Cargolux donates EUR 3.5 million to Ukraine
Luxembourg-based Cargolux has pledged EUR 3.5 million in support to Ukraine. The money is to go towards humanitarian efforts being carried out by international relief agencies involved in supporting those affected by the war in Ukraine. The financial donation is in response to the UN’s emergency appeal for US$1.7 billion to help people in and fleeing the Ukraine. Richard Forson, President & CEO of Cargolux, declared: “It is with great regret that we witness the unfolding of this conflict. We hope that our donation will positively contribute to the relief efforts underway in Ukraine and at the borders of those countries where people are arriving to seek refuge in the EU.” The company will donate EUR 1 million each to UNICEF and the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and EUR 500.000 to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). An additional EUR 1 million is due to be distributed amongst initiatives by local organizations and communes within Luxembourg.
It is estimated that as many as 5 million people will flee the Ukraine in what is already the fastest refugee exodus that Europe has seen. More than 2% of Ukraine’s population of 44 million has already fled across the borders to the neighboring countries, and the UN has warned that the speed of the exodus could trigger “the biggest refugee crisis this century”. All the more important, that local organizations across Europe also receive funds to be in a position to provide the help required.
“Cargolux is committed to making a difference and providing assistance to communities in need. Health and safety rank high on the airline’s agenda and supporting international and local humanitarian action is a top priority. As a global operator with a worldwide network and a diverse team, Cargolux is an advocate for inclusive and collaborative values,” the press release states.
Freight forwarders suspend Russian services
As sanctions fall on Russia, the world’s eleventh-largest economy, with the closure of airspace, freezing of accounts, and directives to cease trade, many international freight forwarders have suspended their services to and from the country on all trade channels: air, land, and sea. Amongst them: Kuehne+Nagel, Geodis, DSV A/S, DHL, and DB Schenker. In some cases, Belarus services have also been suspended. Shipping giants, MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express, too, have stopped taking cargo bookings, with one exception according to Maersk: “bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with exception of foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies.” Measures that will add to the already inflated rates, delays and chaos brought about by the past two years of the pandemic. DSV said in its statement: “Knowing that today’s decision to suspend transport to and from Russia and Belarus, will further add to the supply chain disruption and complexity for our customers, we want to underline that we are doing our utmost to alleviate the negative supply chain effects from these measures.”
Yet, in these already strained global supply chains, these moves intended to “isolate Russia politically, financially and economically” (as per Christian Lindner, Germany’s finance minister), and halt the illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine, will be suffered most by the weakest and poorest in a society under an oppressive government. Those people being fed untruths from government-controlled media outlets, and who are arrested if they dare venture on the streets in protest at their government’s actions. Putin has succeeded in alienating his people from the rest of the world, causing unnecessary and senseless bloodshed and pain, and driving a rift between nations.
In this global air cargo industry, we are all connected as one family. I doubt there is anyone here who condones the decisions of the Russian government in bringing war to Ukraine. Yet, how does one repair this damage on a human front?
Vertical take-off takes off vertically in investment funds
The German urban air mobility pioneer, Volocopter, has raised another USD 170 million in its latest Series E financing round, bringing the total funds so far raised to USD 579 million, with a pre-money valuation of the company standing at USD 1.7 billion. This time it is Seoul-based, Korean WP Investment that led the funding round as signatory on a joint venture term sheet that will see the development of air taxi operations in South Korea. Dr. Lei Wang, Chairman of WP Investment, stated: “We are confident that Volocopter will be among the first to bring UAM to cities globally, since seeing its aircraft fly in Seoul last year. As a leader in ESG investment, we are excited to empower city sustainability through Volocopter.” Tiffany Park, Co-Chairman of WP Investment, added: “We are excited to kick off our joint venture and be the first to establish sustainable eVTOL logistics and air taxi services with Volocopter in Korea.”
The latest funding will be used for certification and commercial launch of of Volocopter’s electric passenger air taxi in the first cities, as it ramps up to implementing a different kind of urban mobility. Among the other many existing investors, Elisabetta De Bernardi, Investment Director Europe for Atlantia, had this to say: “We decided to strengthen our investment in Volocopter because we strongly believe in its ability to rapidly bring to life this innovative and sustainable mobility. We will continue to promote urban air mobility, a fast-growing business that can help reduce emissions and traffic in large cities.”
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said: “This funding round is a testament to Volocopter’s leading position in what is a highly attractive emerging market.” Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, lauded: “Volocopter has spectacular investors from around the globe, which puts us in an excellent position to focus on our first-to-certification and first-to-market strategies before we embark on the path to public listing.” Stefan Klocke, Chairman of Volocopter’s Advisory Board, concluded: “We have never been in a stronger position: we are financially diversified, certification of the aircraft is within reach, and we are demonstrating our advanced capabilities by public flights and strong joint-ventures across the world.” Volocopter recently entered a financing agreement with Aviation Capital Group (ACG) to shape the sale and leasing of Volocopter aircraft for up to USD 1 billion, upon aircraft certification.
29 A330P2F conversions for ATSG at EFW
The world’s largest freighter lessor, Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG), is about to up its service fleet of 177 aircraft. It has now committed to 29 Airbus A330 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion slots with ST Engineering’s and Airbus’ joint venture, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). These next-generation wide-body freighters will undergo conversion from mid-2023 through 2027. Most of the work will be carried out at EFW's facility in Dresden, Germany, though parallel conversions will also be done at a new conversion site due to be set up in Shanghai, China. The Chinese site is one of the new conversion locations (which include the U.S.) being set up by ST Engineering and EFW, in order to keep up with the rising demand for freighter conversions. The target is to carry out 60 Airbus conversions each year from 2024. Once converted, the A330-200P2F can carry a gross payload of up to 61 tons of weight over a range of more than 7,700 km, whilst the A330-300P2F has a gross payload of up to 63 tons, a containerized volume of up to 526 m³: 23% more cargo volume than other freighter aircraft in the same class.
ATSG’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mike Berger explained: “The A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion is a natural next step for ATSG as it is an excellent complement to the Boeing 767-300 medium widebody freighter, which has long been the freighter of choice for the e-commerce air cargo market. The availability of feedstock combined with impressive cargo capacity make the A330 a very attractive option for conversion and will enable ATSG to continue to meet the demands for full-capacity freighters long into the future. Customers' response to the news that we will have A330-300 freighters available for lease, has been exceptionally strong, and we already have customer deposits towards future leases for half of these 29 converted freighters.”
Andreas Sperl, CEO of EFW, added: “To have a key market player like ATSG adopting the A330P2F program with such a high commitment, is a major milestone for us. This is a great sign of confidence in next-generation Airbus freighters and trust in EFW's competency as a center of excellence for Airbus freighter conversions.”
Teleport is ready to go live on WebCargo
The Capital A (previously known as AirAsia Group) logistics venture, Teleport will be going live on WebCargo this month, bringing its Aisan cargo-only network to the platform and the more than 3,000 international freight forwarders who use it.
The 2018-founded Teleport offers its services to all players in the logistics chain and has the goal of “moving things across Southeast Asia better than anybody else in 24 hours.” Its cargo-only network is just two years old and operates with a strong e-commerce focus out of its Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok hubs, in addition to an extensive belly capacity network in Airasia’s passenger flights in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. To begin with, Teleport’s capacity will bookable on WebCargo for customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Korea, Manila and India. Later on in the year, it will then roll out to WebCargo’s user base. With this latest addition, WebCargo will display more than 31% of all global cargo capacity on its real-time rate and booking platform.
Adrian Loretz, Chief Operating Officer of Teleport said, “Global supply chain disruptions have made flexible air cargo in the Asia-Pacific region critical, both to support the region’s broad manufacturing base and to compensate for ongoing ocean freight port challenges. Against this backdrop, it was important for us to join forces with WebCargo as we expand our logistics footprint across Asia. Coupled with our robust and extensive cargo network, we are certain WebCargo will be advantageous for more freight forwarders and direct shippers not only in Southeast Asia, but those in other regions as well. More of our network capacity will now be accessible for online booking which will enhance the cargo booking experience, making it a streamlined process with a fast and intuitive experience for all.”
WebCargo’s CEO, Manel Galindo, stated: “The past year has proven the sheer demand for air cargo digitization. It’s no coincidence that during one of air cargo’s busiest periods, eBookings on WebCargo increased by over 1,000%. Through this partnership, leveraging our established technology with Teleport’s innovative drive and customer reach, we’re excited to improve air cargo bookings for thousands of shippers.”
ECS Group and Amelia “Just Fly It”
“Just Fly It” is the name of one of ECS Group’s New Abilities that makes up part of its unique “Augmented GSA” service offer. Described as a “pure, comprehensive charter service available to freight forwarders as well as airlines,” it assists both forwarders looking for ad hoc capacity, as well as airlines, such as Amelia International, looking to offer aircraft for charter operations. Amelia International, took delivery of its first ATR-72 freighter at the start of this year, in a strategic move into the cargo business. ECS Group brought it business recently, enabling it to off on its first commercial charter flight within hours of ECS Group agreeing the contractual terms and conditions with the customer. The GSSA also supervised the operational preparations for the flight.
Matija Krajnc, Managing Director at Amelia International announced: “We successfully operated our first charter flight from Gyor, Hungary, to Bremen Germany. The flight, on behalf of a customer in the automotive industry, took place on 10 February 2022, carrying a full payload of around 7.5 tons of automotive components. We are delighted that our ATR-72 Freighter has finally embarked on its first mission to provide much-needed air cargo capacity within Europe. With ECS Group's support, we look forward to many more, similar flights, soon.”
Robert Van De Weg, Chief Commercial Officer of ECS Group, stated: “We are pleased to have supported Amelia International with the first flight of their new ATR-72 freighter. Our Total Cargo Expertise (TCE) team is on hand to provide Amelia International with operational support and we are also assisting them with our commercial competence as they get going in the fast-moving world of air cargo. We wish Amelia International success and look forward to continued partnership as they grow in future.”
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