Tons and tons of Covid-19 test kits
Last month saw Volga-Dnepr transport a total of 12 million Covid-19 tests kits from Shanghai, China, to Billund in Denmark. Spread over a series of six charter flights, the final one landed on 31JAN22, carrying its test-kit payload of 72 tons – similar to those of its five predecessors. The AN-124-100, registration RA-82044, carried out the transport together with UK-based JAG-UFS, which is heavily involved in Covid-related logistics. In the UK alone, JAG UFS not only ensures daily test-kit deliveries across the country but has also supported setting up Covid hospitals by “transporting the hospital beds, [helping] to deliver over 180 million face masks & PPE for [the] NHS […and organizing] designated weekly freighters for hand sanitizers,” it reveals. Regarding the test kits, JAG UFS says “ensuring the timely logistics of these kits is essential. We have kits arriving on mass at the JAG UFS warehouse for daily sorting and delivery to clients across the country.”
The two companies “are key strategic partners in transporting Covid-related products”, also ensuring the transport of other items such as PPE and medical equipment. This particular JAG UFS/Volga-Dnepr test-kit charter series was carried out on behalf of the Danish government and demanded intense coordination of the teams in China and Europe “to ensure these flights arrived safely and timely.”
Just two days earlier, on 29JAN22, which saw RA-82046 and RA-82043 both being in Billund airspace at the same time (the first departing, the other arriving), the AN-124’s turnaround at Billund Airport had been completed in record time with the flight offloading of 650 m³ of freight taking just 1 hour and 45 minutes instead of the usual 6-10 hours required for bulk palletized cargo. “Martin Bodker Andersen of Spedman Logistics was pivotal in ensuring local logistic activities were faultless in order to comply with strict and demanding delivery schedules,” the press release applauds.
Ekaterina Andreeva, Commercial Director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, highlighted: “Since 2022, we keep receiving requests for the transportation of test kits as the demand for COVID-19 tests augments amid the spread of the omicron variant. We would like to thank Gary Wilcox (CEO) at JAG-UFS for once again entrusting us to deliver such critical cargo.”
Lufthansa Cargo scores sky high on iQ
Three stars might not seem much when choosing your hotel accommodation, but they are the equivalent of five stars when it comes to the Cargo iQ quality audit. And Lufthansa Cargo has just been awarded them for the second time running; back in 2017, and now in 2022, following an intense review over the past year. The independent auditing company, SGS, carried out the quality audit in accordance with the quality management standards for airfreight as outlined by IATA’s interest community, Cargo iQ. “The comprehensive audit included an extensive documentary pre-audit as well as a detailed examination of the implementation of the described quality assurance procedures in all processes,” the press release states. These are regularly checked, normally every three years, and result in Cargo iQ certification if successful. “Lufthansa Cargo again achieved an outstanding result with three out of three possible stars,” the airline is proud to report, “in particular for its performance in the categories ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, ‘Innovative Spirit’, and ‘Contribution to the Cargo iQ Community’”. In this case, too, “the audit examined the implementation of the milestone system used by Cargo iQ to evaluate performance and the development of Lufthansa Cargo's quality management, especially with regard to ‘continuous improvement’ measures,” looking at what has been done since the last audit.
“The certification of our quality management by the industry-wide Cargo iQ initiative confirms our customer promise to keep improving our quality and continue to make this transparently measurable. The recognition of our commitment to sustainability and the advancement of digital and innovative solutions makes us particularly proud and underlines our leadership in these topics which are very pertinent to our industry,” Ashwin Bhat, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo, declared.
A Royal contract across 26 countries
Royal Brunei Airlines has more than doubled the number of countries that it has contracted ECS Group to provide GSA services in: 26 in total, now, since 01FEB22 and running until 31JAN24. The Group has been the airline’s representative since 2018 – originally in 11 countries. Last year, that translated into 2000 tons of cargo for Royal Brunei. Whilst Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan have fallen away in the new, 2-year GSA contract, due to pandemic disruptions and ongoing service suspensions of previously daily flight operations, the Group has secured the representation of the airline’s cargo division in a mix of online and offline destinations across 9 territories: S.E Asia, Australia, China, Middle East/Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, India, United States, and Canada. It foresees a high number of charter operations (using the airline’s converted A320 cargo-in-cabin aircraft) alongside regular flights this year, with excellent interlining opportunities through BWN (Brunei’s airport) connection to Singapore (SIN) as a perfect international gateway. ECS Group intends to diversify, adding new destinations for Royal Brunei Airlines, and predicts a large increase in tonnage over the next two years. “Next to online points we also sell offline destinations like the USA or India. BI offers a lot of interline solutions and SIN is a perfect gateway to connect to BWN,” states CEO Adrien Thominet of ECS.
“We are committed to giving our customer ECS Group's best and are proud to have secured this contract extension. It is the result of excellent teamwork within ECS Group headquarters and stations, and testament to our close partnership with Royal Brunei,” Noor Azizah, ECS Group Regional VP Asia Pacific (exc. China), declared. “We look forward to another two years of working hand-in-hand with this award-winning, boutique airline offering great service!”
“Royal Brunei Airlines is delighted to continue its Cargo GSA relationship with ECS Group. The renewed relationship will further strengthen the partnership between Royal Brunei Airlines and ECS Group, with extended coverage of key territories such as Australia and UAE, as well as potential offline markets in USA, Canada, and India. With their network coverage, we believe and hope to see ECS Group enhance Royal Brunei Airline's footprint and presence with improved revenue performance in the represented territories," Christina Chua, Senior Vice President Passenger, Cargo and Charter Sales at Royal Brunei Airlines, stated.
AirBridgeCargo’s rocket online growth
Volga-Dnepr Group’s AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), saw a staggering 274% increase in online bookings last year, in comparison to 2020. The airline has been active on cargo.one since 2019, with its online focus out of Europe, initially. It then expanded to WebCargo, and most recently – at the end of last year – also to CargoAi. Broad accessibility thanks to leading online booking platforms, coupled with the pandemic-driven meteoric rise of digital channel adoption by freight forwarders, are what led to its excellent growth rate. Alongside the mentioned cargo booking platforms, AirBridgeCargo has also been working on its own eBooking channel via its official website and eFreight system, thus offering a complete pallet of digital options to its various customers.
Last year, the airline’s focus was on growing its online booking offer for its APAC customers. Since the Spring of 2021, it has connected China, Japan, South Korea, amongst other countries, and “broadened its online booking scope to offer all the origins and destinations within its existing network, alongside bringing networks of its road-feeder service partners,” as per its press release. Its digital developments will continue this year and beyond: “AirBridgeCargo and Volga-Dnepr Group are set to transform their internal cargo management system which will enable not only smooth booking and confirmation, but also CRM, invoicing, revenue management, and as a result will improve overall business efficiency.”
Alexey Zotov, Commercial Director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, stated: “With customers becoming more digitally minded, we aim to adapt the same digital experience they have become accustomed to as consumers, and transfer it in the business-to-business environment. We have been in close dialogue with our key accounts to see how we could increase online bookings and integrate our capabilities into their internal Transport Management Systems. This will enable more seamless customer experience, and open new opportunities for further cooperation, including in the area of integrated logistics solutions which we are set to expand.”
Air Canada Cargo’s increasing taste for cargo
Air Canada Cargo is really ramping up to full service in preparation for its growing Boeing 767-300ER freighter fleet. Over at Frankfurt/Main Airport in Germany, it has already increased its handling capacity by 35% in anticipation of the cargo service connections due later this year. “The additional capacity is on top of the existing 5,000 m² already occupied by Air Canada Cargo in its self-handled Frankfurt hub [and has lined us up] to provide consistent capacity on key air cargo routes, which will facilitate the movement of goods globally,” the release explains, going on to quote Air Canada Cargo’s Director, Europe, Middle East and India, John Lloyd, “This represents a significant enhancement for Air Canada Cargo in Frankfurt, a facility that plays a key role in our global operations. It will further enhance our capabilities as we ramp up operations with the anticipated arrival of regular freighter operations into this critical hub.”
Meanwhile, back in Canada, the airline has just published a vacancy for an eCommerce Revenue Operations Manager, with the explanation that “new technology is driving the evolution of the travel ecosystem providing airlines with opportunities to reach into other areas of the transportation industry that it could not before. Air Canada is taking the lead to shape a modernized cost-effective ecommerce shipping using technology and partnerships such as first and last mile logistic providers, pick-up and drop-off retail companies, and online courier aggregators. The goal is to leverage Air Canada’s vast network to provide ecommerce delivery services to domestic and international online retailers.” Looks like the airline is ready to go beyond the standard airport-airport cargo operations.
Fighting the single use wave in logistics
“REcycle” is Bolloré Logistics’ latest initiative to improving sustainability within supply chains. Since the launch of its “Powering Sustainable Logistics” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program back in 2018, focused on offering its customers sustainable supply chain solutions, it has built sustainable offices and warehouses, and engaged in various biodiversity actions, all in line with its objective to reduce its CO2 emissions on the transport services delivered to its clients by 30% by 2030. The latest measure invites “customers to integrate sustainability into the management of their activities,” by tackling the major problem of single-use plastics that is so prevalent in this industry.
“REcycle” therefore offers customers the option of reusing packaging rather than going of one-way plastic solutions. “Designed as a global approach, REcycle outsources the entire management of reusing consumables for transport and logistics, allowing customers to check asset availability, manage stock worldwide and facilitate sustainable reverse logistics thanks to a dedicated web and mobile application,” the press release explains. Talk is of having access to pre-assessed, sustainable packaging types such as reusable thermic isolation kits for containerized transport, or pallet covers used for pre and post merchandise shipments. Special air pallet covers have also been sourced. Odile Maarek, CSR Director at Bolloré Logistics, explains: “We created REcycle to help our clients to considerably reduce their single-use consumables. As an example, using reusable thermic isolation kits for 100 shipments will reduce plastic use by 900 kg. Furthermore, it also complies with the new regulations that will ban single-use plastics in transport and logistics. In France, it will be banned from transport & logistics activities by 2040.”
All good certificates are three
Only three airlines in the world can boast that they hold three IATA CEIV certificates, and of those, Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of the Etihad Aviation Group, is the only carrier in the Middle East to carry this trophy at the moment. It is now the proud owner of IATA’s CEIV Live Animals certificate, adding to the CEIV Fresh and CEIV Pharma certifications already prominently on display on the company shelf. Will it be the first to go for the fourth certificate launched last year: IATA’s CEIV Lithium Battery? Time will tell.
The CEIV Live Animals certification followed rigorous assessment of Etihad Cargo’s dedicated products: LiveAnimals, for general animal transportation (including pets, and wild animals being moved on behalf of global conservation projects), and SkyStables, specialized in horse transportation. Focus was on adherence to all relevant standards, requirements, as well as the Live Animals Regulations (LAR). “Etihad Cargo is also a signatory of the Buckingham Palace Declaration against the illegal trade of wildlife,” the press release emphasizes.
Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group, commented: “The transportation of live animals requires specific conditions, and the CEIV certification further underlines Etihad Cargo’s experience and commitment to animal welfare and safe transportation. Etihad Cargo is proud to have secured certification for its LiveAnimals and SkyStables products. This recognition further endorses the industry-leading service we provide to global customers.”
Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, said: “Handling and transporting live animals is challenging. Each type of animal has its own specific requirements. Achieving CEIV Live Animals certification means Etihad Cargo’s customers can benefit from extra assurance that their precious cargo is in safe hands. We congratulate the airline on becoming the first in the Middle East to complete the suite of CEIV certifications – Pharma, Fresh, and Live Animals.”
Plane-spotters? Nah! FraPort now has license-plate-spotters
Click-2-drive is the name of the intelligent software that now complements the FAIR@Link cargo community platform over at Frankfurt/Main Airport, Germany. It reads license plates and automatically opens the gates at Frankfurt Airport’s CargoCity South for all vehicles holding a confirmed time slot in the FAIR@Link system to load or unload at one of the location’s freight forwarders’ premises. This means swifter entry processing and for all customers booking slots in advance.
Software company, DAKOSY and Fraport AG worked on connecting Click-2-drive to the airport’s FAIR@Link slot booking system, so that the license-plate detection system at Gates 31 and 32, installed last year, can query FAIR@Link to check for corresponding slot bookings and open the gate. If the license plate number is not recognized, or the driver is using a different vehicle to the one specified in the slot booking, s/he can scan the QR code received when registering to gain admission.
“More than 700 companies are already regularly using FAIR@Link to book slots with the large handling agents at the site. With the upcoming integration of the last large forwarder, FCS Frankfurt Cargo Services GmbH, nearly 100% of delivery vehicles will be using the slot booking system. By networking both systems, we can save time while boosting efficiency.” Dirk Gladiator, Head of DAKOSY’s FAIR@Link department, explains. “FAIR@Link also lets us monitor in real time whether slots actually free up as scheduled. If there are delays, we can digitally inform drivers when they arrive and direct them to one of Fraport’s truck parking spaces to wait until they can be unloaded.”
Max Philipp Conrady, VP for Cargo Development at Fraport, celebrates the first step in introducing adaptive dynamic traffic control at Frankfurt Airport: “By networking both systems, we have succeeded in implementing a faster, leaner process for managing all delivery traffic. We intend to continue applying this approach going forward. The next step will be to integrate booking of truck parking spaces at CargoCity South into the system. The goal is for our customers to benefit from secure, freely flowing traffic.”
Grow this, GEODIS!
GEODIS is expanding its footprint over in Brisbane (BNE) Airport’s Export Park (a location offering large-scale warehousing, freight handling, distribution centers, catering, wholesaling, and storage facilities), and constructing a new 4,500 m² warehouse facility, which is planned to be up and running by the second half of this year. Purpose-built by BNE Property, and comprising 4,000 pallet locations, 1,500 m² of bulk space, and a cool room for perishable goods supply to marine and hospitality logistics customers (cruise lines, in particular), the logistics company will use the facility to provide airfreight, ocean freight, contract logistics and customs brokerage solutions for its growing number of customers in the area. It is located close to the central business district (14 km away), as well as the Port of Brisbane (22 km distant). It will add to GEODIS’ 30,888 m² of warehousing space across seven Australian locations.
Stuart Asplet, GEODIS’ Sub-Regional Managing Director, Pacific Regional Director Sea Freight, Asia Pacific said: “At this new facility, GEODIS will showcase its expertise in import and export services including customs brokerage, to ensure complete supply chain transparency. GEODIS in Brisbane already has a strong package of solutions for our customers. This new, strategically positioned facility will not only enable us to meet the fast-changing needs of our customers today but will give us ample room to grow our offerings in the market.”
Martin Ryan, Brisbane Airport Corporation Executive General Manager Commercial, stated: “It’s fantastic to have another great tenant join BNE’s growing business community. Brisbane Airport’s size, accessibility, and amenity continue to attract great commercial and industrial businesses, and we are extremely pleased that GEODIS has selected BNE as the perfect place to continue to grow its business.”
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