Behold, Black Swan!
CargoForwarder Global has been following the Rangelov brothers with interest these past few years, and it seems we can now adjust our original title from Arise, Black Swan (https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2020/12/13/arise-black-swan/) to “BEHOLD!” DRONAMICS has announced that it will be live-streaming the unveiling of its first production Black Swan aircraft on 07DEC21 from Sofia Airport in Bulgaria, with whom it signed a Memorandum of Understanding the day before, agreeing to collaborate on innovation initiatives at the airport. Hailed as the start of “a new era for the global freight industry”, the curtain will be lifted at 19:30 CET, to reveal “the most fuel-efficient cargo airplane ever built”. DRONAMICS’ Black Swan UAV has been designed specifically with cargo in mind and is built to carry up to 350 kg of cargo across distances of up to 2,500 km and can even operate from untarmacked runways as short as 400 meters. At 80% lower operating costs and able to run on 100% SAF, it opens up great possibilities for fast, affordable, and sustainable transport to difficult to reach regions. Svilen Rangelov, Co-Founder & CEO, emphasizes: “The unveiling of the Black Swan represents a critical milestone in the company’s mission to enable same-day shipping for everyone everywhere. The years of hard work are paying off, and as soon as we’re done with our extensive test program and obtain certification in 2022, we are going to begin commercial operations, serving customers in Europe and beyond, years ahead of everyone else.”
Konstantin Rangelov, Co-Founder & CTO, adds: “For more than 100 years, people have designed airplanes for humans first, meaning they were never really optimized for cargo, and in fact, they’re quite inefficient. By being extremely focused solely on carrying cargo, we were able to develop an aircraft that is able to do the job at up to 80% lower cost than any other airplane, meaning we can bring the benefits of aviation to billions of people around the world who do not get regular air service.” Tune in to the live-stream from 19:15 CET on 07DEC21 on www.dronamics.com/unveiling
Changing the game in maintaining the temperature
Pharmaceutical thermal protection specialist, Tower, has launched what it refers to as a “game-changing” solution for the transport of ultra-cold temperature-critical pharmaceuticals”. Its KTM42D Tower Double Euro Pallet Ultra Cold (which might benefit from a slightly catchier name going forward) has been designed to ensure the fully compliant and reliable transport or storage of products such as vaccines and life science products requiring internal temperatures of between -80˚C to -60˚C. Next to its extreme temperature range, the KTM42D’s other “game-changing” elements are that it is fully a reusable (hence sustainable), double-pallet temperature-controlled packaging container, which contains Tower’s proven robust, reliable, and reusable technology. It is easy to use, can accommodate two euro-pallets, and enables the optimum balance between ultra-low temperatures and shipment size. As with all of Tower’s packaging solutions, it provides a minimum of 120 hours temperature compliance in any environment, anywhere in the world. The press release also confirms that where the KTM42D is stored in a (-20°C) freezer unit, its -60°C temperature performance stability lasts for more than nine days through to unlimited deep freeze time if dry ice supplies are replenished accordingly. Tower also emphasizes both the facility of loading and unloading of the container given its large double-door access, as well as the minimal exposure to dry ice as both loading and dry ice-replenishing can be completed in under five minutes. The KTM42D, which can be accessed within 24 hours or less from any of Tower’s global touchpoints, can be deployed on “all major modes of transit delivery, including wide-bodied aircraft, reefers and all road-transport options. By using a passive temperature control system that removes the need for external power, and datalogging technology to provide real-time confirmation of the internal temperature, no human intervention is required during transportation.”
Niall Balfour, CEO of Tower Cold Chain, underlines: “All of our solutions are developed to meet the needs of pharmaceutical manufacturers, 3PL providers and airlines. As such, the KTM42D has been designed to accept two full Euro pallets and maintain the stored contents at less than –60°C for over 94 hours. Initial feedback has been beyond our expectations, with one partner calling it a ‘game changer.’ We can’t wait to show customers everything that the KTM42D can do.”
1,470 times Volta Zero: that’s one big charge!
DB Schenker has just placed a major order with Swedish full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer, Volta Trucks, for 1,470 of its fully electric Volta Zero trucks. Not only is this the largest pre-order for zero-emission electric trucks in Europe to date, but DB Schenker is thus also Volta’s launch company for its Volta Zero prototypes which will be deployed in the spring of 2022. For DB Schenker, the order is another milestone in its sustainability strategy and a further step towards an all-electric urban vehicle fleet. The learnings from the prototype tests early next year, will be used to fine-tune the subsequent serial production of the 1,470 vehicles, which will be built at Volta Trucks’ new contract manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria. The first production Volta Zeros will be delivered in the summer of 2022 and initially used at 10 locations in five countries.
Cyrille Bonjean, Executive Vice President Land Transport at DB Schenker in Europe, stated: “We have many challenges to overcome on the road to carbon neutrality. The large-scale partnership with Volta Trucks allows us to significantly increase the pace of electrification of our fleet and invest in greener transport solutions, brings us closer again to our goal of carbon neutral logistics.”
Essa Al-Saleh, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, said: “I am delighted to welcome DB Schenker as a Volta Trucks customer. Working with DB Schenker on Europe’s largest full-electric truck order demonstrates the confidence that major freight distributors have in our ability to deliver a world-class zero-emission vehicle on time and to the highest possible quality.”
The Volta Zero is a fully-electric 16-ton vehicle which was developed in 2019 and recently launched as pre-production prototype. It has been designed specifically for inner-city logistics with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of freight deliveries in urban areas and has a pure-electric range of 150 to 200 km. DB Schenker will be deploying its Volta Zero fleet from its European terminals to transport goods to the city centers and other urban areas. Not only does the deployment of the Volta Zero significantly reducing CO2 emissions, it has also been designed with a low driving position and large glass surfaces to eliminate blind spots and thus protect “vulnerable road users” such as cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to their collaboration on fine-tuning the 16-ton Volta Zero, the partnership between DB Schenker and Volta will also focus on jointly developing specifications for Volta’s 12-ton vehicle variant.
Swissport fuels SAF adoption and rekindles Finnair
Swissport played its part in making history on 01DEC21 when it provided fueling services for the world’s first 100% SAF passenger flight. United Airlines is the first airline in the world to have transported over than 100 passengers from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport on an aircraft running purely on sustainable aviation fuel. Swissport’s pride at supporting its long-time customer, United Airlines, at its largest into-plane fueling operation, in transitioning to greener aviation (including test flights in 2016 and 2019, in addition to similar trials with Alaska Airlines), is expressed by Swissport’s COO Fueling Service & Aircraft Maintenance, Stan Livingston: “Swissport is proud to support United Airlines on this historic event as we work together to make aviation more sustainable. Sustainable Aviation Fuels are the most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades. It is extremely important for us to provide high quality services while also supporting innovation to change the way air travel impacts the environment.”
In the same week, Swissport also signed a contract with Finnair to again handle its ramp and cargo services at the airline’s main hub at Helsinki Airport in Finland. “We are grateful for the trust Finnair has once again placed in us,” Jan van Engelen, Head of the Continental Europe region at Swissport stated, with regard to supporting the airline in reinstating is long-haul operations to Asia and U.S., by carrying out the ramp handling for its wide-body Airbus A350 and Airbus A330 fleet. “The increase in long-haul flights is an important step towards further strengthening our partnership. With our innovation and operational excellence on the ground we will support Finnair’s successful growth.” The two companies have a long track-record of collaboration across various aviation services, and Swissport also provides ATR-fleet ground handling for Finnair’s subsidiary, NORRA Nordic Regional Airlines, since 2018. Just a few weeks ago, too, Finnair extended Swissport’s contract to operate its COOL Cargo warehouse, “one of the largest temperature-controlled air cargo logistics centers in Northern Europe” for another five years (to 2026).
Keeping the bridge with Frankfurt
AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and Worldwide Flight Services subsidiary, Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS), have agreed to continue their partnership though the renewal of their cargo handling contract at Frankfurt/Main Airport earlier this month. The partnership between the cargo airline and Frankfurt airport’s biggest independent cargo handler, dates back to 2008. “The new contract extension reflects the successful and growing partnership between the two companies,” the press release states, pointing out that “ABC currently operates up to 15 Boeing 747 freighter flights a week from Frankfurt to its hubs at Moscow’s Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports, seamlessly connecting customers to more than 30 prime cargo destinations in Europe, Asia and North America from Russia’s capital.”
Diana Schöneich, Senior Director European Region at AirBridgeCargo, elaborates: “Frankfurt is one of the most important airports in AirBridgeCargo’s intercontinental route network. Thanks to our reliable and close cooperation with Frankfurt Cargo Services, we offer our customers quick and easy access to key cargo markets globally, including for our specialist products. Solutions such as FCS' mobile SuperBox refrigeration unit, for example, support our growing pharmaceutical volumes, and mean that we can respond optimally to our customers’ requirements as well as to trends in the market.”
Claus Wagner, Managing Director of Frankfurt Cargo Services, comments: “In our 13 years of partnership so far, AirBridgeCargo and FCS have both significantly expanded our cargo operations in Frankfurt, and we have worked closely together to overcome major challenges, including, of course, the coronavirus crisis and its impact on global supply chains. We wish to thank AirBridgeCargo for the airline’s continued loyalty to FCS and we look forward to a new phase of growth in our relationship.” The airline states that its decision to extend the partnership was mainly down to “FCS’ proven capability of handling temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products” alongside its GDP (Good Distribution Practice) and IATA CEIV Pharma certifications, its expertise in handling ABC’s service requirements for special shipments including dangerous goods, heavy, and outsize loads, and the short cargo processing times thanks to FCS’ direct connection between the airside apron and the landside cargo handling operation in Frankfurt Airport’s Cargo City South.
time:matters continues further on a green track
time:matters announced last week, that its domestic German ic:kurier shipments which travel by train, are now completely green. Not just the actual train journeys themselves, be they on board ICE, IC or EC trains, which are already 100% carbon neutral, but also the first and last mile. From DEC21, all carbon emissions related to the first and last mile transport of German ic:kurier shipments, will be offset. This move adds to time:matters’ sustainability portfolio which include offsetting CO2 emissions caused by its airmates OnBoard Courier Service; something the company has been doing since the end of 2019, already.
The ic:kurier service is used mainly by customers in the life & health industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, and private individuals looking for a swift, convenient, cost-effective and sustainable transport solution. The network spans over 100 stations in the German rail network, as well as routes to and from Amsterdam, Basel, Paris and Vienna. Bookings are made in next to no time via the time:matters booking platform, which features immediately bookable real-time quotes.
“The environmentally-friendly CO2 compensation of all last and first mile transfers of ic:kurier shipments within Germany represents our next consistent step towards a sustainable, innovative transport portfolio. We are also working with our partners on further projects aimed at reducing our carbon footprint,” Lars Krosch, COO of time:matters, stated. “There is increasing demand for environmentally responsible transport solutions among our customers as well. In addition to speed and reliability, sustainability has become an important requirement for supply chains.”
Sustainable, decarbonized air travel is taking on all kinds of forms. One of the latest, is Ascendance Flight Technologies’ (AFT) ATEA aircraft. The 5-seater vertical take-off and landing aircraft prototype was recently unveiled after three years of research and development in harnessing hybrid technology and distributed propulsion. What looks primarily like a passenger-focused plane, is versatile according to AFT, who also suggest deployment for “emergency services, logistical tasks, or for surveillance flights.” Alongside easy-to-use integrated innovative technologies, the ATEA also comprises a “’Lift + Cruise’ configuration with 2 separate propulsion systems for vertical and horizontal flight, 8 rotors integrated into two fixed wings, 2 horizontal propellers, a skyview cabin, and easy access for passengers.” It has been designed for deployment in peri-urban areas, and has a range of 400 km. Its hybrid-electric propulsion technology, unprecedented “fan-in-wing” technology and optimized engine configuration, reduces carbon emissions by 80% and makes it much quieter than similarly sized aircraft. blends sleek and audacious design with. The press release underlines that “ATEA is tomorrow’s aircraft: designed to satisfy the high demands of both passengers and stakeholders of reinvented aviation. Its architecture and design foresee the future of airborne mobility, responding to societal and environmental expectations and to the most recent certification rulings,” and foresees serial production to commence in 2025.
“We set-up Ascendance Flight Technologies with a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve: to accelerate transition towards green aviation thanks to hybrid technology” Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO, explains. “The design of ATEA is the concrete reflection of our values, our experience and of our know-how. The aircraft we are presenting to you today is the result of huge efforts by our R&D department, tests, and trials on 4 prototypes and a great deal of thought on costs and the ease of flying such an aircraft. Its characteristics provide all the performances expected by a sector that the ongoing transition has made more demanding”
Combined technologies to keep track of air cargo shipments
The two real-time supply chain visibility providers, Boston, USA-based, Tive, and Bonn, Germany-based, BlueBox Systems have entered into a strategic partnership in order “to create new standards in tracking air freight shipments”, as the press release puts it. Tive specializes in transit visibility while BlueBox Systems markets itself as “a leading platform for monitoring airfreight in real time,” offering innovative IoT SaaS solutions to complete shipment performance. “Tive's real-time visibility solution provides shippers, 3PLs, 4PLs and logistics services providers with real-time, hyper-accurate location and condition of their shipments. Data from Tive's multi-sensor 5G Solo trackers streams to Tive's platform - or can be integrated with a host of TMS and visibility platforms via API and webhooks, making this partnership a seamless choice for joint customers,” the press release explains.
“The next generation of in-transit visibility is adding more ways to deliver meaningful data in real-time, so logistics professionals can actively manage shipments and eliminate delays and damage,” Krenar Komoni, Founder and CEO, Tive, commented. “Hyper-accurate location and condition are a cornerstone - and together with BlueBox we are creating a new industry standard in saving air freight loads.”
“For us, Tive is one of the most important drivers in the digitalization of logistics,” said Martin Schulze, CEO, BlueBox Systems. “With their monitoring and tracking solutions, they already offer the market a portfolio of both innovative and future-oriented solutions. So, it is logical for us to enter a partnership with Tive and jointly develop value for our customers.”
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