GEODIS acquires Polish PEKAES
The ink on the paper dried last week and with it, GEODIS, having obtained regulatory approval, finalized its acquisition of the leading Polish provider of transportation and logistics services, PEKAES, which employs more than 1,200 staff across 20 Polish branches, 3 railway terminals and 6 logistics warehouses. It is multimodally active, and well linked across Europe, strongly complementing GEODIS’ own network, and further expanding it across Poland and Eastern Europe. The acquisition brings GEODIS’ presence in Poland to almost 1,500 employees across 29 sites, including around twenty hubs.
“We are pleased to welcome PEKAES’ customers, employees and management to the GEODIS Group,” Marie-Christine Lombard, Chief Executive Officer of GEODIS, announced. “This acquisition, in a target region for the Group’s development, is a major step towards reaching the goals laid out in our “Ambition 2023” strategic plan. GEODIS now has an increased presence in Europe’s third-largest logistics market, offering Polish companies tremendous international opportunities.”
“This operation will allow us to develop our palletized freight network throughout Europe as we also develop further our abilities in the Polish domestic market,” Olivier Royer, GEODIS Executive Vice President for Road Transport outlined the integration which will be led by GEODIS’ Road Transport Line of Business, already established in Poland. “PEKAES’ multimodal lines out of Poland represent a real growth opportunity for this mode of transport. They will supplement our lines in Western Europe, which are currently experiencing strong growth given our customers’ desire for transport with a low environmental impact.”
“We are opening a new chapter in PEKAES’ history. It provides many opportunities for our customers, partners, and employees. Our customers can now benefit from the power of a global network to help them grow. For our teams, this means new growth opportunities in a strong international organization. We are delighted to join the GEODIS group, with whom we share the commitment to help our customers overcome their logistical constraints,” Maciej Bachman, CEO of PEKAES. declared.
Three B777 replace the last of QR’s A330F
Speaking in a recent STAT Trade Times video interview, Qatar Airways’ (QR) Chief Officer Cargo, Guillaume Halleux, announced that the last four A330-200 freighters would be leaving the Qatar Airways Cargo by 31JAN21, as the company implements its pure Boeing fleet strategy. Three new B777 F were delivered on 01JAN21, with two more due to come in MAR21 and APR21 – all part of an order that was placed during the Paris Airshow in 2019. Since 01FEB21, therefore, the Qatar Airways Cargo fleet consists of two Boeing 747-8Fs and 24 B-777Fs, going up to a total fleet of 28 freighters by APR21 and complemented by its extensive passenger network cargo capacity, too. To date, the airline counts as the world’s largest cargo carrier, transporting almost 10% of global air cargo volume.
“We made no secret from the beginning that the order of five B777 freighters placed at the Paris Airshow in 2019 was to replace and phase out A330 freighters. This is part of streamlining our freighter fleet and going in for a homogenous fleet for very obvious reasons of optimization and synergy,” Guillaume Halleux stated. “We had five A330 freighters. We sold one of them in August last year. And the remaining were planned to exit. Therefore, as on January 31, they will be out of our fleet.” The buyer of the sold A330 was the Hungarian government, which subsequently leased the aircraft to WizzAir. In fact, the Airbus planes were originally due to have been phased during the course of last year already, but the pandemic led to the plan being delayed.
CEVA Logistics adds hub for south and central Vietnam
The start of this month saw the inauguration of a new CEVA Logistics warehouse in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province in Vietnam, which will serve as the company’s main hub for south and central Vietnam from its strategic location north east of Ho Chi Minh City, well connected to the Eastern Economic Zone. The 10,000m², state-of-the-art multi-user distribution center deploys CEVA Logistics’ in-house warehouse management system and is designed to provide storage and fulfillment solutions with value-added services such as co-packing, labelling, kitting, consolidation, and e-commerce services for B2B and B2C distribution across Vietnam..
Elaine Low, CEVA Logistics’ Regional Managing Director South East Asia & Pacific Region, stated: “This new facility allows us to continue to expand our capabilities in support of our customers’ growth in Vietnam complementing our air, ocean and ground services. It will provide customers with additional storage and various services to meet their rapidly expanding supply chain needs in the country. Its strategic location means customers will also be able to take advantage of new transport infrastructure coming to the region as economic growth gathers further momentum”.
The facility is well placed, since it is close to the new Long Thanh International Airport which is due to open in 2025 (the groundbreaking ceremony took place in January 2021), and is designed to handle up to 1.2 million tons of cargo per year.
Astral Aviation and SpiceXpress interline to link continents
The start of this month saw the signing of a “pioneering cargo interline agreement” between Astral Aviation Limited and Spicejet’s cargo arm, SpiceXpress. A move that will facilitate movement of cargo between India and Africa, linking the Middle East along the way. A welcome move for shippers and forwarders in Africa and the Indian sub-continent, since it will offer more affordable solutions for freight such as general cargo, courier, and pharmaceutical shipments.
Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation, said: “Thanks to this interline agreement, there will be easier trade between India and Africa allowing movement of commodities at much more competitive rates in the respective markets as well as providing more scheduled frequencies of flights to the benefit of our customers and traders”. The Kenya-based airline will operate services to and from the Indian cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Delhi via its Middle East Hub in Sharjah, UAE, linking them to connections to Nairobi, Kenya and from ther to other destinations in Africa.
Conversely, SpiceXpress gets to expand its network to include the African destinations of Dar es Salaam – Tanzania, Entebbe-Uganda, Juba-South Sudan, Mwanza-Tanzania, Mogadishu-Somalia, Pemba-Mozambique, Zanzibar-Tanzania, Nairobi-Kenya, Johannesburg-South Africa, Hargeisa-Somalia, and Lusaka-Zambia. The CEO of SpiceXpress, Mr. Sanjiv Gupta, said: “This inter-line agreement will strengthen the trade lanes between the two continents and provide much faster and seamless logistics solutions. It will help SpiceXpress build its African network and ensure SpiceXpress’ presence in the high growth African continent”.
Bell Textron Inc. rings in autonomous parcel delivery
01FEB21 witnessed the demonstration of a point-to-point parcel delivery carried out by a Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT), developed by Bell Textron Inc. In collaboration with real-estate developer, Hillwood, which is focused on creating futuristic regions such as the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) supporting new technologies in air transport, Bell’s APT flew four miles from the MIZ Flight Test Center across complex Class D and G airspace over North Texas, USA, to deliver a package to the MIZ Pecan Square landing area. After a vertical takeoff, the APT which is capable of carrying between 30-45 kg and can fly at speeds of over 160 km/h, flew almost silently at a maximum altitude of around 300 feet/100 meters above ground, providing data that will go towards establishing standards for unmanned aerial vehicles and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification guidelines.
“This successful test of Bell’s APT at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone highlights the potential for UAS to complete complex missions, moving the needle closer to connecting logistics operations directly to consumers,” said Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of Hillwood. “Together, we are carving a path forward for future commercial operations to solve the supply chain challenges our world currently faces.”
“Bell is proud to play a role in the first North Texas UAS package delivery, and this demonstration showcases the future application of the APT 70 as a logistics carrier,” said Mitch Snyder, President and CEO of Bell. “Testing at the MIZ showcases how Bell's autonomous vehicles could seamlessly integrate into logistics operations and unlock new opportunities for businesses.” Those opportunities include its application in disaster relief missions, parcel deliveries, and medical transports.
Ospentos International welcomes new CEO
Valter Veedler has been named as the new CEO of the Tallinn, Estonia-based air cargo handler and road feeder service (RFS) provider, Ospentos International, and assumed his position on 01FEB21. Established in 2006, Ospentos International provides scheduled RFS services to a large portfolio of European and global airline customers as well as freight forwarding community.
Veedler joined the company early in 2017, moving from his previous position in ramp handling management at Tallin International Airport. He holds a BEng in Transportation Technology, and looks back on almost 20 years in airfreight, having held a number of air cargo positions at DB Schenker, before a 6-year stint at Tallin Airport. At Ospentos, he took on the responsibility of dangerous goods (DGR) trainings and RFS operations.
“Valter has been in the air cargo business for nearly two decades now, and the Board has full confidence in his ability to ensure also in the future Ospentos’ status as a high-quality, neutral service provider, as well as to keep the company at the forefront of innovation,” Haiti Arendi, Board Member at Ospentos since 2006, stated, referring to the company’s strong focus on digital capabilities with the aim of giving its air cargo community clients a top quality and very transparent service. Technology is also the core of Haiti Arendi’s focus, since while he will remain an Ospentos board member, he will also be managing the Tallinn-based technology company Qstep, providing new generation Software-as-a-Service platforms for air cargo handlers, eCommerce logistics, and new postal service companies.
Simon Elmore returns as COO to Hermes Logistics Technologies
On 03FEB21, Cargo Management Systems (CMS) provider Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) announced the return of Simon Elmore as Chief Operations Officer (COO) to further develop the customer and product experience of its New Generation (NG) Cargo Management Ecosystem. (The Hermes NG Ecosystem includes a number of apps such as Track and Trace, Slot Booking, and Landside Management, which serve to save costs by reducing handling errors, and identifying operational inefficiencies.) Elmore, who looks back on 25 years of aviation industry experience, spent 14 years with HLT, forming part of the team that designed, built, and delivered the original Hermes CMS now known as Hermes 5. He returns to HLT following two years working as a consultant on a number of aviation and e-commerce projects and had this to say about his new position: “This is a very exciting time for HLT, with so many possibilities for widening and aligning the product range. It is clear that digitalization has come into its own during the pandemic, but we have also learnt that staying connected and showing a human face is important. Our people are the key to our success, and it is good to be back at the helm of a product team with so much focus on innovation and customer care. We have seen a steep increase in Hermes 5 implementations and process optimization projects for this quarter and expect this momentum to continue into quarter two. The pandemic has made in-person project tasks impossible, but I am satisfied to see that our virtual analyses strategies and customer project connections are working quite well. Future-proofing our virtual implementation strategy will be a big focus over the next few months.”
Yuval Baruch, Chief Executive Officer, HLT, commented: “Simon brings a unique perspective to HLT. Originally from the air cargo industry, he worked 14 years with us, and has more recently gained a new outlook and ideas through his consultancy projects. He joins as we take further steps to develop more solutions for our customers and forge new relationships with like-minded companies who can complement the services that we offer.”
Marcel Buelens heads Ostend Airport Cargo Village project
Marcel Buelens, who recently retired as CEO of the airports of Antwerp and Ostend, has embarked on a new venture as CEO of Versluys Logistics. In this capacity, he will steer the development of a 45,000 m² Cargo Village at Ostend Airport. The greater part of the warehouses will be dedicated to e-commerce. The layout will enable the handling of 6 jumbos simultaneously. The application for the building permit of the first phase of 16,000 m² was recently put in. Versluys Logistics was founded in September 2020 as a new subsidiary of the Ostend-based contractor and project development Versluys Group.
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