IATA’s EPIC move to improve air cargo digitization along network
EPIC stands for Enhanced Partner Identification and Connectivity and is IATA’s latest initiative to promote digitization across the global air cargo supply chain. Launched last week, the platform facilitates secure digital connectivity when it comes to electronic messaging, for example. Messaging often poses both a technical and mindset hurdle for the over 40,000 freight forwarders, 450-plus airlines and other supply chain players, EPIC enables data exchange without the individual company having to relinquish data control. Instead, they can manage how they connect with respective business partners, in a secure environment, and more efficiently than the current, often manual, slow, complex processes in place.
EPIC is available to airlines (IATA members and non-members), freight forwarders and any third party, intermediary or IT provider in the air cargo business. It has already been adopted by 32 airlines, 900 freight forwarder branches, 10 governments/customs authorities, 5 international organizations, and 13 third party messaging providers.
“EPIC is a simple idea. It makes the information needed to do business across a digitized air cargo supply chain easily accessible. And in doing so, it will accelerate efficiency gains for air cargo. The timing of this initiative is important. COVID-19 has led to exponential growth of e-commerce and shippers are demanding quality services that only a digitized supply chain can provide,” said Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security.
“In addition to supporting business-to-business processes, the participation of customs organizations in EPIC also supports digital customs clearance processes. In particular this will help the efficient roll out of Advance Cargo Information (ACI) requirements, including Preloading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) programs,” the press release elaborates.
CargoAi now calculates CO2 emissions
In a move towards promoting sustainability, CargoAi has introduced a free CO2-tracking and calculation feature which tells freight forwarders what CO2 emissions may generated by their business activities. CargoAi provides complete transparency of the CO2 emissions per airline and route, giving the user the possibility to select greener routes, opting for airlines based on their carbon impact. It also shows CO2 emissions in the Track and Trace function, and, thirdly, the tool provides monthly CO2 emissions reports, so that users can analyze their own impact and monitor improvements.
“Cargo stakeholders have really become aware of sustainability, and carbon impact is a recurring topic in discussions with our clients. Through these new features, we wanted to highlight the efforts that airlines are making to reduce their emissions by allowing forwarders to choose their carriers on that basis. It was essential for us to take a position on this issue and to innovate, because it's also another way of thinking about air cargo differently,” said Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi.
The enhancement is the result of many months of development work, since the aim was to provide impartial information on each airline’s CO2 emissions. The complex calculation system is programmed according to IATA’s RP1678 methodology, which is approved by the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), and the European standard DIN EN 16258.
Three AN-124 flights bring 370-ton shipment from AU to BR
Chapman Freeborn and Antonov Airlines collaborated to shift an impressive 370-ton shipment of mining equipment parts from Australia to Brazil, needed to keep mining operations running.
Three AN-124 flights were needed to carry the entire shipment, and Antonov's load-planning engineers had to design customized frames for two of the equipment pieces. As often the case, Antonov’s in-house engineering solutions were required for the loading and unloading of the huge items. Not only crew Covid-19 restrictions (Rapid COVID-19 tests were conducted during each 14-hour rest window prior to the next leg of the flight being cleared), but also the total cargo weight, meant that the flights had to do a number of technical stops, augmenting the project time-frame. Despite this, the deadline was met, and the parts delivered safely and in time to keep the mining plant up and running. The consignment included a giant drill shaft and a transport cradle, required to upgrade the machinery at its end destination, with minimal down-time affecting operations.
“The timeline was challenging – initially our flight plan was six days in total, however we needed to change this to nine days after assessing the load,” said Chapman Freeborn Cargo Broker, Ana Bocchini. "In the end it came together with some meticulous planning and by changing some legs of the journey to avoid delays and closed runways."
Volodymyr Goncharov, Commercial Executive at Antonov Airlines said; "This was a challenging project, which we had to complete to a tight deadline. Using three AN-124 aircraft to airlift these special project cargoes allowed us to perform the programme of round-the-world flights successfully. The flights were a success thanks to well-coordinated efforts and good communication between the teams at Antonov Airlines and Chapman Freeborn."
SEKO Logistics joins SAFA
SEKO Logistics is the latest Freight Forwarder to join the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA), which consists of over 250 member companies worldwide. SAFA was established by sustainable business experts, BSR, to promote decarbonization in air freight, and is a buyer-supplier collaboration between shippers, freight forwarders and airlines. Participating airlines include AirBridgeCargo Airlines, American Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, Polar Air Cargo, SAS, and United Airlines. Global shippers such as h & m hennes & mauritz ab, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Louis Vuitton, LVMH Moët Hennessy, Mowi ASA, NIKE, Inc., and PUMA SE are also members.
“We have a responsibility to join other global business leaders in this initiative because our industry must do more to protect our planet for future generations,” said James Gagne, President & CEO of SEKO Logistics. “This is not a cliché, it’s a reality. SAFA is a tangible opportunity for us to contribute to the positive decarbonization work being undertaken by the aviation industry, airlines, and companies like SEKO to make a positive difference. Companies which lack a sustainability strategy will see their growth threatened because clients will take their business elsewhere if their partners do not take this seriously. This is a collaborative effort in which we can do more and act faster by working together. Joining SAFA will enable us to help our clients achieve their own sustainability goals too, which is how it should be.”
“We’re proud to welcome SEKO Logistics as a new member of BSR, and the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA), a collaboration which seeks to track and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from air freight and promote responsible freight transport,” said Sarah Mouriño, BSR Director, Transport and Green Freight. “We look forward to working with SEKO on their journey to become a more sustainable company, contributing to our movement to create a more just, sustainable world.”
Going it alone: ANA tests Toyota autonomous vehicle
The vehicle in question is an Advanced Autonomous Towing Tractor, and it will be trialed at Tokyo Haneda Airport between 29MAR21 and 02APR21. The towing tractor is equipped with a 3D LiDAR and a 2D laser scanner, along with advanced components enabling it to constantly track its position via road pattern matching and GPS. Capable of transporting quite a bit of cargo, the tractor will be tested both in and outdoors, to see if it can safely navigate its way around the normally congested driving conditions found at Tokyo Haneda airport. It is not the first time that ANA and Toyota are collaborating. Since 2019, they have conducted tests of autonomous vehicles in the past at Kyushu Saga Airport and Nagoya Chubu Airport. Should the latest trial be successful, ANA expects to implement autonomous technologies this OCT21, and projects that the technology will be widespread by 2025 as a core component of future "Simple & Smart" airports.
Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA, stated: “Our work with Toyota Industries has led to several successful autonomous towing tractor tests that we have continually learned from. We are excited about the opportunity to take this technology one step further by running trials at Haneda Airport. As we work with Toyota Industries to create the Simple & Smart airport of the future, ANA remains committed to integrating advanced technology in order to improve the travel experience.”
“We are collaborating with ANA at Haneda Airport to accelerate the development of innovative technology,” said Hisashi Ichijo, Executive Officer of Toyota Industries. “We are making important breakthroughs that bring us one step closer to our goal of establishing autonomous driving technology that is able to make airport logistics smarter around the world.”
Gebrüder Weiss inaugurates new logistics center near Graz
28 million euros, 70,000 m² and less than a year of construction: Gebrüder Weiss opened its latest state-of-the-art terminal in Kalsdorf, Graz, Austria, last week, replacing an older location. Gerhard Haas, Branch Manager Gebrüder Weiss Graz, said: “We had reached the capacity limits of the former location. The new facility will enable us to continue growing and provide an even higher level of service to our customers. Our 180 employees are looking forward to taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the new infrastructure.”
The new building counts 92 loading docks – double its original number – and is equipped with high-tech systems ensuring that trucks are loaded safely and efficiently, as well as sustainable initiatives. A photovoltaic installation is due to begin in the second quarter of 2021. “This will enable us to produce 920 megawatt hours of electricity per year and save as much as 75 tons of CO2,” Haas illustrated.
Gebrüder Weiss’ Graz location is the doorway to South Eastern Europe and saw a 3% year-on-year growth rate in 2020, as particularly home delivery services increased (38% growth). It has also seen positive development in logistics solutions for the automotive, consumer goods and metal processing industries. Along with business growth, the company is also investing in staff. It trained 14 in 2020. “We will maintain this level this year as well,” Gerhard Haas promised, pointing to other openings at the branch, too: particularly for dispatchers.
United operates 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year
19MAR21 marked one whole year of cargo-only flights for United. Since its first preighter flight on 19MAR20, which flew from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the airline has carried out over 11,000 such flights: in total, more than a quarter of a million tons of cargo. Together with cargo on regular United passenger flights, this adds up to more than 385,500 tons. Around 20% of that were COVID-19-related commodities, including around 10 million COVID-19 vaccines.
United Cargo President, Jan Krems commented: “At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew we were uniquely positioned to utilize our widebody aircraft and our network to keep commodities moving, so we quickly mobilized various departments throughout the airline to launch a cargo-only network of flights that would keep commodities moving. Thanks to those efforts, United Cargo has delivered millions of items to countries all around the world. We would not have been successful without the steadfast support of our employees, industry partners and our customers.”
Whilst United will continue to operate cargo-only flights for as long as they are required, it is also optimistic regarding its summer schedule. It recently published a plethora of 26 domestic connections, expecting the pandemic to be over by the summer, and U.S. citizens starting to plan holidays again. United’s VP of Domestic Network Planning, Ankit Gupta said: “In the past few weeks, we have seen the strongest flight bookings since the start of the pandemic. As we rebuild our schedule to meet that demand, adding in seasonal point-to-point flying is just one of the ways we are finding opportunities to add new and exciting service. And as we have done throughout the entire pandemic, we will continue being nimble and strategic with our network to add the right service to the destinations our customers want to visit.”
cargo-partner expands to North Macedonia
MAR21 saw the opening of a new cargo-partner office – this time its first in Skopje, North Macedonia, just weeks after it opened its first UK office. The latest addition expands cargo-partner’s Southeast Europe presence, and offers a comprehensive range of transport services by air, sea, and road, all connecting to the SEE logistics network. Customers in Skopje will have access to regular consolidation services from Skopje to Pristina in Kosovo, Podgorica in Montenegro, Tirana in Albania and Thessaloniki in Greece. Over the years, cargo-partner has built up business in Bulgaria (since 2003), where it inaugurated an iLogistics Center in Sofia in 2018, and Belgrade, Serbia, (2004). Skopje will also connect to those two logistics centers. Regular connections between North Macedonia and Turkey as well as Austria are currently being set up.
Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, explained: “Following the growing demand of our customers in this region, the opening of our office in Skopje was the natural next step in our company's growth. This perfectly complements our established hubs in Serbia and Bulgaria and further strengthens our position in this part of Europe. The new office in Skopje will allow us to better leverage North Macedonia's strategic position in the Balkans. For sea freight shipments, our clients benefit from fast access to Thessaloniki, while our dense road transport network is the ideal basis for distribution throughout Europe. Our experienced team can provide end-to-end solutions from a single source, including in-depth knowledge of customs procedures for shipments to and from the EU.”
Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
These reindeer did not have to tow a rotund, elderly, bearded gentleman, and a huge sack of gifts through the air. They got to travel in style, instead, on board of an AirBridgeCargo freighter. The four reindeer, each with the luxury of its own dedicated cage, were part of an exchange program between Russia’s Moscow Zoo – (incidentally, jointly the 11th oldest zoo in the world - founded in the same year as New York’s Central Park zoo, in 1864 - though still a youngster against Vienna, Austria’s Schönbrunn zoo which takes first place in the ranking, having opened in 1752) - and Germany’s Wuppertal Zoo (founded 1881). Weighing in at 150 kilos each, they flew from Moscow to Frankfurt last week, in the safe hands of experienced live animals cargo carrier, AirBridgeCargo, and in cooperation with Astra Brokers. According to ABC’s press release, animal shipments increased during the pandemic as “more customers called on air cargo when it came to animals’ transportation to keep the agricultural program going, to support zoo exchange programs and equine sports events.”
Peter Novozhenov, Regional Director, Russia and CIS, stated: “We have transported deer previously, which has its special aspects the carrier needs to be aware of. The whole journey, which has been organized under IATA LAR and customer’s requirements, went smoothly and the animals feel safe and comfortable right now. I would like to thank our local team for their great contribution and teamwork. In 2020 we favored a significant increase in animals’ transportation meeting the growing demand from the customers and we will keep on sharpening our expertise in this sector to guarantee high-quality service.”
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