From Amazon to Insta…Freight!
Adam Chassin is InstaFreight’s new Chief Commercial Officer. What better catch for a digital freight platform, than a man who, in addition to a background both in banking and in law, previously headed Business for Uber in Europe (building commercial partnership ecosystems and accelerating its European growth), and Strategic Business Development at Amazon (driving Amazon Prime and building the tech platform to scale Prime globally)? InstaFreight is set to profit from his “broad expertise in rapidly scaling digital businesses”, and he will be responsible for driving growth and pushing positive industry disruption to further expand InstaFreight's commercial activities across Europe. The company has seen impressive growth since its founding in 2016, counting over 25,000 carriers on its digital platform, as Adam Chassin notes: “InstaFreight is building one of the most disruptive and valuable logistics platforms in Europe. The logistics sector is a € 350 billion industry in Europe and is shockingly inefficient and lagging in adopting technology. With three out of ten trucks in Europe running empty, there is a huge opportunity to bring better service and more efficiency for customers. InstaFreight has a very scalable growth story and is on a good path to profitability. Philipp [Ortwein - Co-Founder & Managing Director, on left], Max [Schaefer - Co-Founder & Managing Director, second from left], and Markus [J. Doetsch - Co-Founder & CTO, on right] are incredibly talented founders and leaders, and I am excited to join the leadership team and help InstaFreight achieve its next stages of growth.”
Philipp Ortwein commented: “We are very proud that Adam Chassin joined our C-level team at the start of the new year. Having worked in senior roles at leading technology companies in both the US and Europe, he brings the right skill set and mindset to take InstaFreight's growth to the next level.” Maximilian Schaefer added: “Our products and services have already proven their value to thousands of shippers and carriers across Europe. Now is the time to expand to make these products and services available to an even larger customer base. We are laser focused on growth and scalability and are excited that Adam will lead the commercial activities on our way to becoming a billion-dollar-company.”
Keep a good thing going: Ospentos and Finnair Cargo renew
14 years on into the partnership and things are still going strong. On 08JAN21, Finnair Cargo and road feeder services provider, Ospentos International, renewed their cooperation agreement. Ospentos, established in Tallin, Estonia, in 2006, provides air cargo and mail trucking services to Finnair across the Baltic states, Belarus, and Ukraine, following cargo and mail handling in Tallinn international airport.
“With contract renewal, we also hope to be contributing to the creation of stability (predictability) to otherwise very volatile markets disrupted by Covid-19 pandemics,” says Haiti Arendi, member of the board at Ospentos International. Tommi Voss, Head of Cargo Operations of Finnair Cargo, adds “Delivering goods is no longer evident after the year of disruption with COVID and partnership is key to keep supply chains open. Only with trusted partners we can continue serving our customers now and in the future.”
Both companies place a high priority on technological innovation, also within their partnership. Finnair Cargo has access to full visibility of Ospentos’ cargo handling processes, truck movements, and real-time temperature overviews of cargo shipments travelling on Ospentos trucks across the Gulf of Finland to the Baltic States and back.
Digital capabilities are a core focus for investment at Ospentos International, which counts a number of European and global airlines customers in its scheduled RFS service portfolio, alongside those in the freight forwarding community. Continuous digital improvement enables it to provide top quality and service transparency “to the most demanding clients in the air cargo community,” as stated in its press release.
IAG Cargo: Moving more than a million Covid-19 vaccines
Europe’s third largest airline group is also in on the worldwide logistics challenge of the century: the distribution of the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccines. To date, IAG Cargo has transported more than a million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine across the globe, via its Constant Climate hubs located in London Heathrow, Dublin, and Madrid. Those hubs form part of a Constant Climate network of over 100 stations that have been approved to handle cold chain products that require strict conditions to ensure their integrity and safety. The London Heathrow hub’s USP is that it is the only airside facility to be GDP-certified and WDA-licensed by the UK's Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); whilst Madrid’s pharmaceutical center is bran new, having been opened in 2019.
In collaboration with pharmaceutical firms, health authorities, and logistics partners, IAG Cargo delivered vaccines to North America and Europe. Most recently, 80,000 doses were sent from the Madrid hub to the Canary Islands, and the first batch of Moderna vaccines travelled to Dublin and Gran Canaria.
John Cheetham, Chief Commercial Officer at IAG Cargo, commented: “I am delighted that we have already successfully transported over a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Transporting Covid-19 vaccines represent the latest effort in our ongoing work to support the fight against Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic in March, over three quarters of our 1000 charters in 2020 were used to transport thousands of tons of crucial medical supplies, PPE, and ventilators. We remain committed to continuing to offer our expertise to help support the fight against Covid-19 during 2021.”
TAP Air Cargo expands digital network to include WebCargo
Half a year after joining cargo.one, TAP Air Cargo has now expanded its digital network to also include WebCargo, offering the thousands of freight forwarders using the platform across North and South America, Africa, and Europe access to real-time rates, availability, and eBooking possibilities on its unique mix of passenger and freighter aircraft serving European destinations. This brings its customers greater flexibility, ease of use, and operational efficiency. “The past year has proven that finding digital solutions to support the constantly changing air cargo landscape is absolutely critical,” said Miguel Gomes, Global Chief
Cargo Office TAP Air Cargo. “We are pleased to partner with WebCargo to provide the best service possible for our customers through accurate, updated quotes and eBooking capabilities.”
WebCargo, a subsidiary in the Freightos Group company, and currently the largest Digital Air Cargo eBooking solution, counting over 2,000 international forwarders at more than 10,000 global branches. Manel Galindo, CEO of WebCargo described the incredible rise in eBookings last year: “In 2020, we’ve seen the number of eBookings on our platform increased by over 10X. We are pleased to be partnering with TAP Air Cargo, a company that understands the importance and significance of embracing digital solutions as we enter the new year.”
CFG asked WebCargo if, having managed 10x the eBookings in 2020, does it think it will manage to double its airlines in 2021? This was the response: “We certainly believe that eBookings - while growing fast - are just getting started. We have a very strong pipeline of new airlines, both global and regional, and are excited about the prospect of working with them. We're certainly doing everything we can to at least double them.”
FCS awards coveted Apple Wine jugs to top performers
Anyone can present a golden cup or glass trophy but, when in the State of Hesse, Germany, the biggest honor that can be conferred comes in the shape of a “Bembel” – an earthenware jug used to serve Apple Wine. And this is exactly what Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS – a subsidiary of Worldwide Flight Services, WFS, and Frankfurt Airport’s largest, neutral cargo handler) chooses to present its annual top airline performers. Claus Wagner, Managing Director of FCS, said: “2020 was marked by special challenges for all of us. Whilst COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures meant our traditional awards ceremony could not go ahead as normal, it was more important than ever for us to thank our partners for the great cooperation and to recognize their achievements over the last year. We are looking forward to continuing to work together with all of our airline customers in 2021 and hope we can look forward to a positive recovery of the airline passenger and cargo markets.” The list of airlines honored for their contribution to the Frankfurt air cargo market in 2020, and their agility in responding to industry disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, included
AirBridgeCargo Airlines – again number one in 2020 with regard to the highest overall tonnage level, Qatar Airways in second place, and China Southern Airlines in third. Ural Airlines received a Bembel for its ten-fold increase in year-on-year volumes, resulting from its deployment of preighters during the peak of the pandemic. China Cargo Airlines achieved a 19% growth in volume compared to 2019, whilst Network Airline Services managed a 16% tonnage increase, thus the two companies were also bestowed with a coveted Bembel.
Diana Schoeneich, Senior Director European Region at AirBridgeCargo, commented: “We would like to thank our long-time partner FCS for the recognition and this nice tradition that has been maintained for so many years. As AirBridgeCargo has been a winner since 2009, we thank FCS for our successful partnership and support, especially during the pandemic. Delivering much needed cargo was a challenging task in 2020. Thanks to teamwork, aligned internal processes and the dedication of our employees, we were able to continue supporting our European customers and contribute to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 by transporting more than 4,000 tons of specialized cargo."
Airport College is “big in Japan”
eLearning training is all the more important and welcome in these unusual times, and Airport College’s service offer has grown accordingly. It now includes vaccine-handling training both for truckers as well as all those along the supply chain, a cargo in passenger cabins course, and a free covid-19 training, to name but a few. Aside from general air cargo specific courses, the Airport College also works in close cooperation with individual companies to define in-house training solutions – if required, in local language. The latest such collaboration is with SBS Global Network Co., Ltd. (SBS) – an international logistics services provider providing logistics, customs clearance procedures for import and export shipments, storage, and transportation services in Japan. It has chosen to use Airport College's online training service, available both in Japanese and English, to ensure that its staff in Japan is up-to-date on all competencies and process requirements required for their job.
"With our online training service SBS can train their staff efficiently and flexibly and maintain required competences. Our online eLearning courses comply with the training requirements of international aviation authorities, such as the IATA and ICAO," says Airport College International CEO Pertti Mero.
"Increasing training needs create demand for flexible, time- and cost-efficient training solutions. AirportCollege.com online training is a logical step to redesign our company's training provision," states SBS Senior Specialist Tadashi Iseki.
From Transit Hall to Vaccine Center
The photo shows the Skyhall, “the iconic former transit hall at Brussels Airport”. This time last year, it celebrated its inauguration as an events venue after nigh on two years of renovation work. The striking yellow and red design “is an important symbol of Brussels Airport.” This huge, empty space will soon become one of two vaccine centers where those living in the nearby towns of Zaventem, Wezembeek-Oppem, and Kraainem can go to be vaccinated against Covid-19. “From the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Brussels Airport has actively contributed to protecting public health by providing test facilities”, explains Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “After the Covid-19 PCR Test Centre near the Departures hall and the testing facilities for arriving passengers, Brussels Airport is now happy to make its iconic Skyhall available to the neighboring towns to accommodate their vaccination campaigns. We are happy to be able to help and contribute to the collective efforts in the fight against COVID-19.” The Skyhall’s transformation into a vaccine center is now underway, in preparation of a trial period at the start of FEB21 before the vaccine campaign gets underway in mid-FEB21, beginning with all those over the age of 65 years. Essential workers then follow, before the general public receives their vaccinations.
sennder has raised USD 160 million
sennder recently raised $160 million in a Series D financing round headed by placement agent J.P. Morgan Securities plc, to accelerate its digitalization of European trucking and drive expansion. The 5-year-old, Berlin-based start-up’s valuation stands at over USD 1 billion, making it one of the most valuable technology start-ups in Europe and its leading digital road freight forwarder, employing over 800 staff in seven international offices, and forecast to move over 1 million truckloads in 2021. $100 million will go towards growing and developing its innovative technology, expanding sennder’s 200-person technology team and accelerating research and development into the automation, digitalization, optimization and decarbonization of road freight. The additional funding will be used to drive expansion into new European markets.
David Nothacker, CEO and Co-Founder of sennder, said: “I’m very proud to see sennder’s mission and vision become a reality. We are now an established industry player on equal terms with other more traditional sector pioneers but have maintained our founding spirit. As a data-driven company, we contribute to making the logistics industry fit for a sustainable future; ensuring transparency, flexibility and efficiency in the distribution of goods. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a digitalized logistics industry. Throughout 2020, we helped our carriers increase their profitability by enhancing operating margins by up to 80% during a challenging time. sennder is uniquely positioned to drive industry digitalization, benefiting shippers and carriers alike.“
Sonali De Rycker, Partner at Accel says: “It is always fantastic to see a portfolio company reach such a significant milestone. Well done to the sennder team – by revolutionizing the freight industry at an unprecedented pace, they have quickly become one of Europe’s most exciting companies. 2020 highlighted the value that sennder’s innovative digital offering brings to the freight industry. 2021 is well-positioned to be another exciting year for the business. We look forward to helping sennder continue accelerating its growth across Europe.”
One-way tickets to a new life for brown bears, Bubloo and Suzie
Just days after airlifting Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant from the Pakistani zoo to begin a better life in Cambodia at the start of DEC20, DHL again cooperated with FOUR PAWS to help move two 17-year-old Himalayan brown bears to their new home in a Jordanian sanctuary on 16DEC20. Until that point, they had been kept in Pakistan’s Marghazar zoo, in appalling conditions, suffering mistreatment, and thus were in poor health. Bubloo and Suzie were the last two animals to be evacuated before the zoo, which animal rights campaigners had, for years, been petitioning to be shut down, closed for good. They are now being nursed back to health in their new forever home: the Al Ma’wa Sanctuary for Nature and Wildlife in Amman, Jordan - a 110-hectare sanctuary run by the Jordanian non-profit Princess Alia Foundation in partnership with FOUR PAWS, and home to a number of endangered species.
Veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil and his team at FOUR PAWS led the rescue, working together with DHL Global Forwarding. Bubloo, 120 kg, and Suzie, 90 kg, who were tested for Covid-19 before starting their journey, flew in IATA-standard, custom-build cages on board a specially booked Qatar Airways flight from Islamabad International Airport via Doha to Jordan. Their journey required months of meticulous planning and preparation and was not all plain sailing as Dr. Amir Kahlil revealed: “The last-minute cancellation of the bears’ export permits was a brief setback. Thankfully, the Islamabad High Court and IWMB (Islamabad Wildlife Management Board) ruled once again in favor of animal welfare. The transfer would also never have been possible without the support of the Pakistani community, as well as the financial help of American businessman Eric S. Margolis.”
“Being able to leverage our logistics expertise, temperature-controlled capabilities and customs clearance solutions to help animals, such as Bubloo and Suzie, brings another perspective to our mission of ‘Connecting People, Improving Lives’,” said Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific.
“We are pleased to report that, after their first-class flight experience that ended at the Queen Alia International Airport, Bubloo and Suzie are thriving in their new home,” said Dr. Khalil.
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