Spinning a silky web…
With online real-time pricing and booking demand really “taking off” in 2020, already, 2021 has again seen incredible growth. According to WebCargo, “Digital Air Cargo via the WebCargo platform has soared during 2021, with over 10x growth on a strong 2020.” A WebCargo spokesperson tells CargoForwarder Global, “In 2021, we more than doubled the capacity represented by airlines on WebCargo.” The latest airline to offer its capacity on WebCargo is Silk Way West Airlines. With Silk Way West Airlines on board, WebCargo now digitally hosts more than 35% of the top-100 airlines’ global capacity.
The Azerbaijani cargo airline, among the top-25 global all-freighter airlines, is on a similar expansion course, having added new destinations to its network, and announcing an impressive fleet expansion earlier this year, to meet the ever increasing cargo demand. By joining WebCargo's air cargo booking platform, the airline is able to reach more than 10,000 international freight forwarding offices with its real-time pricing and capacity offers. “As of mid-January 2022, capacity across Silk Way West Airlines' 13 freighters, which connect over 40 destinations across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, will be made available to WebCargo forwarders around the world starting from Europe,” the press release states.
Mr. Wolfgang Meier, CEO and President of Silk Way West Airlines, explains the decision: “It has become clear that the pandemic and increased global logistics demand has accelerated the need to offer digital booking capabilities for air freight. Building on the strength of a full freighter network, Silk Way West Airlines looks forward to the new year by extending greater service accessibility and capacity visibility to our valued customers 24/7.”
Manuel Galindo, CEO of WebCargo, adds: “In 2017, air cargo digitization was a question of if the industry could adapt. By 2019 it was a question of when. Today, we're asking how much faster it can go. Freighter operators like Silk Way West Airlines are showing that the answer is 'faster than you can possibly imagine'. We're witnessing a massive shift towards Digital Air Cargo reflected on WebCargo's booking and rate management platform and are proud to welcome Silk Way West Airlines to our list of innovative partner airlines.”
Qatar Airways Cargo looks back in appreciation
“What we do, we do for you. And what we do, we cannot do without you. Thank you to all our customers and employees for your commitment and invaluable contributions towards supporting Qatar Airways Cargo in its mission to be the world's best cargo airline!” is written at the bottom of an extensive review of 2021. Chief Officer Cargo of Qatar Airways Cargo, Guillaume Halleux’ opening words include a quote from the American author, Sharon Weil: “Navigating change is the new stability”, and underlines that “Qatar Airways Cargo has forged ahead with its strategic focus on growth, sustainability, and digitalization in the face of uncertainty,” drawing its “stability from the support our dedicated customers and employees.”
The airline published a 13.42% chargeable weight growth for JAN-NOV21 compared to JAN-NOV20, transporting 1,574,705 tons during that time. Much of this was medical cargo including over 72 million vaccine doses flown under UNICEF's COVAX program. All products saw growth. Having received CEIV Pharma certification at the end of 2020, Qatar Airways Cargo further enhanced its Pharma product and industry presence, introducing Envirotainer's Innovative Releye® RLP container, and becoming a member both of Pharma.Aero as well as the Cool Chain Association.
Its unique fleet expansion was mentioned: the delivery of three brand new Boeing 777 freighters on a single day, bringing its total fleet to 34 freighters. It pointed to network expansions, as well as sustainability moves such as chapter two of its WeQare sustainability program “Rewild the Planet”, and the memorable journey of seven rescued lions from the Ukraine to South Africa. Finally, a number of digitalization initiatives were listed, including its WebCargo rollout.
Guillaume Halleux pointed to a no less active year ahead: “Digitalization will continue to be a core focus in 2022, since it is a major enabler in ensuring quality, speed, efficiency, excellent customer service, and flight safety. The latter will be further supported by our Unit Load Device (ULD) fleet rollover to Safran's new, Fire-Resistant Containers. We will continue to invest in the quality of our products, in our unrelenting push for highest quality standards in our industry, and will continue to collaborate with our customers, partners, and staff, to deliver true value to the market. For us at Qatar Airways Cargo, it is not enough to be the largest cargo airline; our mission is to be the world's best cargo airline.”
cargo-partner shows its social responsibility initiatives
“The past two years have shown us how important it is for all of us to work together and support each other in times of crisis. A little bit of kindness can go a long way in giving people hope. With our contributions to a range of social projects, we want to support those who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic,” cargo-partner CEO, Stefan Krauter, explains. “At the same time, we are acutely aware of the ongoing global climate crisis which is perhaps the most important challenge of our time. We will continue to support environmental initiatives and implement sustainable technologies to work towards a better tomorrow.” The press release lists an impressive number of very varied initiatives that the Austrian logistics provider with an annual turnover of over one billion euro, has hosted all over the world, illustrating how the UN SDGs can be put into practice when the focus is there.
Aimed at supporting local communities and the environment, the list includes a €50,000 donation in support of single parents and migrant women to the annual Austrian “Licht ins Dunkel” [Light in the dark] campaign to raise money for a number of causes. cargo-partner's Managing Director in Austria, Martin Schenzel, presented the donation check and manned one of the phone hotlines during the event on 24NOV21. Another €20,000 donation went to “Die Nachbarinnen" (the neighbors) association helping female migrants with challenging situations and integration.
Other projects include planting a tree in collaboration with Ecologi for every feedback received to its comprehensive customer survey on cargo-partner’s online solutions – this led to "cargo-partner forest" numbering 1,000 trees by the end of the survey. cargo-partner's Austria team sponsor three beehives in the Vienna Woods, contributing to "Biene Wienerwald... Wien". In Croatia, the company donated 12 new housing containers to help families who had lost their homes during the earthquake on 29DEC20. In Slovenia, it supported four different local organizations involved in cerebral paralysis, helping people with brain injuries, physically and mentally disabled children and adolescents, and a voluntary fire department. In addition to a number of COVID-19 aid transports, cargo-partner donated 7,500 protective masks and 600 hand sanitizing gels to the Association of the Blind in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Serbia. Over in Vietnam and Thailand, the company supported disadvantaged children and people recovering from COVID-19.
dnata’s cargo handling goes Descartes digital
dnata has opted for Descartes’ Core Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)™ Real-time tracking solution to keep track of its mobile assets at airports where it performs cargo handling. A combination of BLE tags fixed to assets such as pallets and ULDs, and readers monitor the assets as they move across the airport. “The readers use mesh-networking technology to improve coverage resilience and, through the use of solar power, can be placed throughout an airport because they do not need a power source,” the press release explains. This simple to implement, low-energy solution enables ground handlers to improve the efficiency of their processes, since they can monitor asset location against inventory. It helps to reduce asset loss, and thus the costs associated with misplaced equipment or having to lease additional assets. “Using the Descartes solution, air shipments bundled into a single ULD container or pallet can also be tracked in real-time to help ground handler customers, such as air carriers and freight forwarders, automate freight location visibility. In addition to shipment location, other sensor-based information, such as precise temperature, movement and humidity, can be monitored,” the press release describes.
Kevin Walsh, Manager Operational Support Services at dnata, explained: “Airports have very dynamic, fast-moving operations and being able to service our airline and freight forwarder customers effectively requires us to make sure we know the location of dollies and other air cargo assets at all times. The Descartes CORE BLE solution has given us location visibility in real-time, allowing us to better maximize asset utilization and minimize losing sight of them, which can be a challenge at the world's largest airports. As part of our digitization strategy, we were also able to successfully launch a real-time shipment tracking pilot and are poised to offer it as a service.”
Glenn Palanacki, Vice President, Industry Strategy at Descartes, said: “With the high shipping volumes the industry is experiencing, getting the most from existing air cargo handling assets is critical to keep freight moving. We are pleased to provide dnata with real-time asset visibility to help gain better control of those assets and serve its customers better.”
Singapore Airlines intends to operate Airbus A350 freighters
The letter of intent (LoI) now signed for the purchase of 7 Airbus A350Fs is not yet a firm order from Singapore Airlines, but at least a preliminary commitment for this aircraft type. It also signals that the southeast Asian airline is not planning on replacing its B747-400 freighter jumbos with the future B777XF, particulary given that the U.S. manufacturer has not yet officially announced the variant's program launch.
Therefore, Airbus expects SIA to convert its LoI into a firm order. The reaction of the manufacturer hardly allows any other interpretation: "The agreement will see the A350F begin replacing the airline's existing B747-400F fleet in the fourth quarter of 2025," Airbus states in a release. "It is gratifying that Singapore Airlines recognizes the value of the A350F as we build on the strong partnership we already enjoy."
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, took the opportunity to praise his company's forthcoming freighter in the highest possible terms: "The A350F is the world's all-new large freighter and will be unmatched in its market segment in terms of operational efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and CO₂ savings."
In its release, Airbus also emphasizes the environmental aspect: Over 70% of the airframe will be made of advanced materials, resulting in a 30-ton lighter take-off weight, and generating at least 20% lower fuel consumption and emissions over its current closest competitor, the B777F. The A350F will fully meet ICAO's enhanced CO₂ emissions standards coming into effect in 2027, the airframer assures.
The agreement with Singapore Airlines is the third commitment so far received for the new A350F.
Market experts do not exclude, that the new Airbus production freighter will be a gamechanger and break Boeing's decades-long de facto near-monopoly in the segment of wide-body freighter aircraft.
SIA is the world's largest operator of the A350, with 56 passenger variants currently in service across its network.
Today (20DEC21), the European airframer firmed up an order for the purchase of four A350F with the French CMA CGM Group, a global player in shipping and logistics. The move follows a MoU signed in November, thus finalizing the deal.
Once delivered, CMA CGM's fleet will consist of 9 freighter aircraft: 4 A350F, 4 A330-200F and a single A330-200 P2F. In addition, the shipping line intends to operate 2 Boeing 777 freighters.
So far, all aircraft flying on behalf of CMA CGM are operated by Air Belgium. But this might not last very long since the company strives to have its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC).
Abu Dhabi and Belgium agree pharma collaboration
The two countries have agreed to establish a global distribution corridor for vaccine delivery: Abu Dhabi in its core function within the HOPE Consortium which, to date, has handled more than 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to over 40 global destinations, and Belgium as one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical hubs. The collaboration is intended to enhance Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a world-class pharma logistics and life sciences hub. The first agreement signed byn the HOPE Consortium, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), Brussels Airport Company and Pharma.Aero, and led by Abu Dhabi’e Department of Health, aims to establish a fully compliant origin-to-destination pharma air corridor between the two airports – this includes ensuring the collaboration of sector-certified supply chain stakeholders, including forwarders and ground handling agents. The second declaration of collaboration, signed by the HOPE Consortium, Pharma.Aero, Khalifa University of Science and Technology and the University of Antwerp, will see Pharma.Aero organize its second International Masterclass on Pharma Logistics in Abu Dhabi from 05-09SEP22, with the signatories.
H.E. Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi underlined: “Our goal is to enhance Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a world-class pharma logistics hub and a destination focused on global welfare by investing in strategic public and private sector collaborations, and the allocation of expertise and resources.” Nathan De Valck, Head of Cargo at Brussels Airport, and Chairman of Pharma.Aero, illustrated: “Brussels Airport is the leading hub serving the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry in Europe with over 750 million vaccines handled at the airport, serving 60 destinations worldwide. Our relationship with Etihad Cargo and the HOPE Consortium sharing best practices makes us confident that the corridor will promote commitment for transparency with customers and stakeholders.”
Regarding the Pharma Logistics Masterclass, Frank Van Gelder, Secretary General of Pharma.Aero, summarized: “Pharma.Aero’s vision and mission underline fostering collaboration. By continuously giving insights and sharing the latest changes between pharmaceutical companies, industry stakeholders and the academic world, the overall knowledge, and the quality of the pharma and MedTec supply chain improves. Bringing the 2nd edition of the masterclass to Abu Dhabi and bringing academics and business again together, contributes significantly in achieving this vision.”
One big cool box
Dayton, Ohio, USA-based temperature-controlled container solutions provider, CSafe Global has announced the acquisition of UK-registered, Softbox Systems, which provides passive temperature-controlled packaging solutions such as SilverSkin, Silverpod, and Tempcell, for the pharmaceutical, life science and cold chain logistics industries. The only transaction details revealed were that Kevin Valentin, CEO of Softbox, will become president of CSafe’s Passive Temperature Controlled Packaging Division, and Softbox will operate under the CSafe brand in future. CSafe equity partner, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and venture capital provider, Frazier Healthcare Partners, have both underlined their continued support in CSafe’s strategy to be the leading cold chain solutions provider. Todd Abbrecht, Co-CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners, confirmed: “We see an incredible opportunity for the combined company to serve as the international partner of choice for cold chain shipping solutions and remain on the forefront of innovation in the industry,” with a strong focus on sustainable solutions, and the press release reveals that, now combined, CSafe “will be the only cold chain platform with an end-to-end active air cargo and passive temperature-controlled packaging business spanning the complete spectrum of cold chain shipping solutions for the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.”
Patrick Schafer, CSafe CEO, stated: “Through this combination, we will be the partner of choice for cold chain delivery of high value, temperature sensitive pharmaceutical therapies. Both CSafe and Softbox have proven to be reliable partners for customers seeking a secure way to deliver their life-enhancing products around the world. We’re thrilled to now offer our customers a platform that provides everything from the highest quality packaging to AI-enabled thermal and kinetic monitoring and logistics management.”
Softbox’ CEO, Kevin Valentine, said: “Our businesses are each rooted in a commitment to excellent customer service and high product quality, which made this combination a natural fit. Together we will proudly continue to partner with our global pharmaceutical customers to devise and deliver the best solutions for their evolving cold chain shipping needs, supporting the delivery of temperature sensitive lifesaving medicines and vaccines.”
Hellmann goes through a week of cyber hell
On 08DEC21, Hellmann sent an email to all its customers, telling them that, due to severe IT Infrastructure issues, it had taken its main data centers offline while the global crisis team worked on the recovery. All operational activities were impacted, so backlogs could be expected while staff tried to manually handle the tasks in the interim. The official statement read: "We are currently experiencing technical problems with infrastructure in the global data center. As a result, our day-to-day operations are currently severely impacted. To ensure business continuity at the best possible level, we have switched to manual processes where possible, and we are working at full speed to fully restore our IT systems and thus the operational business in all areas of the company. We apologize for the current disruptions and assure you that we are making every effort to return to normal business operations as quickly as possible. We will keep you informed about further developments at short notice. If you have any operational questions in the meantime, please get in touch with your known contact person.” It later became clear that Hellmann had been the victim of a cyber attack.
One week later, on 16DEC21, the company announced: “Business operations are largely running again, and we are confident that we can eliminate remaining restrictions soon to be operating at full capacity again,” though warned that forensic investigation had confirmed that data had been extracted from the company servers before they went offline. Hellmann is working on establishing what type of data was extracted, promising to provide further information as soon as possible. “We are in regular contact with relevant government authorities,” it assures, however warns: “Please note that the number of so-called fraudulent calls and mails has generally increased. Whilst communication with Hellmann staff via email and telephone remains safe (inbound and outbound), please make sure that you are actually communicating with a Hellmann employee and beware of fraudulent mails/ calls from suspicious sources, in particular regarding payment transfers, change bank account details or the like.”
Another Vorsprung durch Technik over at Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Technik is a good breeding ground for Lufthansa Cargo Board Members. Both Harald Gloy who Dietmar Focke succeeds as Chief Operations and Human Resources Officer, as well as Soeren Stark before him, all came over from the Group’s MRO subsidiary. Dietmar Focke (48) is currently Vice President Engine Services at Lufthansa Technik, and is due to join the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo on 01MAR22, pending approval, responsible for Human Resourses, Global Handling Management (including handling at Frankfurt and Munich hubs), Flight Operations, and Security and Procurement.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to win Dietmar Focke, an experienced Lufthansa colleague, as Chief Operations and Human Resources Officer,” Dr. Michael Niggemann, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa Cargo said. “He will bring his extensive experience in logistics and the management of large operational areas and will also continue to lead Operations and Human Resources toward the future and strengthen Lufthansa Cargo's role in a fiercely competitive environment.”
Dietmar Focke has an engineering background and began his career as a product engineer at Lufthansa Technik in 2001, moving on to hold positions in Strategy & Business Development, and Airframe Related Components in Hamburg. From 2010-2014, he was responsible for aircraft overhaul at Ameco in China, before moving to Budapest, Hungary to become CEO of Lufthansa Technik’s Base Maintenance facility there, until 2019.
Meanwhile, over at Lufthansa Group subsidiary, Austrian Airlines, Annette Mann has been nominated to succeed Alexis von Hoensbroech as CEO at the end of this year. He leaves at his own request after 3.5 years at the helm, to become CEO at WestJet in Canada, early next year. Annette Mann (43), who is currently Head of Corporate Responsibility for the Lufthansa Group, will assume her Austrian Airlines CEO duties in MAR22, alongside CCO Michael Trestl and COO Francesco Sciortino, once formally appointed by the Supervisory Board of Austrian Airlines.
She has held various strategic, conceptional and operational positions over the last 18 years, within Lufthansa Group, including SWISS.
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