Liege Airport hits the 1 million tons transported milestone
The beginning of the last month of an unusual year, was met with celebration at Liege, as they awaited the arrival of an AirBridgeCargo flight. Chartered by the Chinese company, HongYuan, the tonnage on board brought the total tonnage transported through Liege to 1,000,000. A Russian carrier, a Chinese customer, a French handler (WFS), together with Belgium Airport Services (BAS), illustrated the international cooperation that Liege has fostered since it decided to follow a full-cargo strategy back in 1996.
At the time, Cargo Airlines (CAL) was the kick-off carrier, with the strategy gaining traction from 1998 when TNT began operations there. Luc Partoune, CEO Liege Airport, announced: “In 1996, we transported just under 8,000 tons. The figure of 1 million tons shows how far we have come since then with an almost equal distribution between import and export. This is the result of the work of our entire cargo community and I would like to thank and congratulate our staff and all our partners once again.”
Liege has grown into a key cargo hub in Europe: “We connect more than 250 airports around the world with Fedex, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian, AirBridgeCargo, CAL, Astral, Air China Cargo, SF Express, Icelandair and others. Liège has become a world-scale village for all high-value goods that must travel quickly and far. The development of the airport is carried out entirely in compliance with the regulatory framework (PDLT), which is determined by the Region,” he added.
Gebrüder Weiss ventures the silk road with GFS
“Gebrüder Weiss Express China” is a new joint venture, based in Shanghai, China, and focused on parcel transports between China and Europe. It has been entered into by the Austrian company, Gebrüder Weiss (65% share) and the Chinese Global Freight System (GFS) logistics company. Lothar Thoma, member of the Management Board at Gebrüder Weiss, explained: “The growing trend towards e-commerce means that the volume of parcel shipments between Asia and Europe is also steadily on the rise. We are now pooling our expertise in Europe and Asia with the aim of addressing both Asian and European e-commerce companies.”
Gebrüder Weiss is thus strengthening its New Silk Road connections, adding parcel transports to its impressive list of air cargo, sea freight, rail cargo and multimodal services, alongside special logistics solutions such as warehousing and local distribution. It has a large presence in China with branches and offices in 19 major transport hubs, and a strong set-up along the Silk Road with offices in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Georgia and Armenia.
Ever heard of “Clinic in a Can”?
“Clinic in a Can” refers to a mobile medical facility created out of a 20-foot container: the idea of a doctor and initially intended as emergency medical clinics for third-world countries. Lynden Air Cargo recently delivered one of these repurposed containers to Naknek, a small community in Western Alaska. The project was headed by Ethan Bradford, Lynden Air Cargo's Vice President of Technical Operations.
The mobile clinic was transported by Alaska West Express from Wichita, KS to Tacoma, where it was loaded on to a ship and carried on to Anchorage. From there, Lynden Air Cargo flew it to King Salmon's Camai Community Health Center. “This was a good One Lynden door-to-door move from Wichita to Naknek," Matt Jolly, Vice President of Sales and Pricing for Alaska West Express, said.
"Protecting workers, Alaskans and our communities during the fishing season and year-round continues to be an important challenge in our state's COVID response," Mary Swain, Executive Director of the Camai Health Center explained. "We received grant money to purchase the mobile clinic, and we can transport it to wherever it is needed most.”
The need and the success of the clinic is such, that two more mobile medical units have been ordered.
ECS Group offers a better letter solution
The world leader in the GSSA business, the ECS Group, has reacted to the huge increase in mail and e-commerce and launched “GSA Mail Solutions”. This unique service is aimed at airlines wishing to outsource their mail and e-commerce activities and offer a tried and tested transport solutions service option to postal operators.
Adrien Thominet, ECS Group CEO, explained: “Helping airlines to tap into this postal traffic on their destinations and accompanying them on new routes, offers them new sources of revenue. Our expertise in managing these flows along with the digital solutions we offer (customized EDI solutions in particular) also makes it possible to maximize capacities and guarantee parcel traceability.” A lucrative business segment, given the accelerated rise this year in an already growing e-commerce segment, with further growth forecast over the next years.
“We speak the airlines' and postal operators' language, so we are the perfect intermediary. With GSA Mail Solutions, postal operators have access to our entire network of airlines without having to go through endless steps. We therefore offer them an unprecedented increase in efficiency, because via a single point of contact - GSA Mail Solutions - they have access to a multitude of air freight solutions to route their postal flows wherever they need them,” he added, outlining that regulations, technicalities, and business intelligence are key success factors within this sector.
The new GSA Mail Solutions docks onto the ECS Group network which represents 140 airlines and employs over 1,200 people in 155 offices in 50 countries, offering cutting-edge expertise and greater business opportunities to its customers.
Turkish Airlines will be setting Turkish Cargo up as a subsidiary
On 27NOV20, the Turkish Airlines’ Board of Directors announced their decision to “establish an air cargo company, wholly-owned by the Incorporation, due to the increasing trend on cargo operations and to take quick actions while improving focused strategies like new product development and vertical integration.” The carrier’s strategy is to build up its new air cargo subsidiary under its current Turkish Cargo division brand, and grow it become one of the world’s top five leading cargo companies by 2023. That includes growing the current dedicated cargo network from 95 destinations to 120 by 2023.
On the passenger side, the airline serves around 320 destinations in 127 countries. “The newly established Company will strengthen our position among the most crucial players in the cargo sector, by making the most of Turkish Cargo's unique competitive advantage and create a separate platform for potential strategic foreign partnerships in the future.”
Throughout the pandemic, Turkish Cargo has kept revenues coming in, and the airline operates a number of preighters in addition to its freighter fleet. It is building up SmartIST at Istanbul airport, with state-of-the-art handling facilities which will be capable of dealing with 4 million tons of freight a year.
From flying fish to fish traveling by sea in the name of sustainability
Just as the first SAF flights are taking off, one salmon farming company over on the Faroe Islands, has decided to stop shipping by air in an effort to cut down on CO2 emissions: an aquaculture industry first. Hiddenfjord is the Atlantic salmon producer in question. The family-run company came to the conclusion to eliminate air cargo when results from SINTEF, an independent Norwegian research organization, revealed that air freighted salmon was producing 50 time more CO2 than by shipments sent by sea.
Meanwhile, the same organization has confirmed that Hiddenfjord’s decision to stop using air freight on 10OCT20 has already led to a 94% reduction in carbon emissions in overseas transportation, with no detrimental effect on the product’s quality, as confirmed by a salmon consumer preference test carried out by the New York-based Consumer Evaluation Center – there was “no significant difference between Hiddenfjord salmon transported by sea and Hiddenfjord salmon transported by air to New York upon arrival.”
Sustainability is a core value for the company, which is focused on the UN SDG 13 regarding climate action and has been working towards air cargo elimination since 2010. Óli Hansen, Sales Director at Hiddenfjord, said, “This has been made possible by systematically reducing the percentage of air freight over a period of the last years. We have a graph showing the decrease from 80% in 2010 to 30% 2018 and finally 10% this year in 2020.”
Hiddenfjord’s Managing Director and owner, Atli Gregersen, emphasized: “The facts are clear, we all need to immediately stop using airplanes to transport goods in order to reduce climate change. This was a challenging decision for us - we knew it could mean lower prices and a much higher risk because of reduced flexibility in reaching far-away markets. But ethically, it is absolutely the right decision. If we claim that we want to be a truly sustainable company, we must take responsible actions.” A sign of things to come?
Cainiao and Ethiopian Airlines partner to transport vaccines
China has been in the news recently regarding the distribution and share of its COVID-19 vaccines with countries such as Morocco, who have participated in tests, or with which it has good relations. In preparation for this logistical challenge, Alibaba’s logistics subsidiary, Cainiao, and Ethiopian Airlines announced their cooperation in launching the cold chain service required to transport the temperature-sensitive vaccines from China to the Middle East and Africa.
Shenzhen Airport will be the starting point which, according to Alibaba, is equipped with China’s first cross-border medical cold chain facility. From there, flights will leave twice a week to countries via Dubai and Addis Ababa. Cainiao which has been certified by IATA to carry pharma, has a network encompassing over 200 destinations. Ethiopian has an established cooperation with Alibaba, and its home cargo terminal also has modern temperature-facilities that can be regulated between -23°C and 25°C. "The launch of the cold chain air freight has further bolstered our global logistics capabilities and allow us to offer a one-stop solution for the global distribution of medical products such as the COVID-19 vaccines,” said James Zhao, general manager of Cainiao’s international supply chain unit. A number of Chinese vaccine developers are currently in the final stages of clinical trials. They include Sinovac Biotech Ltd, CanSinoBio and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).
Looking to invest in air freight?
Reuters reported on 03DEC20, that MBK partners have put the Chinese air freight firm Apex on the market, with the first round of offers expected next week. Apex also offers ocean freight, road feeder, and warehousing services, and has been owned by MBK Partners since 2015. Like many cargo companies, the pandemic has led to increased results for Apex which is forecast to post pre-tax earnings in the region of USD 120 million for 2020. MBK Partners is allegedly looking to gain over $1 billion through the sale and, in cooperation with Morgan Stanley, is targeting logistics groups such as Europe's DSV, North American Expeditors or Kuwait-based Agility, though none of these companies have confirmed this yet. “Bidders are expected to value the company at 12-15 times core earnings in a potential deal” according to Reuters, though “one of the big valuation questions is the sustainability of the profit figures once the pandemic subsides.”
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