WestJet goes Full Cargo, too
WestJet has decided to launch a new dedicated cargo service from next year, with a fleet of 737-800 Boeing Converted Freights (BCF). How many of these aircraft it will deploy, is not disclosed, but the first one is planned to take off by the second quarter of 2022. The fleet, which will grow throughout that year, will complement WestJet’s existing Cargo business, and the particular aircraft type has been chosen for its flexible, quick loading and turn-around characteristics, its greater fuel efficiency, and to meet the demands of WestJet’s cargo customers. “WestJet Cargo routes and scheduled services will accommodate the diverse needs of cargo customers using WestJet's existing network and highly skilled 737 pilots,” the press release reads.
“Our new dedicated commercial cargo aircraft are a natural evolution of the competitive guest services WestJet has successfully provided over our 25-year history,” said Charles Duncan, WestJet, Executive Vice-President, Cargo and President, Swoop. He added: “WestJet Cargo will enhance economic benefits through competitive product for shippers as well as new employment opportunities.”
The press release points to the airline’s website to find out more about those employment opportunities, as WestJet expands.
Ed Sims, WestJet’s President and CEO, who recently announced that he will be stepping down at the end of 2021 after four successful years at the helm (including growing the airline’s cargo business), and returning to his family in New Zealand, underlined: “Since our inception, 25 years ago, our collective goal at WestJet has been to provide competitive prices and superior service levels. As we launch our dedicated cargo service, into a market that maintains an even greater need for competitive choice than what we saw in 1996, it is our commitment to provide customers with more choice, decreased costs and exceptional customer service.”
The airline’s connection with its customers can also be felt in a true tear-jerker of a passenger ad that Ed Sims posted on LinkedIn recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfyv2MMyr48 : a sentiment that many of us can probably relate all too well to.
Cainiao bringing to-door services to Africa
Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s logistics subsidiary, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network last week announced the launch of its first China-Africa air cargo connection, and has set itself the goal of providing efficient door-to-door delivery services to the African continent. Offering more than six flights a week between Hong Kong, China, and Lagos, Nigeria, the new, direct route slashes delivery times by two-thirds. The press release states “as fast as 20 days [sic]. Prior to that, it took over 60 days [sic] as the flight has to transit in the Middle East.”
“The newly launched air route is a further expansion of Cainiao’s global cross-border parcel network and demonstrates our ability to leverage industry partnerships to aggregate resources to mitigate disruptions while enhancing overall logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics. “Together with local logistics partners, we strive to provide African consumers with efficient door-to-door delivery services, with the aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future.”
That cross-border e-commerce business has seen a 163% year-on-year growth rate (MAY21 compared to MAY20), with Nigeria being the largest African e-commerce customer for China in 2019, with South Africa and Egypt following in second and third places.
And the trend continues: key emerging market, Africa, as the number one trading partner for China since that last 11 years, with its strong demand for Chinese-produced clothes, home appliances and electronic accessories, is predicted to grow to an e-commerce market valued at US$34.6 billion by 2024. That translates into an average annual growth rate of 17.1% - well above the global average. This year already, trade between China and Africa grew by 26.9% in the first quarter, to US$52.1 billion.
Silk Way West Airlines is certified cool
Silk Way West Airlines has successfully achieved its Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification following a strict audit carried out by the external Global Cold Chain Consultants company, and is thus poised to take on the global pharmaceutical logistics market. The GDP, which is aligned to standards stipulated by the European Union and recommended by the World Health Organization confirms the airline’s quality in its handling and storage processes when dealing with time- and temperature-sensitive cargo.
The certification is a key milestone in endorsing Silk Way West Airline’s competencies and paves the way for a strategic move to grow its market share in the transportation of medical and pharmaceutical goods.
“Silk Way West Airlines’ internal procedures have been upgraded in accordance with GDP principles, and the company’s entire staff has been appropriately trained. Moreover, the carrier conducted a thermal mapping of its fleet and the extensive temperature-controlled storage facilities at its main hub in Baku to ensure the integrity of these processes,” the press release underlines.
Mr. Wolfgang Meier, CEO and President of Silk Way West Airlines, emphasized: “Obtaining the GDP certification proves the readiness of Silk Way West Airlines in taking a leading role in global distribution of medical supplies.”
Mr. Aydin Huseynov, Silk Way West Airlines’ Vice President for Global Cargo Logistics & Standards, added: “We believe that these efforts focused on ensuring the highest standards in logistics will take the company to the next level in management of time- and temperature-sensitive goods.”
Aside from the obvious Covid-19 vaccine shipments currently ongoing, pharmaceutical is a growing industry with an ever-increasing focus on standardized, high quality levels.
Ditching the crystal ball for FourKites’ Dynamic ETA® for Air
The world’s leading real-time supply chain visibility platform, FourKites®, incepted in 2015 and focused on road, sea, and air shipment visibility, launched its latest AI-powered innovation last week. Called “Dynamic ETA® for Air”, it is marketed as the “Industry-First ETA Solution for Air Freight” and uses Artificial Intelligence to define highly accurate ETAs for 100% of air shipments.
The shipment visibility function is available to shippers, carriers, and 3PLs, and promises a solution to an area of the supply chain that, until now, has often proved very difficult to track correctly – and this, despite air cargo generally being an expensive and time-critical channel given its complex set-up: “Shipping via air has been estimated to cost 4-5X that of road transport, and as much as 16X that of ocean,” the press release underlines. It goes on to point out that: “ETAs for air shipments have only been available 40% of the time and could be off by as much as two days, creating myriad downstream logistical and customer service issues. By leveraging the latest and most advanced machine learning algorithms and knowledge graphs, FourKites’ Dynamic ETA for Air provides ETAs on 100% of air freight, and is accurate to within 9 hours.”
With the delays in ocean freight over the past year, air cargo has often been used as an alternative and this is also reflected in FourKites’ figures: It reports a 97% growth in air loads tracked from 2020 to 2021. The platform, too, is growing (+40% quarter over quarter) and now supports over 100 airlines and 17,000 airports.
“When it comes to rapidly transporting critical goods, no other mode can compete with air,” FourKites CEO and Founder Mathew Elenjickal, stated. “Our announcement today [24JUN21] of Dynamic ETA for Air means that shippers, carriers and 3PLs can now enjoy greater ROI — not to mention peace of mind — from their significant investments in this critical mode of transport.”
Peace of mind, greater supply chain efficiencies and less time and financial investment in sorting out problems. FourKites reports 2 x higher customer satisfaction scores through their use of Dynamic ETA.
Envirotainer’s Releye® RLP heads out to the Middle East
Having launched in the U.S. and Asia in recent weeks, Envirotainer has now signed on two Middle East customers. Qatar Airways approved the container, and has taken on 16 temperature-controlled container leasing options, adding to Envirotainer's RAP and RKN, which it has been offering pharma clients since 2014. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways said, “We are committed to provide our customers the best solutions. A seamless cool chain is paramount to maintain the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and we are pleased to offer our customers a technologically advanced container - Releye® RLP with live monitoring and intelligent cargo protection to transport their critical life science and health care shipments at the required temperature across our global network. Such an innovation is the need of the hour, especially in these uncertain times of the pandemic.”
Emirates, too, has opted for the new, intelligent container: “Emirates SkyCargo has been leading the airfreight industry in the transportation of temperature sensitive goods. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to fly hundreds of tons of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other critical shipments every day on our aircraft. As a customer focused organization, we are always looking to offer the best in market equipment to complement our fit for purpose GDP certified infrastructure for the transportation of critical temperature sensitive commodities. Integrating the Envirotainer Releye® RLP container into our portfolio allows us to expand the range of solutions we offer to our customers and set a new standard for secure cold chain transport at a time when the biopharma industry is looking for groundbreaking solutions,” said Henrik Ambak, Emirates Senior Vice President, Cargo Operations Worldwide.
Another dozen ATSG leases for Amazon Air
The first of 12 new converted 767-300 freighters joined the fleet in MAY20, already, another 11 are on their way this year, bringing the airline’s fleet size to more than 80 aircraft, and adding even greater autonomy through the expansion of Amazon’s own, dedicated air cargo network. The aircraft, which will be leased from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), are all part of the company’s strategy to ensure that shifting customer requirements are met, and fast, free delivery processes are secured. The pandemic triggered massive growth in online shopping and in addition to e-commerce deliveries, Amazon Air also “played a central role during the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting essential PPE supplies for Amazon associates, frontline health workers and relief organizations across the U.S.”, the press release reads, going on to state: “Now, with expanded cargo capacity to come, Amazon will continue to meet evolving demand and a growing customer base.” Alongside its fleet expansion, Amazon is also strategically expanding its ground operations, with its central Amazon Air Hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport due to open in 2021, and new Regional Air Hubs being opened at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florida later this summer, and at San Bernardino International Airport next year. MAY21 saw Gateway operations commence at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air, said: “Amazon Air is critical to ensuring fast delivery for our customers – both in the current environment we are facing, and beyond. During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need without leaving their homes, expanding our dedicated air network ensures we have the capacity to deliver what our customers want: great selection, low prices and fast shipping speeds.”
Rich Corrado, President and CEO of ATSG, stated: “We are proud to continue to evolve our partnership with Amazon to support the fast, free delivery for which they are famous. Our combined experience in the industry and access to a fleet of 767 cargo aircraft make us an ideal partner to support the growth of Amazon Air’s fleet.”
Aero Africa launches digital African rate platform
When Asia and the Middle East collaborate to launch a digital solution for Africa, that is true international spirit. The Hong Kong-based neutral air cargo solutions group, Aero Africa, has – in collaboration with U.A.E.-based digital transformation provider, Hashmove, unveiled its digital airfreight rate and consolidation platform which serves the African freight and logistics community. From JUN21 onwards, beginning in South Africa, freight forwarders and logistics companies will have exclusive access to instant air freight wholesale rates, consolidation schedules, and be able to make digital bookings from major global hubs to 84 airports in Africa.
Jade Da Costa, CCO of Aero Africa explained: “Combining our extensive experience and expertise in air freight, with Hashmove’s technological capabilities, will open up new and innovative ways for African logistics providers to conduct airfreight business, which will transform traditional notions of efficiency and routes to market. This is the first of many initiatives we are planning to release this year, which will bring enhanced value to the African logistics community as a whole. Aero Africa operates neutral scheduled air freight consolidations services from Asia and Europe to selected gateways in Africa. The portal will enable us to effectively digitize the air cargo logistics B2B community, and to provide full visibility and transparency to our client’s airfreight import business. The platform has been built tailored to the needs of the African logistics market, taken into consideration every small detail of the air freight procurement and consolidation management model at each gateway and African destination.”
Abdur Rehman Co-Founder and EVP Engineering of HashMove added: “Making a consolidation platform for Air Cargo is not an easy task, but thanks to the in-depth understanding of building a Logistics Platform by our team, we have done it in record time. The HashMove Engineering team has worked very hard on the complete digital transformation of the Aero Africa network and its operations. Freight Forwarders globally can now get 'exclusive and instant access' to millions of Air Cargo rates into Africa on the new Aero Africa platform powered by HashMove.”
Cargo to come to Chennault International Airport
The idea of a cargo facility at Chennault International Airport has apparently been around at least since 2012. Almost 10 years and an expected budget of around 4 million USD later, that idea is on the brink of becoming reality. Last week, the ground was broken, signaling the start of construction on the airport’s new 3,000 m² air cargo facility. Denis Rau, President of the Board of Commissioners at Chennault was ecstatic: “I kind of woke up today and said, I can’t believe this is actually happening. So many people have worked hard to make it happen over decades, and it will offer growth, it will offer all new kinds of opportunities that we’ve never seen here. It’s a new line of business.”
A vision shared by David Whitaker, the DVW Aviation Advisor brought in last year by the airport to discuss air cargo prospects. He outlines the benefits: “Landing fees would be generated by the activity that comes here, there are jobs associated with the activity that we’re pursuing, and a number of ripple-down effects with this activity, so it’s an economic move.” He also points out that the time to head into cargo is just right given that “there are not enough airplanes in the world actually right now to move all the air cargo and meet the demand, so airplanes sitting in the desert have been resurrected. Companies are looking to buy new planes, all to move cargo.” Somewhat blue-eyed, given the backlog in freighters and conversions.
The airport has its sights set on overflow from nearby Houston, the USA’s 18th largest cargo airport. Denise Rau stresses: “We have talked at conferences and all of these places with industry leaders about why Lake Charles should be a place for air cargo. It just makes sense, you know, Houston’s a busy, busy airport, and they fly around in a queue for a while trying to get that cargo down here. Here you buzz in, buzz out.”
That buzzing won’t be happening until this time next year, at best, if the ongoing pandemic crisis does not cause further supply shortages. It will be interesting to see how the (undisclosed) business case works out.
“The Lads” fly Pacific Air Cargo
Fans of Magnum P.I. will be familiar with “The Lads” – Jonathan Higgins’ two Doberman Pincher guard hounds wearing diamond collars, and who were not particularly fond of Magnum, himself. These (second generation, it must be admitted) two Gods/dogs, Zeus and Apollo, recently flew on board of a Pacific Air Cargo (PAC) flight from Honolulu back to the set in Los Angeles. They belong to veteran Hollywood animal trainer and coordinator (27 years in the business), Sue Chipperton, who then launched her own company, Check the Gate, in 2014. Check the Gate provides trained animals for film and television within and outside Hawaii. Her role as studio trainer has taken Sue Chipperton to a number of international destinations such as Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chile, Hungary, Mexico, and Canada, and she has been involved in training animals for series such as Magnum P.I. and Hawaii 5-0, films projects that include Finding Ohana, A Simple Man, Hobbs and Shaw, and advertisements: The Taco Bell Dog, the Aflac Duck, and training the puppies for the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials.
“It’s been a complete joy to work with Sue Chipperton over the years,” Paul Skellon, Pacific Air Cargo Director of Marketing, stated. “As a company of pet lovers, we are proud that Sue always entrusts us to handle her precious animal cargo!”
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