The thirty-nine steps… to digital expansion
From 23AUG21, another 39 countries in Qatar Airways Cargo’s network will go live on WebCargo by Freightos. In line with its core strategic focus on digitalization and efficient, customer-focused processes (such as dynamic pricing, automatic quotations, seamless integration, and enhanced reporting, for example), the airline began offering its capacity on the third-party online booking platform in FEB21, initially launching across France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, and the Netherlands, quickly expanding to more European countries, and – in JUL21 – including its online destinations in the USA; too. The latest expansion wave brings the total number of countries offered in Qatar Airways Cargo’s network on WebCargo to 72, enabling customers instant access to capacity and live rates from online and offline origins in those countries. The only countries not included are: Algeria, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China (except Beijing), Colombia, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Macau SAR, Namibia, Nigeria, Russia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sudan, Uganda.
Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Mr. Guillaume Halleux stated: “Within a short span of six months, we will complete our global rollout of WebCargo by Freightos on 23AUG21, and I am proud of all our teams who have worked dedicatedly all these months to ensure a successful implementation. At Qatar Airways Cargo, the customer is at the core of all our activities and we will continue actively with our digitalization initiatives for the benefit of our customers.”
Mr. Zvi Schreiber, Freightos Group CEO, added: “Qatar Airways Cargo has been working closely with us to bring digitalization and transparency to as many freight forwarders as possible since their launch of WebCargo by Freightos earlier this year. We are proud to now be expanding our partnership to include an additional 39 countries, allowing key markets such as India, Japan, and Latin America direct access to real-time pricing, capacity, and eBookings on the world's largest cargo airline.”
There’s a new Swedish cargo model on the runway
“No Window Seats” is emblazoned across the svelte aircraft’s side. Instead, this popular passenger plane, the Saab 340B+, has now been kitted out to carry just over 4.2 tons in its 36 m³ cargo hold and is the first of its kind worldwide to have been converted to a freighter. The conversion was carried out by C&L Aviation Services (part of the C&L Aviation Group) at its Maine, USA-based MRO facility. This global premiere is planned to be repeated another five times as per an agreement signed by Legends Airways, the aircraft’s operator, and C&L. The additional 5 conversions of the Saab 340B+ production serial numbers 340-360 to 340-459, will be completed in 2021 and 2022. “We came to C&L not only because they had the aircraft inventory we needed, but also because they have the in-depth knowledge and experience needed to support the Saab 340,” Jon Hierl, CEO of Legends Airways, explained. “It just made sense to partner with the world’s leader in Saab 340 sales and support.” He refers to C&L’s leading aftermarket Saab sales and support services over the past 20 years, which include heavy maintenance, aircraft paint, avionics upgrades, structural modifications, engineering support, and interior refurbishment. In addition to the conversions, C&L will also be supporting Legends with parts and technical expertise.
The cargo conversion was carried out using an EASA- and FAA-approved conversion kit provided by the 1989-incepted, Saab-focused, Swedish aircraft support and maintenance company, Täby Air Maintenance’s (TAM’s). C&L has worked with TAM as its conversion partner since 2018. “We have been pleased with the way this first B+ model project has come together”, said C&L CEO Chris Kilgour. Promoted as “an ideal aircraft for cargo operations”, the enterprising conversion mini-video on C&L’s website refers to the 340B+ as the “Best in Class – Price, Payload, Capacity”.
6 months ago, Everette Mash, Senior VP Aircraft Sales at C&L Aviation Group, was advertising a “Fleet of 12 Saab 340B+ sister ship aircraft in PAX or Freighters available for immediate sale”, on LinkedIn with the comment that this is the “perfect opportunity to acquire an entire aircraft fleet – starting at US$975,000.00”, so perhaps 6 are still available if the type fits into your fleet strategy.
Here comes the sun… roof
Gebrüder Weiss is increasing its production of solar power. The company’s Kalsdorf location in Graz, Austria, now has an impressive photovoltaic installation (PV - pictured) capable of generating over 460 megawatt hours of electricity every year, thus covering around 50% of the 27,000 m² logistics center’s energy requirements, while annually saving 36.8 tons in CO2 emissions in the process. In MAY21, CFG reported on four other locations: Nuremberg, Esslingen, and Aldingen in Germany, and Lauterach in Austria, that were also fitted with photovoltaic systems. According to its website, the company now has 9 such systems in operation and is able to generate almost 10% of its energy needs in the DACH region through solar power. This is used to power lighting, air-conditioning, and to charge e-floor conveyors.
Another four locations are planned to be fitted with solar installations before the end of this year, bringing the total number of PV installations to 13. They currently cover a total area 46,000 m², of which just over half is for own use, and the other half is rented roof space and for third-party use. The total annual electricity yield is 8,400 megawatt hours, which translates into an annual CO2 emissions savings of 1,050 tons – all in line with the company’s strategy of creating climate-neutral logistics facilities by gradually switching over to renewable energy sources. “The roof surfaces of our logistics centers are ideally suited for generating solar power, which is why we included energy-efficient and, by extension, climate-friendly, concepts when planning the new logistics terminal,” Markus Nigsch, Head of Facility Management at Gebrüder Weiss, explained.
Gebrüder Weiss plans to run all of its logistics facilities on renewable energy by 2030, and has consistently worked to achieve this goal since it started by implementing a wind farm in northern Germany in 2011. It has also recently begun operating various low-emission trucks powered by natural gas (LNG, CNG), electricity, or hydrogen (fuel cell).
IAI adding third P2F conversion site – this time in Ethiopia
“When I run in Ethiopia, I look out and see eucalyptus trees and rivers,” Haile Gebrselassie is quoted as saying. He’ll soon be spotting a Passenger to Freighter Conversion Site, too, since Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Aviation Group recently signed an agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to establish a conversion site for Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft. IAI's Executive VP and General Manager of Aviation Group, Yossi Melamed, explained the reason for a third conversion site to be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, complementing IAI’s existing locations at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel, and in Mexico: “We are witnessing a sharp rise in the demand for cargo aircraft as a result of the rise in e-commerce, which has peaked to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. IAI has an excellent reputation as a conversion center of passenger-to-freighters aircraft, and we are constantly receiving requests to open such conversion centers in more and more locations around the world. I am excited by the opening of the current center in Ethiopia, and thank my colleagues in Ethiopian Airlines for the trust they have put in IAI’s Aviation Group, as the world’s leader in conversions.”
The new conversion site will be located at Ethiopian Airlines' established, experienced, and ECAA, FAA, EASA-approved MRO Center, and “will be the largest and most advanced in Africa,” according to the press release, providing “solutions in the field of converting passenger aircraft to cargo configuration, aircraft maintenance and overhaul, staff training and guidance, as well as assistance in acquiring certification and licenses”. Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, stated: “In line with our Diversified Aviation Business Model of Vision 2025, we have been increasing our cargo capacity in fleet, ground service infrastructure and cargo connectivity network. Accordingly, we are partnering with IAI, one of the global technology leaders in the aerospace industry, in building a cargo conversion center in our MRO facilities in Addis Ababa Airport. The cargo conversion center will commence its first business with three Ethiopian Airlines owned B-767-300 aircraft. The cargo conversion center in ADD HUB airport will expand its services to all airlines in Africa and the wider region.”
Make it an Interexpresso!
Tomeu Mas, Senior Vice President Central & South America at Menzies Aviation said on LinkedIn: “We are beyond thrilled to announce the acquisition of a majority 51% stake in Interexpresso Costa Rica. Interexpesso, a trusted provider with presence in Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala will help Menzies Aviation to increase our footprint in an exciting growth market allowing us to stand out as world-class provider, bringing a solid alternative in the region,” echoing Philipp Joeinig, Chairman & CEO’s press statement: “I am pleased to announce our expansion in the Central American region. We have found a knowledgeable partner in Interexpresso and, working together, we will be able to open doors in new, attractive, higher margin and emerging markets in the region.”
With the acquisition of Costa Rica-headquartered, aviation service provider Interexpresso Costa Rica Corporación ILC, S.A. (“Interexpresso”), Menzies is expanding its footprint in the Central American growth market. Interexpresso provides cargo handling and aviation security services which include cargo document handling, cargo security screening, and aircraft access control. It operates in San Jose/Costa Rica, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Menzies plans to develop and expand Interexpresso’s services across the region. This latest joint venture brings three new countries to Menzies’ portfolio.
Menzies has been expanding over in Oceania, too where it won business contracts with Qantas and Jetstar not too long ago, and most recently with Virgin Australia in Australia. Starting in mid-OCT21, Menzies will provide ground services at Darwin (also air cargo services, there), Cairns and Queenstown, adding to existing handling contracts at Sydney, Melbourne, Kargoorlie, Perth, Brisbane, and Gold Coast airports. Altogether Menzies operates on behalf of Virgin Australia at 10 locations, handling around 8,000 flights and 6,500 tons of cargo each year.
JAS to buy Greencarrier Freight Services International
JAS Worldwide announced last week that a Share Purchase Agreement had been signed to acquire Greencarrier Freight Services International AB. It is the company’s fourth acquisition this year. The Atlanta, Georgia-based global freight forwarding services provider (founded in 1978 in Milan, Italy), is set to buy the freight forwarding, logistics, and supply chain management division of the Swedish Greencarrier Group (headquartered in Gothenburg and founded in 2000), once all regulatory approvals have been obtained from the relevant authorities. Greencarrier Freight Services International employs 800 staff across offices in 11 countries, and offers smart and sustainable logistic solutions and supply chain management services.
Marco Rebuffi, CEO of JAS, said, “Through the acquisition of Greencarrier Freight Services, JAS is making a strategic acquisition to add to its position in the Nordic, Baltic, and Eastern European regions and strengthen existing operations in UK and China. Our respective organizations have enjoyed a longstanding partnership, and we fully expect this to be a continuation of that great atmosphere of cooperation and shared entrepreneurial spirit.”
Mikael Forsberg, CEO of Greencarrier Freight Services, stated: “This is a great match of businesses, and we are excited to continue the journey with our long-term partner, JAS Worldwide. The two networks combined will enable us to offer our customers an even higher service level, broader solutions and access to a truly global network.” Stefan Björk, owner of Greencarrier AB, commented: “In an ever-evolving freight market it is my true belief, that scale, resilience and a multi-market approach will be key to more success in the future. That is why I am sincerely happy about handing over the torch to JAS Worldwide and the Greencarrier Freight Services leadership team to continue the good work and take care of our customers and employees.”
DSV moves into top three with GIL/Agility acquisition
What CFG published in APR21, has now been completed: DSV Panalpina A/S (DSV) met all the conditions and requirements for the acquisition of Agility’s Global Integrated Logistics business (GIL), and is now formally taking over GIL from Kuwait-based Agility. The move shifts DSV’s rank into the world’s top-three when it comes to transport and logistics, and its business expansion plans (which included the acquisition and integration of Swiss Panalpina in 2019, and American UTi Worldwide in 2016) are not yet ready to slow down. Jens Bjørn Andersen, Group CEO, DSV, announced: “I am very pleased to welcome our new colleagues from GIL on this important day. There are many similarities when you look at our two companies both in terms of the business models and services and, not least, when we look at our shared focus on local empowerment and putting customers first. DSV and GIL simply constitute an excellent match. We will now start the integration, and, together, we are going to grow the business and bring even more value to our many customers, partners and shareholders than we do separately.”
The integration will be carried out in a country-by-country merging process, to keep the transition smooth for customers and employees, and taking into account the various organizational and individual considerations which in some cases may also still depend on individual regulatory clearances. Agility will become the second largest DSV shareholder, given that it will receive DSV shares representing approximately 8% of all post-transaction outstanding shares of DSV (as consideration for 100% of GIL). DSV will also nominate an Agility representative to DSV’s Board of Directors.
“By adding the GIL network and competencies to our existing network, we improve our competitiveness across all three divisions: Air & Sea, Road and Solutions. This brings commercial synergies and cross-selling opportunities while at the same time providing our customers with an even higher service level and a one-stop-shop for logistics needs,” Jens Bjørn Andersen continued. GIL brings an annual revenue of USD 4.6 billion (mainly Air & Sea freight) to DSV’s existing global operations, as well as 1.4 million m² of warehousing capacity across APAC and the Middle East, and an impressive road freight network in Europe and the Middle East. The combined workforce of 75,000 employees in more than 90 countries will allow for scalability and economies of scale going forward.
Happy 25th Birthday, Swissport!
Key in the hashtag #Swissport25 across social media and you’ll find images and videos of Swissport employees celebrating their company’s quarter century in the business. “Today [16AUG21] is a day for celebration!” Warwick Brady, Swissport's President & CEO, announced. “In just 25 years, Swissport has developed into the global market leader in aviation ground services. On behalf of the executive team, I thank our customers and partners for their trust and loyalty - especially in challenging times. But my biggest thanks go to our dedicated employees, who make Swissport what it is – an energetic company and great place to work.”
What began as Swissair Ground Services International AG on 16AUG96, following the legal separation from its parent company, Swissair, has grown from operating services at Switzerland’s Zurich, Geneva, and Basel airport, to a global, multimillion enterprise. Pre-Covid, in 2019, Swissport’s group revenue amounted to 3.13 billion euros and its operating EBITDA reached 272.3 million euros. Cargo-wise, it had handled 4.6 million tons at more than 100 international cargo warehouses, operating in 47 countries on six continents on behalf of around 850 carriers. The journey was not always easy, with the company ownership changing hands a number of times along the way. Covid brought the largest challenges as airline operations ground to a halt, and a stringent recovery program saw the number of staff cut from 65,000 to 42,000 in 2020. Though passenger figures fell dramatically, around 4.1 million tons of air cargo were handled. Swissport’s CORE transformation program aims to develop the group into a leaner, agile, and digitally savvy organization, placing the customer at the forefront and cementing a solid foundation for continued success in future.
“Swissport's business model is focused on providing airlines with high-quality airport ground services and air cargo handling,” Warwick Brady explained, confident of the company’s position as undisputed global leader. “After now 18 months of global market turmoil, government bailouts and a protracted global market recovery, airlines are leaving no stone unturned to increase their operational efficiency. Outsourcing of non-core, aviation ground services is a big lever and a major cost savings opportunity. With our global network and our broad service portfolio, Swissport can tap significant economies of scale. We stand ready as a dependable partner to help our customers realize such cost savings.”
Christoph Mueller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Swissport, agreed: “Stability and reliability is what Swissport brings to the table when we talk to airlines about their post-Covid plans and a potential outsourcing of ground service activities. With Swissport recently refinanced and under new ownership of large investment funds, and thanks to our solid balance sheet and strong cash position, airlines count on us as a reliable service partner. Airport authorities and governments can rely on Swissport as a strong partner in ramping-up aviation.”
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