Since Swiss Air Lines was founded exactly 20 years ago, its cargo division (SWC) has generally generated profits, year after year. Yet, sales were never as high as in 2021. For Swiss
WorldCargo's Head of Cargo, Lorenzo Stoll, who took over the helm from Ashwin Bhat in April last year, things couldn't have gone better during his first year in office.
Lorenzo Stoll is a rugby enthusiast, a sport that demands extreme physical power from players. However, tactics often triumph over sheer muscle mass. This happens when a team manages, through clever back passes, to find a player able to carry the ball into the opponent's end zone and score.
What does that have to do with Lorenzo’s job at SWC? The rules of the game are principles that have shaped the former member of a Rugby student team, from day one.
Sport is a good school for life
Principle number 1: As an individual player, you are nothing; what counts, is the team. Translated to SWC, this means that the financial results achieved in 2021 are a collective effort enabled by all 260 staff worldwide. They deserve the credit, not so much their boss, he pronounces.
And these are the figures: SWC generated sales totaling 490 million Swiss francs (EUR 479 million), up 55% in comparison to the pre-covid year 2019. Since SWC is a division of parent Swiss Air Lines, the result is documented in the balance sheet of its parent company.
Volumes totaled 176,000 tons, of which 61,000 tons were contributed by cargo-only flights of three of the Swiss-operated 12 Boeing 777 passenger aircraft, which had been emptied of their seats to accommodate high volumes.
The Swiss government commissioned several humanitarian flights, for example, to carry hygiene materials or vaccines to Jakarta, Bangkok, or Colombo, in Sri Lanka. “We are particularly proud of this order, which documents the confidence of government agencies in our performance and reliability,” emphasizes manager Stoll.
Second principle: Build on your strengths
Focusing on premium products such as pharmaceuticals, valuables, express shipments, flowers and perishables, or the urgent transport of machine parts, is SWC’s credo. Motto: You want excellence and reliability; we deliver but to a somewhat higher price, because premium services must be paid for. “Customers tend to accept this since they get added value in return,” states Mr. Stoll. The manager goes on to say: “We will continue to offer our customers transport and handling solutions of high quality, tailored to their specific needs. The combination of reliability, quality, customer focus, and transparency are our USPs.”
Third principle: Stopping global warming begins now, not tomorrow or after
That is why Mr. Stoll and his team have put sustainability on top of their 2022 agenda. “It’s our obligation to fight climate change as best as we can by reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions, but also motivating all supply chain participants to act accordingly.” This is easier with large logistics companies who can afford to pay higher prices for ecofriendly Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), but smaller forwarders have so far mainly looked at the cost side of a transport before placing an order with carrier X, Y, or Z.
Yet, even they are slowly changing their attitude, especially as social pressure for environmentally friendly behavior continues to grow - not just in Switzerland. Looking ahead, Lorenzo Stoll announces a new tool to measure greenhouse gas emissions. “We plan to debut a CO2 calculator, enabling full transparency on every shipment's carbon emission, as well as offering several compensation options to our customers,” he says. This measure is also likely to be awareness-raising.
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