group’s Climate Pledge made by Jeff Bezos in SEP19, to become carbon neutral by 2040 (10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement), Amazon Global Air trialed a sustainable fuel supplied by Shell Aviation and produced by World Energy on two flight earlier this year ex Washington, to Arizona and Connecticut. The SAF, made of renewable sources including agricultural waste fats and oils, is said to reduce carbon emissions by up to 22%. Amazon Global Air has now entered into a 12-month deal with the providers, prioritizing SAF in its air cargo operations. "Development of more efficient air cargo solutions is critical to achieving our goal of net-zero carbon across Amazon by 2040," said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air. "We're already reducing carbon across our air network, from our ground operations—where we were the first to use electric main deck loaders in North America—to our fleet and network design. Using sustainable aviation fuel is a natural next step, and one that calls for continued action. We encourage other companies to join us in the effort to engage with suppliers to create more fuel alternatives."
dnata donates cargo handling equipment to IHC
Dubai is home to the International Humanitarian City (IHC), which was founded in 2003 and claims to be the largest humanitarian hub in the world, and sees its role as a global crisis responder, able to reach two-thirds of the world’s population from its strategic location. 85% of the WHO medical and PPE supplies in the fight against COVID-19 have so far been handled by IHC. In order to aid cargo movements at IHC’s Dubai warehouses, local air service provider, dnata, recently donated a cargo towing tractor and two 10ft pallet trollies to the IHC.
Steve Allen, Divisional Senior Vice President, UAE Airport Operations and Travel, dnata, said: "We are delighted to contribute to the International Humanitarian City's global relief efforts amid these challenging times. We hope that our donation will help IHC and its partners deliver on their goals and make a positive difference to the lives of those in need. With our dedicated global team, we stay committed to taking meaningful initiatives to support the communities around us."
Giuseppe Saba, CEO of the International Humanitarian City, said: "The International Humanitarian City is grateful for dnata's handling equipment donation. They will be instrumental for moving humanitarian aid within our warehouse compound. The donated equipment will complement our brand-new kitting centre, which enables the front-line World Health Organization in combatting the COVID-19 in consolidating medical kits. Other organisations will benefit in preparing personalised kits in response to humanitarian crises around the world. We welcome dnata's donation and we appreciate such generosity on behalf of the humanitarian community."
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