Give us a pull, then!
Eight of Ukraine’s finest and strongest athletes set a national – if not world - record on 26AUG21, when they succeeded in pulling the world’s largest and heaviest plane a total of 4.3 meters in just 73 seconds. No mean feat, given that the unique AN-225 ‘Mriya’ weighed 328 tons (including fuel) that day. The event, which has yet to be applied for as a Guinness World Record, took place two days after the country’s 30th Independence Day, during air show celebrations.
“The record was set at our Kyiv-Antonov home airfield by eight of the strongest athletes in Ukraine, and was certified as a record-breaking move by representatives of the National Register of Records of the country,” Andriy Blagovisniy, Commercial Director, Antonov Airlines, detailed. “Even after more than 30 years of service, Mriya – which means dream – is still keeping her spot in setting both national and world records."
The AN-225 Mriya also participated in a fly-by over the main streets of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, together with other Ukrainian ANTONOV-designed aircraft, such as the STOL transport AN-70, as part of Independence Day celebrations that week. “The AN-225 flight over the center of the capital was one of the highlights of this event because Mriya is the pride of Ukraine, and the largest plane in the world; she impressed everyone watching her demonstration flight,” Dmytro Antonov, Antonov Airlines' Chief Pilot and Captain, who flew the AN-255 that day, said.
It is not the first time Mriya was pulled by strongmen. Back in 2013, a similar event took place where 10 men showed what they were made of, shifting the aircraft in unison. And Brigitte Gledhill would also like to point out, that – as a marginally strong woman – she participated with around 40 Lufthansa Cargo staff back in the late 90’s in Heathrow, in pulling a “slightly lighter and smaller” British Airways B737 100m for charity.
Eastern wants in on the e-commerce pie, launches Eastern Air Cargo
The current climate has triggered two situations that together help to stimulate positive disruption: on the one hand, e-commerce demand has exploded, on the other, the market for second-hand aircraft has never been so good. And so, the U.S.-based carrier, Eastern Airlines LLC, has announced that it has secured the acquisition of 35 B777 aircraft (a mix of 200, -200ER and -300 series,) as feedstock for the “first-ever P2F (Passenger to Freighter) conversion of the B777 aircraft into a true, Class-E cargo aircraft,” (still subject to STC approvals). It is launching “Eastern Air Cargo” and will focus on carrying volumetric express cargo non-stop between Asia and the US. “The Eastern B777 Express Freighter is designed to serve the e-commerce express freight market. Accelerated growth of this market has created excess demand for the service,” the press release reveals. It also states that “the Eastern Express Freighter will not be subject to the restrictions on cargo commodities that are imposed on conventional passenger aircraft used as freighters,” as the aircrafts’ main decks will be converted into “a true cargo aircraft”, so that the full volumetric space can carry low-density, express freight cargo. Future design plans include a palletized loading system and an Express Main Deck cargo door. The first of the Eastern B777 Express Freighters is due to enter service in Q1 2022.
“We are thrilled to offer this service to customers who have struggled to find capacity in the cargo market and to offer a nimble aircraft solution to serve customer needs,” Steve Harfst, Eastern Airlines President and CEO, declared. “This move is not just a game changer for Eastern, it will also transform the industry. Our pioneering conversion method is tailored specifically to meet the needs of express package freight customers. It is more efficient and cost effective allowing us to better serve the exact needs of our customers at a competitive price.” Eastern Air Cargo will offer general cargo sales, cargo charters, ACMI/wet-leasing and dry leasing. “We look forward to customizing Eastern Air Cargo offerings along with our customers to create a truly meaningful opportunity for change in the cargo space,” Harfst added.
GEODIS now has its own freighter
“Our AirDirect service has operated more than 650 air charter flights so far across Asia, Europe, North and Latin America in order to secure capacity for our customer shipments worldwide. The experience gained from these operations has led to the decision to charter our own GEODIS Freighter. This will provide our clients with a reliable schedule of flights, under our operational control, helping them overcome the significant logistical constraints that the market is currently enduring,” Eric Martin-Neuville, Executive Vice President Freight Forwarding of GEODIS, explained what led to the company’s move to have its very own liveried freighter.
GEODIS has signed a long-term lease on an A330-300 full freighter aircraft, bearing the GEODIS brand, which it will be deploying between Amsterdam, London, and Chicago, three times a week, Amsterdam and Hong Kong once a week, as from this month, and is planning to serve the China – Europe route during the upcoming peak season. Having its own freighter also means that GEODIS can carry out fully capacity flights for certain customers as and when these are required.
Marie-Christine Lombard, GEODIS’ CEO, stated: “With the continued strain on airfreight capacity, we wish to ensure a more sustainable supply of air cargo space for our clients and are therefore investing in this, our own, first dedicated freighter. Our aim is to constantly find dependable solutions to secure our clients’ supply chains, which are critical to their business growth.” The freighter is integrated into the GEODIS AirDirect global schedule, all GEODIS products can be booked: GEODIS AirFast, AirSave and AirFlex.
254 apprentices in 33 DACH locations… and a takeover
Gebrüder Weiss appears to succeed where others struggle: getting new talent into the logistics business. 90 apprentices have just begun their formative training in the latest intake. This is a positive increase of 19 on the number of intakes in 2020, despite the pandemic making hiring new staff more difficult and the “subdued mood on the apprentice employment market”, to quote the press release. In total, the company currently has 254 trainees across 33 locations in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, with another 12 in Serbia where the logistics company also supports the development of new experts in other national companies. Hungary also joins the training scope this year, in cooperation with local schools, and five students will soon commence their training to become freight forwarding logistics managers.
Its formular for success? Greater utilization of digital solutions and channels instead of conventional face-to-face (training) events, to spark an interest and engage in a dialog with prospective next generation logistics experts. Gebrüder Weiss also convinces future employees through its good reputation both as a training company and a reliable employer. According to Monika Mandl, Head of Human Resources Development at Gebrüder Weiss: “Job security is a very important factor for young applicants when deciding where they want to work. Gebrüder Weiss stands for sustainable economic success and has done so for generations. The current situation with the coronavirus has given the company the opportunity to prove once again its ability to withstand crises and to continue on its course of growth.”
In other news: Gebrüder Weiss is due to acquire Bavaria, Germany-based Spedition Lode GmbH Lode on 01OCT21, and its Waldkraiburg site, 70 km east of Munich, will be incorporated into the southern German land transport network connecting with Aldingen, Esslingen, Lindau, Memmingen, Nuremberg, and Passau. “Lode's service portfolio is the perfect fit for our land transport network in southern Germany. Aided by the company's employees [60 staff headed by Lode’s previous co-owner, Rüdiger Lode], we will continue to tap the site's potential to consolidate our general cargo network,” Wolfram Senger-Weiss, Chair of the Gebrüder Weiss Management Board, stated, regarding the 100% take-over of the family-owned specialists in land transport, distribution and warehouse logistics, and special services. The new subsidiary will initially trade under the name GW Lode GmbH. “New growth opportunities are opening up for Spedition Lode within the Gebrüder Weiss group. Our customers will benefit from a significantly broader range of services and we can offer our employees new career opportunities,” Rüdiger Lode explained. The acquisition price is not disclosed.
DoKaSch inaugurates new Indian service station
Hyderbad Airport, or more specifically, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo terminal, has been announced as DoKaSch’s latest service station location. Andreas Seitz, Managing Director at DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, explains the decision for the development: “India is a highly relevant location for pharmaceuticals, biosimilars, and biotech, and especially Hyderabad is of outstanding importance. In turn, we decided to open our new service station to complement our extensive network and contribute to a capable cool chain for these products. Not only is the station located at a globally relevant industry hub, but the airport is also used by many of our partner airlines and is well connected to destinations worldwide. We are certain that our new location will play an important role for the global supply with lifesaving pharmaceutical products like vaccines, especially during the ongoing pandemic.”
Mr. Pradeep Panicker, CEO-GMR Hyderabad International Airport concurred, “Hyderabad Air Cargo terminal is the preferred gateway for pharmaceuticals and vaccine movements in the South Asia region and we are very pleased to partner with DoKaSch Temperature Solutions to establish a service station at our Cargo Terminal. The new facility will make the world class DoKaSch Opticooler containers readily and easily accessible to our shared customers who will be assured of ready availability and fast turnaround with our new on-airport container station. With the addition of this facility, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo will be the biggest hub for temperature-controlled air cargo containers in the region.” Staff at the station located within the airport premises, close to forwarders and airlines, ensure the required containers are available and ready for the respective flight. Up to 100 containers can be equipped at the station, and requests for up to 20 containers per day can be easily handled. The airport already has a dedicated pharma export terminal called the ‘Pharma Zone’, and serves the city’s Genome Valley business district which houses some of the largest, most important vaccine producers along with a number of major pharmaceutical companies who export their products to the USA, EU, Japan, and other major countries across the globe.
AGI’s new off and on airport facilities at Newark (EWR)
Just days before Storm Ida hit Newark with unprecedented flooding and tornados, forcing Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, USA, to partially close, cargo handling services provider, America’s largest independently owned ground handling company, Alliance Ground International (AGI), announced that it had opened a new 7060 m² off-airport air cargo facility located just five from the airport to process import freight. It was also moving from its existing facilities at EWR, to a 2,220 m² on airport facility where outbound/export cargo will be handled. Whether the two new locations were affected by the storm is not known.
Explaining the idea behind the company’s Dual-Facility solution at EWR, Jared Azcuy, Chief Executive Officer, AGI, said: “Our Dual-Facility solution increases our air cargo handling capabilities while reducing wait times and truck congestion on the airport service roads. It is a solution we have tried and tested at our other locations, and it will speed up processing, making for a more efficient and cost-effective operation. Newark will shortly be taking back much of the warehousing on airport as leases expire. Our new facilities and digital solutions mean that AGI is more than ready to support customers in New Jersey.” AGI has committed to long-term lease agreements for the new facilities, which complement the 11,150 m² Priority Mail facility in South Kearney, New Jersey, operated by its sister company, Cargo Force.
An AGI in-house shuttle service connects the two facilities, and will be operated to truck arriving import cargo to the off-airport facility, which features 19 cargo bay doors, active Unit Load Device (ULD) charging stations, ULD storage and cold storage, pharma handling areas, increased security, and its location provides easy access to major highways. As regards digitalization, the new warehouse features electronic flight boards, mobile technology for ramp operations, as well as truck queuing and management software.
Kale shows how digitalization supports sustainability
Going digital can help your company go greener. This is the result of a study that Kale Logistics Solutions Inc. (the North America division of Kale Logistics Solutions) recently carried out in collaboration with the Atlanta Airport Community. Encompassing 1,839 shipments, 389 trucks, and 680 tons of cargo transiting Atlanta Airport during JAN-JUL21, it demonstrated that deploying Kale’s online slot management system to efficiently steer cargo trucks arriving at the airport, led to savings in time and resources. “In total, more than 5,650 liters of fuel, USD 69,000 of labor costs, and 1,945 man-hours were saved,” the press release states, thus also translating into a reduction of CO2 emissions at the airport. In this case, 9 tons of CO2 were saved from being processed during the study period JAN-JUL21, “the equivalent of planting more than 400 trees.”
“We want to add momentum to the global sustainability drive and be a major influencer for airports, ports, and supply chains across the world to go paperless, improve digital connectivity, and reduce carbon emissions,” Amar More, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kale Info Solutions, USA, stipulated. “We estimate that digital solutions like the ones developed by Kale can reduce paper usage by eight million pieces of paper annually at an airport – the equivalent of planting 1,500 trees – and reduce cargo dwell times by up to 70%, lowering carbon emissions and fuel expenses. Businesses across all modes in the supply chain can improve their environmental impact and internal operations by adopting IT solutions that provide greater transparency, better planning, and paperless processes.”
CargoAi gains an industry heavyweight with David Lara
Since 01SEP21, the CargoAi Board of Advisors, already consisting of a good cross-section of the air cargo industry, namely Markus Flacke - Program Lead Transformation Office at Volga-Dnepr Group; Liana Coyne - Director at Coyne Airways; Cyril Dumon - CEO Asia-Pacific at Bollore Logistics; and Ricardo Pilon - Chief Transformation Officer at Millennium Aviation & Vice-President, Consulting Solutions at Aviation Strategies International, has now been augmented by yet another very familiar name in the industry: David Lara, formerly SVP Global Airfreight Procurement & Capacity Management at CEVA Logistics for 20 years, and a long history in the business. With 48 years’ of experience in various executive positions on both the airline and forwarder sides, Lara brings a wide range of expertise to the young, 2019-incepted SaaS air cargo digital solution provider. “His expertise provides a major value addition to CargoAi for product development in connection with customer needs,” the press release states, outlining that he will join CargoAi's Quarterly Business Review, early this month, which will focus on CargoAi’s product development roadmap, business development, and strategy going forward. The company’s aim is to ensure that its products are developed in line with customer expectations, and as quickly as possible.
Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi, underlined: “Beyond his role and contribution, David is a great mentor for the team. David perfectly understands our industry, the needs of each player, and especially those of freight forwarders and airlines in terms of procurement and commercial management. It is a priceless opportunity for CargoAi to be able to benefit from his expertise and an absolute honor to have him with us on the Board of Advisors.”
David Lara stated: “I deeply share CargoAi's values and its ambition to digitize air freight. I am therefore delighted to share my experience and contribute to attaining this objective by being a member of the Board of Advisors. Our industry has specific needs and constraints in terms of digitization and CargoAi has the intelligence to surround itself with people who have customer vision and the field experience to offer simple products to users, and above all those that meet the actual needs.”
Two African companies come together to boost cargo logistics
Airlink Cargo South Africa based in Johannesburg, and Nairobi-based Astral Aviation signed a comprehensive interline agreement that came into effect on 01AUG21, and serves to provide a stronger, stable cargo network across the continent, largely improving the state of air cargo logistics within the Sub-Saharan market. Airlink, the airline that markets itself as “South Africa’s most reliable, premium, full-service airline,” offering “more flight choices to more destinations, with more connectivity than any other airline in Southern Africa,” will augment Astral Aviation’s network with its services beyond Johannesburg to: Beira, Tete, Pemba and Maputo (Mozambique); Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban (South Africa); Lubumbashi (Congo DRC); Gaborone (Botswana); Victoria Falls and Harare (Zimbabwe); Ndola and Livingstone (Zambia); Maseru (Lesotho); Antananarivo and Nosy Be (Madagascar); Walvis Bay and Windhoek (Namibia).
Astral Aviation, on the other hand, will enable Airlink Cargo to expand its network also to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where Astral Aviation also connects with Silk Way West Airlines’ network.
Sanjeev Gadhia, Chief Executive Officer of Astral Aviation, declared: “The interline agreement will offer new opportunities and connectivity into Airlink's network, which comprises various points in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Madagascar and Namibia.”
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