Menzies Aviation benefits from Unilode’s digital ULD readers
Both companies have inked a deal, aimed at providing all Menzies’ facilities worldwide with Unilode’s Bluetooth® ULD readers. Once accomplished, this will enhance the visibility in the aviation supply chain, stated the Zurich-based provider of loading equipment. According to Unilode, their Bluetooth® tag is able to transmit data on the geolocation of the aviation containers and pallets, in addition to providing other relevant information on cargo shipments, including monitoring temperature, humidity, shock, light and pressure. The infrastructure relies on a network of Bluetooth® readers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Robert Fordree, Menzies Aviation Executive Vice President of Cargo, said: "This new partnership between Menzies Aviation and Unilode will bring additional benefits to all our customers as they will be able to monitor the location and control the condition of their shipments in the aviation supply chain. The digital readers will be installed at all Menzies warehouses and ramp locations, where several thousand ULDs are handled on a daily basis on behalf of Unilode's ULD management customers.”
Unilode CEO Benoît Dumont spoke of an important step towards expanding his company’s global reader infrastructure within cargo terminals at main airports. “We are in the final stages of rolling out our new in-house developed and custom-built IT platform called FAST, which will enable quick and reliable data processing and provide our customers with easy access to the tracking information supplied by our digital ULDs. We are pleased with the significant progress of Unilode's strategic digital transformation program and the partnerships created with key aviation supply chain companies for the benefit of all our customers."
Kerry Logistics ups profit
The Hong Kong-based company reports an increase in operations and profits for 1H 2020, despite widespread lockdowns causing a drastic drop in demand in a large number of non-essential products and thus affected the global manufacturing market coupled with political protests paralyzing part of the city. Despite these rather unfavorable external circumstances the Group’s revenues increased by 10% y-o-y to HK 21,885 mn. Core operating profit went up 12% to HK$1,489 mn and core net profit jumped by 26 percent from 1 January to 30 June reaching HK$845 million. The logistics company’s International Freight Forwarding (‘IFF’) business recorded HK$403 million, an increase of 40% year-on-year while the Integrated Logistics division (‘IL’) recorded a segment profit of HK$1,139 million, down 2% compared to 1H 2019.
William Ma, Group Managing Director of Kerry Logistics Network, said, “The COVID-19 outbreak has brought a monumental change to the fundamentals of life, from how we live and work to how we produce and consume.
The Group’s 26% growth in core net profit under tremendous difficulties is a testament to our flat corporate structure and the skills and talents of our frontline staff. Their dedication has made it possible for us to maintain a 24/7 service in our 150 international gateways despite global lockdowns and restrictions.”
Kazan Airport on way to becoming transit hub for cargo
Kazan International, located in Russia’s autonomous Volga Republic of Tatarstan, is on its way to developed into a transit hub for cargo operators conduction charter flights or serving line-haul routes between Europe and Central Asia as well as the Far East. In 1H 2020, 118 freighters operated to/from KZN, which is a “remarkable number compared to the same period in the year before, evidencing the growing importance of the airport as transcontinental cargo hub,” states Tatarstan’s Ministry of Transport in a press release.
Main carriers are Volga-Dnepr and its two line-haul sisters AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and Atran Airlines, accounting for the lion’s share of the traffic.
They are part of a project that was kicked off by the regional government at the end of 2019 aimed at developing Kazan Airport into an important transit hub for goods traveling on trade lanes between Asia and Europe.
Currently, plans are under way to set up a maintenance and repair base for providing technical assistance for cargo carriers serving Tatarstan’s main airport.
Feihong 98 accomplished first commercial flight
China-built Feihong 98 has landed at Baotou Airport in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region delivering goods to local customers on behalf of SF Express. It was the initial flight of the unmanned transport aircraft that can carry 1.5 tons or 15 cubic meters over a distance of 1,200 kilometers. These characteristics make the UAV the world’s biggest transport drone, able to land on unpaved and short runways.
According to Chinese sources, the Feihong 98 is a candidate for becoming a potential backbone for a national drone logistics network complemented by smaller quadcopters for the final mile delivery.
The unmanned transport aircraft is a modernized variant of the iconic AN-2, the world’s longest-produced plane, and has been turned into a drone by China’s Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology. According to Liu Meixuan, president of the Academy, the FH-98 features simple takeoff and landing, simple operation, advanced technology, and affordable cost.
AFKLMP prepares for flying Covid-19 vaccines
The Franco-Dutch carrier has built a taskforce to define what steps need to be taken to help ship Covid-19 vaccines once produced and distributed. Working in close consultation with the pharma industry and related forwarders, the freight carrier has assessed specific requirements for shipping Covid-19 vaccines. “We subsequently adapted our operation in terms of equipment and dedicated monitoring & service, as well as the capacity we offer,” Enrica Calonghi, Global Head of Pharmaceutical Logistics at AFKLMP Cargo assures: “AFKLMP Cargo is ready to play a key role in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, thereby helping to ensure that as many people as possible around the globe will have access to vaccines in these challenging times,” she added.
Shipping pharma and healthcare products is a core activity for AFKLMP Cargo. Lately, the carrier has continuously improved its pharma and healthcare-related services by streamlining processes, training staff and forming dedicated service teams for pharma customers. This was coupled with investments in its dual hubs, CDG and AMS and merged booking service options via their digital portal myCargo, offering greater transparency. By guarantee the required quality, reliability and connectivity throughout supply chains, “we not only offer all required infrastructure and capabilities at our CDG and AMS hubs, but also have partnerships with GHAs at all relevant pharma destinations, providing state-of-the-art pharma handling services,” states GertJan Roelands, SVP of Sales & Distribution at AFKLMP Cargo. He went on to say: “Shipping pharma and other medical-related goods is one of our core activities and a strategic priority shown by a department that is fully dedicated to pharma and healthcare solutions. With this in mind, Air France and KLM were among the first airlines to obtain IATA CEIV certification.”
Airbus slimming down in North America
The drop in aircraft orders led to Airbus announcing that it would be cutting 15,000 jobs by mid of next year. In addition to its plans to reduce the workforces across its European plants (-5,100 in Germany, -5,000 in France, -1,700 in the UK, and -900 in Spain), the North American plants are in for streamlining, too.
Currently many are on furlough, whilst the Wichita engineering site had already seen a cut of 50 subcontracted engineers, and over in Mobile, 40 subcontractors have been laid off. Airbus is offering a “voluntary employment separation program” to employees in the Americas. It says most job cuts impacted staffers in the commercial aviation business, which the downturn has particularly hammered. In the hope that this will be taken by enough current employees, the company aims to have its restructuring measures in place by Summer 2021. Staff reductions are just part of the package, which has seen projects, such as a second Mobile support hangar costing in the region of USD 40 million, or the development of the A220-500, have been put on hold. The focus is on conserving cash, given that Airbus is currently sitting on around 150 undelivered planes.
eCommerce & Covid-19 pushing up surcharges at UPS, FedEx & USPS
As in most other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing people to stay home, has led to a sharp increase in eCommerce, and thus the number of parcels travelling across the USA. Both FedEx and UPS reported over 20% volume growth in ground delivery over the past quarter, whilst the United States Parcel Service has seen more than double that growth. More parcels mean more deliveries, mean more routes, more costs and, ultimately therefore, an action to buffer the financial output – in the form of surcharges for domestic deliveries. UPS was the first to unveil their surcharges back on 07AUG20, now FedEx and USPS have joined in.
In a statement, FedEx explained: “As the impact of the virus continues to generate a surge in residential deliveries, we are entering this holiday peak season with extremely high demand for capacity and are experiencing increased operating costs across our network. We anticipate residential volume to continue to surge into the new year.” This translates into surcharges starting at USD 1 per parcel up to USD 4, depending on shippers’ weekly volumes, along with fees for oversize shipments, those requiring additional handling and even a USD 350 fee for so-called “unauthorized” ground deliveries. Those surcharges even increase (in some cases by 50%) in the peak NOV/DEC season, before readjusting in the new year.
In a similar vein, though not quite as tough, the USPS recently published increases of between 6.75% and 13.3%, due to take effect mid OCT20.
Time more competitors got on the parcel delivery scene across the Pond.
Heiner Siegmund / Brigitte Gledhill
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