Tokyo Olympics gives another boost to Liege’s flying horses business
Over the last few weeks, Liege Airport’s Horse Inn has once again delivered as an important gateway for the transport of horses for the Tokyo Olympics. This type of specialised services has not ceased in COVID-19 times, says Air & Ground Services Manager Eric Gysen. It took 8 chartered Emirates Cargo flights to fly 247 horses to Haneda, Japan. The intital ‘consignment’ of 36 was the first full cargo load of horses ever to land at Haneda. Another 8 flights will take the horses back to LGG. According to Mr Gysen, this will add considerably specialized traffic. “In pre-Covid times, we ship some 5,000 horses a year,” Mr Gysen says.
The horses all had to pass through the airport’s Horse Inn facility, which was opened in 2016 after a € 2.6 million investment. Before the trip, some of the horses ridden by Belgian competitors went through test and training sessions at the Liege University to assess their performance in Tokyo’s geographical and climatological conditions. On board, the horses travel in flying stables that can accommodate 2 animals each. They are accompanied by flying grooms and an on-board veterinarian.
Yet the pandemic too appears to have brought unexpected opportunities, Mr Gysen adds. “Due to a strict ban imposed by the Canadian authorities, no grooms were granted access to Canada during the crisis. They had to be diverted to the US, where the grooms could quarantine before being allowed to enter Canada. As a result, this traffic shifted from other airports to Liege, which has direct connections to New York and Chicago.”
Marcel Schoeters in Liege
Lufthansa Cargo’s ‘LCCevolution’ tackles the stacker
Speed and efficiency are key – especially in a busy cargo hub such as Frankfurt/Main Airport, which sees a great deal of Road Feeder (RFS) traffic. To this end, Lufthansa Cargo’s comprehensive, modular ‘LCCevolution’ infrastructure modernization program (running until 2029) is now looking at bringing its twenty-year-old RFS stacker (high-rack storage system) up to par. Contracts were signed this week with Vollert Anlagenbau and Körber, who will be carrying out the modernization of the RFS stacker’s mechanical, control, and IT systems in the second quarter of 2022, and Miebach Consulting who is supporting Lufthansa Cargo in planning the project. Preparations for the construction of the new central high-rack storage system have already begun, parallel to the new construction of the art warehouse. Two stacker cranes will be replaced by new technology, and the moving truck docks used in the loading and unloading of ULD trucks are to be modernized.
Harald Gloy, Lufthansa Cargo’s COO and Chief Human Resources Officer stated: “The modernization of the RFS stacker is another important component of the extensive infrastructure program for the logistics center at the Frankfurt site. In the future, our Road Feeder Services customers will benefit from shorter turnaround times and more efficient handling of transports by truck. With the help of a modern IT environment, we are ensuring the adaptability of the high-rack storage system with regard to upcoming technological developments.”
Vollert Anlagenbau’s CEO, Hans-Jörg Vollert, commented: “We are very pleased to be involved in this important and sophisticated infrastructure project for Lufthansa Cargo. We bring our entire experience of almost 100 years in intralogistics concepts in the heavy-duty sector to the table.”
Dirk Hejnal, CEO Körber Business Area Supply Chain, underlined: “Körber's extensive experience in the supply chain technology - in this case in the fields of retrofit, automation and software - allows us to provide Lufthansa Cargo with a tailored solution for this project. With this, the cargo airline can fulfill the high expectations of today and tomorrow and deliver better customer service.”
Leipzig Airport: Staake leaves
Erich Staake, the long-serving chairman of the supervisory board of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG (Leipzig + Dresden), is resigning from his post on 27AUG21.
The manager's withdrawal does not come as a surprise. As CargoForwarder reported on 11APR21, Staake had been heavily criticized by media and the public for blatantly violating COVID-19 vaccination rules in force in Germany earlier this year. Though not in the age group entitled to be vaccinated, he queue-jumped and secured himself two shots in the arm in JAN21. Since his queue jumping became known, the industrial leader has come under fire because of his selfish behavior to the detriment of the 80+ age group. He only admitted his wrongdoing after the press had published details.
At that time, neither the management of Leipzig Airport nor the stakeholders commented on the misconduct of their supervisory board chairman.
Now, after the 67-year-old had announced his resignation, Hartmut Vorjohann, Finance Minister of the State of Saxony, representing all public shareholders and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, praised Staake “for his many years of commitment to the successful development of MFAG, which is and will continue to be decisively linked to Erich Staake's work.”
This “work” has not been without controversy, however, as shown by ongoing investigations regarding false or incorrect expense claims.
Meanwhile, the discussion about his successor has begun. Local media mention two names in this context: Michael Kerkloh and Eric Malitzke.
Kerkloh, for example, is currently a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Lufthansa, following his retirement as Head of Munich Airport at the end of 2019, due to age reasons.
Eric Malitzke, who himself used to be Managing Director of Leipzig Airport before moving to DHL Express, later to Amazon, and then to logistics player, Fiege Group, is currently Germany boss of express and parcel service provider, DPD.
As for Staake, he is also giving up another high and lucrative post: The 67-year-old is stepping down as Head of the Duisburg port company on 31JUL21, six months prior to the expiration of his working contract.
Duisport is the largest inland port in Europe in terms of tonnage handled.
DACHSER expands charters to LATAM, celebrates 50 years’ swap body
Over the past 2 months, DACHSER Air & Sea has arranged 8 flights from Hong Kong to Mexico via Canada and intends to continue its new charter service in August, too, given ongoing high demand and tight capacity. “Apart from a brief drop in March, the air freight market is on a stable uptrend, which is reflected in consistently high demand,” Timo Stroh, Head of Global Air Freight at DACHSER, outlined. “Since we expect it’ll be a long time before belly capacity goes back up, charter activities are and will remain crucial if we are to offer our customers stable network capacity and reliable transit times.” Over 100 such charter activities have been organized so far this year, regularly serving 12 different departure airports and 15 different receiving airports.
Dachser is currently also celebrating an invention that lifted its standing from a regular carrier to an international logistics provider, and resulted in a revamp in its processes, corporate culture, and business model, rendering it both expert and leader in logistics. The invention was the swap body – a maritime shipping container with legs, that could be swapped easily from sea to road freight use. It was invented as a concept in the late 1960s by Thomas Dachser’s son-in-law, Thomas Simon, and the first swap body was developed in collaboration with the Kögel Trailer company in 1971. Within just 3 years, Dachser had converted its entire fleet to the new transport container – 350 in total in 1972. The swap body system was standardized in 1980, and by 2020, the fleet had grown to 8,000. It revolutionized logistics. “The best innovations are those that succeed across the whole industry—and that’s what’s at the heart of this success story,” Dr. Andreas Froschmayer, Corporate Director Corporate Strategy & Public Relations at Dachser, underlined. “Innovations have always been the key to long-term success. They help improve process quality, reduce costs, and overcome new market and customer challenges.” Another such innovation which Dachser is working on, alongside the swap bodies, is the conversion of its entire semi-trailer fleet in its European Logistics Business Line to “mega trailers”, which offer more interior space. “We want to be the first major groupage provider in Europe to use mega trailers instead of standard semi-trailers,” Alexander Tonn, COO Road Logistics at Dachser, emphasized.
cargo-partner improving Northeast Europe warehouses
cargo-partner is investing in upgrading three of its warehouses due to ever-growing demand: the iLogistics Center Brwinów near Warsaw (Poland), Dunajská Streda near Bratislava (Slovakia), and Dobrovíz near Prague (Czech Republic). Brwinów’s iLogistics center was expanded by 3000 m² in JUN21, bringing its total storage space to 11,000 m². Milan Lani, Corporate Director Product Management Contract Logistics at cargo-partner, stated: “Thanks to its location in the center of the country, our iLogistics Center Brwinów is an ideal hub for distribution throughout Poland and many other European destinations. The close proximity to Warsaw Airport also makes it a strategic point for international airfreight. The 3,000 m² we have now added to the facility are dedicated to cross-docking activities and bulk storage.” At the same time, cargo-partner Poland become IFS Logistics and GDP certified, and is working towards its HACCP certification – not just in Brwinów, but also for its iLogistics Center Zory, near Katowice, Poland.
Over in Slovakia, the recently expanded iLogistics Center in Dunajská Streda was again improved with the addition of 5,200 more pallet slots. Milan Lani continued: “This investment will help us to utilize the full 14.5 m clear height of the warehouse hall and to increase the number of pallet slots per square meter. The expansion will be divided into two phases: During the first phase, we are increasing our capacities by 3,600 pallet slots, and we have also obtained two new forklifts. The second phase will be realized at the beginning of September and will consist of 1,600 pallet slots operated by one new forklift.”
In the Czech Republic, the focus is on strengthening cargo-partner’s foodstuffs expertise. Here, the investment was the acquisition of the Czech company Gibon Logistics on 01JUN21. Milan Lani explains: “Gibon Logistics offers unique fulfillment solutions for refrigerated food shipments. This will allow us to provide our customers with tailor-made services for any shipment size, from single pieces up to pallets. In addition, we now operate a smaller refrigerated warehouse in Brno, which serves as a cross-docking hub for the Moravian region. In combination with our main warehouse in Dobrovíz near Prague Airport, we can achieve ideal coverage of the Czech Republic. As the next step in our ongoing development, we are working on setting up a frozen storage area (-5 to -15 °C) within our iLogistics Center Prague.”
To go where no European airline has gone before
It has been a month of maiden voyages and while flight 4Y134 did not go anywhere near the Kármán line, nor entertain any (known) billionaires on board, it was a flight with a difference, nonetheless. Piloted by the new company’s CEO, Wolfgang Raebiger, flight 4Y134 was the inaugural flight of Lufthansa’s latest group member: Eurowings Discover. Taking off from Frankfurt at 19:45 on 24JUL21, the Airbus 330-200 headed to Zanzibar, stopping over in Mombasa for an hour en route – a premiere in the history of aviation, since “Eurowings Discover is the only European airline currently offering direct flights to Mombasa,” the press release underlines. Eurowings Discover, with its flight code 4Y, is the Lufthansa Group’s new leisure airline, and received its Air Operator Certificate from the German Federal Aviation Authority on 16JUN21. The airline’s mission is two-fold: to take passengers to the most beautiful areas on earth, and to make each flight a high-quality experience (in a variety of classes.) In addition to Mombasa and Zanzibar, Eurowings Discover will commence services from Frankfurt to Punta Cana from 09AUG21, Windhoek (10AUG21), Las Vegas (30SEP21), Mauritius (01OCT21), Bridgetown (01NOV21), Cancún (also 01NOV21), Varadero (02NOV21), and Montego Bay (03NOV21). From NOV21 onwards, the winter schedule will also include “attractive medium-haul routes” such as to “the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Tenerife, as well as to Hurghada and Marsa Alam in Egypt, and Marrakech in Morocco.” It will commence short, medium and long-haul flights ex Munich from Summer 2022 onwards, too.
The lower deck capacity of the long-haul flights operated by the newcomer is marketed by Lufthansa Cargo. "The integration of the freight capacities of Eurowings Discover makes the offer even more attractive for our customers," emphasises Ashwin Bhat, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo. "The increasing frequencies ideally complement our existing connections and help our customers in times of still scarce capacities."
Aramex and DB Schenker sign strategic MoU for MEA region
Dubai-based, leading global logistics and transport solutions provider, Aramex, has signed a strategic MoU with German DB Schenker. The two companies aim to accelerate their expansion plans regarding freight-forwarding solutions in Abu Dhabi and the MEA region. While DB Schenker benefits from Aramex’s local network and expertise and expand its company presence in the MEA region, Aramex will profit from DB Schenker’s international network and vertical markets experience. Until now, Aramex has mainly dealt with Oil and Gas, but aims to diversify given the changes in the energy sector over the past years. In focus are, for example, aerospace, defense, infrastructure, and healthcare industries.
Othman Aljeda, Chief Executive Officer of Aramex, said: “This is a very exciting strategic partnership that has the potential to unlock more value for existing customers while also enabling us to realize our commercial and diversification goals. By joining forces with DB Schenker, a global logistics company we regard as truly complementary to ours in the region, we will accelerate the realization of our goals in the freight forwarding business. Our alliance will enable Aramex to become a stronger, more competitive player in the sea and air freight forwarding services in Abu Dhabi and other core markets. While we are working on the partnership agreement and will update the market in due course on our final agreement, on behalf of the Aramex team, I look forward to working alongside the DB Schenker team.”
Christopher Smith, Chief Executive Officer of DB Schenker, Middle East & Africa, said: “At DB Schenker, we recognize the immense opportunities emanating from Abu Dhabi and the MEA region. We believe our alliance with Aramex was a natural choice given their history, expertise, knowledge, and extensive network in the region. I am confident that together, we will be able to grow our footprint in Abu Dhabi and the wider MEA region. We are excited about this expansion plan, and we look forward to realizing synergies and scaling our operations in the region to serve our existing major accounts and new potential clients more comprehensively.”
Swissport pilots Lödige Industries’ Automated Guided Vehicle
Lödige Industries’ latest innovation is a 10-foot Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) capable of carrying 6,800 kg in the shape of various ULDs, including 15-foot containers, and can cover distances of 60 to 300 meters. It replaces the need for slave pallets and other equipment, such as fixed ground transportation routes, used to manually transport ULDs. An omnidirectional drive system in conjunction with a secure laser scanning system allows the AGV to navigate around any obstructions and renders it highly flexible. “The AGV's data-based control gives users full control over operations and allows the integration into a warehouse management system for execution of fully automated transport commands. Within the terminal, the AGV connects several strategic handover positions. These include the roller decks of the fully automated Material Handling System (MHS), the pharmaceutical area, the truck dock and other stations,” the release explains.
Swissport will be piloting Lödige Industries’ first AGV at its new cargo terminal in Frankfurt Airport from NOV21, as part of its move to more innovation in cargo handling. The AGV will enable an increase in productivity, efficiency, better use of human resources as well as warehouse space. The project is part of Swissport’s plan to run automated 24/7 operations. The AGV is permanently available since it runs on a lithium-ion battery system and an inductive charging station. Lödige Industries was already responsible for other automated systems in Swissport’s new 17,000 m² facility which was constructed last year – such as its cargo handling system including automated storage and retrieval systems. These were already constructed with the integration of the future AGV in mind.
“The new AGV is an important addition to Swissport's state-of-the-art facility in Frankfurt, significantly improving the safety, efficiency and flexibility of their processes,” Björn Ussat, Director Airport Logistics Solutions at Lödige Industries, explained. “Swissport is the first user of our extensively tested AGV. Having equipped Swissport's terminal with a cargo handling system, we can now support their ambitious plans for an even higher level of automation within the terminal with a reliable and efficient new product that will now prove its performance under demanding conditions.”
The first TECH Summer event hosted by CargoAi
The pandemic has catapulted the need for cargo digitalization, yet the topic can appear complex and costly for those not acquainted with the latest technological developments. CargoAi has therefore responded to an industry need for greater clarity and is launching its first TECH Summer event which will run from 03-05AUG21. It will be held online and is open to all who are interested. The TECH Summer event will address ways in which air cargo stakeholders can elevate their digitalization activities through the use of easy-to-apply tools and strategies. CargoAi team members along with representatives from its Board of Advisors, industry and tech experts will moderate and discuss topics in three areas: Tech (“Get behind the cloud and the hottest 3-letter code (API)”), Product (“The best way to build a product in unchartered skies”) and Marketing & Sales (“The power to make waves (the good ones) for your business”).
“At CargoAi, our raison d'être has always been to digitalize air freight in a simple and human way. This Tech Summer is the concrete manifestation of this desire. Our ambition is to make Tech accessible to everyone by providing advice, explanations, and a platform for exchanging best practices on the subject”, Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi, explains the event’s aim of reducing the complexity and distance to digital topics. Interested parties can sign up on: www.cargoai.co/techsummer.
Kuehne+Nagel inaugurates new QuickSTAT facility in Singapore
QuickSTAT is a Kuehne+Nagel subsidiary focused on pharma and healthcare. It is specialized in time and temperature shipping of clinical research samples, biologics, investigational drugs, clinical trial supplies and vaccines in order to help bring new drugs and medical protocols to market safely and quickly. QuickSTAT recently opened a new control tower and conditioning in Singapore for time-critical clinical trial logistics, thus improving specialized services in Asia Pacific. Jack Liu, Senior Vice President, Air Logistics of Kuehne+Nagel Asia Pacific said: “Kuehne+Nagel is delighted to partner with QuickSTAT to provide seamless end-to-end solutions, adding value to our pharma and healthcare customers in Asia Pacific. With the ISO-certified and GxP compliant facility that upholds the best practices for storage, conditioning, transportation, routings and logistics – I am confident that we will consistently deliver product integrity and patient safety.”
Cyril Leger, Executive Vice President of QuickSTAT, added: “We are committed to providing innovative and customized logistics as well as transportation solutions to meet the ever-challenging demands of the pharma, biotech and life science industry, in all regions of the world. By continuing to expand our global footprint to locations of strategic importance, we are able to provide local and global support for Kuehne+Nagel and QuickSTAT customers.”
The press release points out the strategic benefit of Singapore as the location to best serve the rest of Asia and outlines the facility’s main functions: to “provide superior management of cell and gene therapies” with “proper handling, packaging, and storage of the time-and-temperature sensitive products. Additionally, the facility includes a controlled-ambient warehouse and in-transit storage for vaccines, investigational drugs, patient clinical specimens and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API).”
In other news last week, Kuehne+Nagel disclosed that it had more than doubled its earnings in the first half of 2021, recording significant volume growth through its customized, combined sea and air freight solutions, as well as growing pharma, essential goods, and e-commerce transports. “Air freight volumes in the first half of 2021 were up 44% on the same period last year at 988,000 tons. Net turnover was CHF 4.0 billion and EBIT CHF 406 million. The conversion rate was 42.3%.”
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