Africa’s largest airline group is about to get bigger
Ethiopian Airlines has put in an order for another five of Boeing’s largest, long-range freighter type: the B777F. The press release does not say when the new additions will join the fleet, however, when they do, Ethiopian Airlines will have one of the largest B777F fleets in the industry, with a total of 14 such aircraft. Its cargo division also operates three 737-800 converted freighters and utilizes the cargo capacities of its passenger fleet which includes more than 80 Boeing jets, among them: B737, B767, B787 and B777 versions.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew, announced: “The addition of these five B777 Freighters into our cargo fleet will enable us to meet the growing demand in our cargo operation. While cementing our partnership with the Boeing Company with new orders, the growth of our freighter fleet takes the capacity and efficiency of our shipment service to the next level. We always strive to serve our customers with the latest technology aircraft the aviation industry could offer. Our Africa’s largest cargo terminal coupled with fuel efficient freighters and well-trained cargo handling professionals will enable our customers to get the best quality shipment service. Customers can rely on Ethiopian for wide-ranging cargo services across five continents.” In a similar vein, Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing, stated: “We value the trust that Ethiopian Airlines places in the 777 Freighter to support their cargo ambitions which will provide them with increased capability and flexibility to their operations. Additional 777 Freighters will enable Ethiopian to capitalize on near-term cargo demand, while positioning the airline for further expansion in the future.”
At 17% lower fuel use and emissions compared to prior models, Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet will operate more sustainably as it flies between the 66 dedicated cargo centers throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. In total, Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services serve 127 international destinations with both belly hold capacity and dedicated freighter services.
The airline also just took delivery of its first 737-800BCF which it has leased from ICBC Leasing. This aircraft was Jinan, China-based, Shandong Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (STAECO)’s fiftieth 737-800BCF conversion.
Qatar Airways Cargo delivers around one-fifth of India’s vaccines
Around 60% of the world’s vaccine demand is covered by pharmaceuticals produced in India. Not just Covid vaccines, but also diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella, to name a few others. And Qatar Airways Cargo, which began specializing in quality logistics of pharmaceuticals in 2014, now transports around 18% of India’s pharma products around the world. “Practically every fifth pharma shipment leaves the country on board a Qatar Airways Cargo plane,” the press release announces. Ehab Matta, Senior Manager Regional Cargo Indian subcontinent, Middle East & Pakistan – Qatar Airways, confirms: “The Indian pharma market is very important for Qatar Airways Cargo. We work closely with major vaccine manufacturers in India through our global partnerships with international as well as leading local freight forwarders.” That close collaboration includes implementing innovative products as they come on the market. Hyderabad (HYD), for example, was the first station in the Qatar Airways Cargo network, to deploy Envirotainer's new Releye® RLP containers once they were approved for carriage the airline’s aircraft. The station also holds a national record for carrying the greatest number  of active pharma containers on a single flight. Not surprising, since more than 2,500 of India's 3,000 pharma companies and 10,500 manufacturing units are located there, making Hyderabad the country’s main pharma export station. The rest travels out of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai.
Matta elaborates on the topic of Covid-vaccines: “India produces and exports both conventional vaccines as well as COVID-19 vaccines. Ten COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in India, whilst Indian manufactured vaccines are approved in over 138 countries globally. We have moved close to 30 million COVID-19 vaccines to date to several destinations across our network including Africa, Middle East, Americas, Europe, and Asia. We expect to move more since the COVID-19 vaccine export restriction was lifted by the Indian Government late last year. Our participation in the UNHCR vaccine program, through Kuehne and Nagel, is a good testimony to our commitment.”
The press release discloses that the airline recently employed Sunita Sanghvi on 14MAR22, as Regional Cargo Sales Manager – Products, responsible for the region’s pharma product development across India and rest of the ISC region, and Matta emphasizes: “If you are interested in learning more about what we do, you can meet up with members of our pharma team in person at this year's air cargo India event from 31 May 2022 to 02 June 2022. We will be at booth C101. We look forward to seeing you there.”
UAE to become first country outside the U.S. and EU to implement PLACI
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Federal Authorities for Identity, Citizen, Custom and Port Security (ICP) in United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to work together to enhance the safety and security of air cargo shipments within the UAE, by implementing PLACI - the Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information System. PLACI is already deployed within the U.S. and the EU, and assists airlines, forwarders, customs, and ground handlers in their handling and managing of shipments. In pre-advising cargo information, an initial risk assessment of the shipment can be carried before it is loaded into the aircraft. The system is aligned with regulatory requirements such as ACAS, PACT, or ICS2 PLACI, and the single information source standardizes and speeds-up administrative processes, helps avoid non-compliance issues with regulators and supply chain partners, plan available handling resources, and, above all, increase supply chain security. “This new layer of security to be applied before loading shipments bound to UAE, complies with principles set jointly by the International Civil Aviation Organization and World Customs Organization,” the press release states.
ICP’s General Director, His Excellency Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaeeli, explains: “The cooperation between IATA and ICP regarding air freight security, will contribute to achieving a higher level of security in this vital sector, in light of harmonizing national regulations with international standards. This will facilitate the smooth flow of supply chain security and trade through a developed and coordinated approach, which will reinforce UAE’s position as an international center for trade and shipping. It’s worth noting that the ICP UAE is one of the pioneering institutions implementing the initiative which complies with International Civil Aviation Organization and World Customs Organization joint standards.”
Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East, underlines: “IATA has a strong relationship with ICP and is proud to assist in the development of the UAE’s pre-loading electronic advance information program. The project will employ IATA messaging standards and existing business processes in one of the few pre-loading electronic advance information programs currently developed worldwide. The endorsement of IATA standards by a national administration is an important step towards harmonizing standards across the industry which is critical for the secure flow of trade. We look forward to a successful implementation, setting an example for other countries.”
Learning to understand Cargo iQ processes
The kick-off of Cargo iQ’s new, “Advanced” in-person training sessions on Cargo iQ’s processes, was held on 23MAY22 at Schenker’s Arizona facility, coinciding with the 31st CNS Partnership Conference being held 23MAY22-25MAY22, at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, USA. Offered cost-free to Cargo iA members, the training is aimed at people involved in Cargo iQ projects and tasks, to ensure that they have a comprehensive understanding of the group's processes. It builds on a self-taught online Introductory training (launched MAY21 to compensate for the lack of face-to-face trainings due to pandemic), consisting of a series of ten videos, an online Q&A session, and a final online test. The in-person, Advanced training lasts one full day and covers six modules: Planning Logic; ENCORE; Milestones & KPIs; Smart Data & Reporting; Exception Handling codes; and Audit & Certification. These are discussed in detailed and interactive exercises allow participants to apply the theory to their day-to-day work, share their experience along with common issues, and develop possible solutions within the group.
Laura Rodriguez, Manager Implementation and Quality Assurance, Cargo iQ, described the success of the first training: “We had an enjoyable first session for our new in-person training in Phoenix which focused on shared learning among everyone present. Our online Introductory training has provided a very good start to learning the basics of Cargo iQ for our members, but the virtual aspect brings some limitations to the level of interaction and knowledge exchange. We see immense value in running the training face to face and don't plan to hold these sessions in a hybrid or virtual format, at least for now.”
Lothar Moehle, Executive Director, Cargo iQ, elaborates: “The idea is to hold sessions in different geographies to allow access to our global membership, which is why we take the opportunity to hold an in-person training session when we travel to a conference. We hope to schedule further sessions this year once we have defined the best locations and dates to enable optimal attendance for our members.” One such session has already been arranged and will take place in Geneva on 17JUN22, following Cargo iQ's Working Group meeting.
Shifting up the gears over at Brussels Airport with SHIFT 2027
“Wider horizons, sustainable ambitions” is the tagline of Brussels Airport’s new strategy, SHIFT 2027, which is aimed at solidifying its hub status within Europe, and further improving sustainability and diversification measures, “with a clear commitment to innovation and partnership,” the press release explains, detailing: “after two difficult crisis years, Brussels Airport is starting a new chapter with a new strategy for the coming five years”. Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, announced: “With this new strategy for Brussels Airport, we are ready for the challenges of the future. Connecting people, businesses, and communities remains central in our vision and offering the best possible service as a hub is at the heart of everything we do. But everything we do will be done with an even stronger focus on sustainability. That will be further embedded in our DNA, and in this field, we want to be a pioneer in our sector. In addition, we are looking at new opportunities and partnerships that fit with our core business, with a focus on innovative solutions and new technologies. In this way, we want to further strengthen the socio-economic and connecting role that we have as an economic center and employment engine.”
The airport has ambition to go beyond simply functioning as an airport, to becoming a sustainability leader within the aviation industry, and acting as an “Airport Business District.” With the increasing importance and focus on sustainability, it has pledged to build on its existing measures, such as its CO2-neutral activities (since 2018), and work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions at the latest by 2050. The airport is project leader in the European Stargate, and reveals that “many concrete initiatives for greening aviation will be taken in the coming five years,” citing the implementation of sustainable aviation fuels and electric ground handling material as examples. “Energy efficiency and green energy are prioritized with every construction project, and we work following the principles of circular economy,” it says.
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Top of the Spots! Says Awery
Vitaly Smilianets, CEO of Awery Aviation Software (Awery), is convinced that Spot Pricing will rule from now own, and that fixed rates are not coming back any time soon. Such as his opinion at the CNS Partnership Conference 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, last week. Speaking to the 750 international, attending delegates, he stated: “A side effect of the COVID pandemic was a fundamental shift away from long term contracted rates over to spot booking as capacity shrunk and demand increased. At the same time, the uptake of digitization by airlines introduced huge efficiencies, making pricing quicker and more responsive. Because of this, we anticipate that even as air cargo capacity increases, either through increased passenger flights or investment in freighters, the airlines won't return to fixed rates.” A convenient development that supports Awery's suite of services which includes CargoBooking: software designed to automates booking processes and provide instant quotes in response, for example, to inbound email quotation requests. Awery’s Quotation Management System can deliver published rates, contract rates, allocations, and spot or promo rates.
“The change began because of COVID, but the change is here to stay because of tech. The airlines have done a fantastic job in adapting to new processes, embracing digitization to adapt to the changing business landscape. By adopting digitization, the industry is building business resilience and future proofing against the next challenge,” he concluded.
Tell us what digitalization can do for us!
Speaking at the CNS Partnership Conference in Phoenix, USA, last week, Brandon Fried, Executive Director, Airforwarders Association (AfA), said: “There has been steady acceptance and adoption in the air cargo sector at large, but within the independent freight forwarder community, digitization is driven by the shipper. Many AfA members invested in automation before the pandemic and could work from home, so in many ways the COVID lockdowns were a gigantic proof of concept. But for continued and more widespread streamlining of operations through digitization, there needs to be a more clearly articulated value proposition.” He called on software providers to clearly explain how their digital solutions can improve processes, since “if the benefits of adopting a specific automation solution are not properly communicated, forwarders won't move on from legacy practices. The software providers have to be better at demonstrating the benefits of digitization, and until they do, I think the industry at large is paying the price.”
An unusual request, given that much industry communication over the past two years, has clearly been saying that those companies adopting digital solutions are better equipped to handle irregularities and unprecedented circumstances. AfA, which represents more than 200 member companies in the US, confirmed that while forwarders are prepared to digitalize, they need to better understand the software’s value propositions. Simply selling the software as “being a shipper or regulatory requirement”, is not enough to encourage companies to invest and adopt.
Using Blockchain to exchange Block Space Agreements
Whereas Awery is certain that Spots are here to stay, Fintech pioneer, Airblox introduced its eBSA software at CNS Partnership Conference last week. “An electronic block space agreement (eBSA) is essentially a block space agreement that has a standardized legal language and has economic properties that are variable, which can be set by the issuer i.e., Airline,” Airblox’ website reads. “An eBSA’s economic value is predominately defined by three elements, the route/ lane, frequency, and pivot rate. Depending on lane dynamics, supply and demand of capacity and common factors affecting airline economics, eBSAs are priced. Each lane displayed on Airblox digital air cargo capacity exchange provides three options for the purchaser of the eBSA: bid, buy and block. A bid allows for buyers to submit offers to a single or multiple lanes where the seller can review and accept the lane to the bidder of their choice. A buy allows buyers to outright purchase a single or multiple lanes at a time and a block allows buyers to reserve a single or multiple lanes for a partial premium of the purchase price set by the seller.”
The Airblox marketplace enables its users (both freight forwarders and airlines) to access real-time information on global air freight capacity, and to trade this capacity by way of electronic Block Space Agreements (eBSA™). “The new live feed will enable users to view upcoming capacity and make informed business decisions by lane by making bids for, and securing eBSAs™ at competitive prices,” the press release underlines.
Edip Pektas, Founder of Airblox, explained: “By digitizing capacity in a centralized exchange in a standardized format, the market is assigning a certain value to it that can be traded. We believe that the future of air cargo capacity is as a tradable concept, and by launching this new feed, we are a step closer to giving full transparency of the scheduled global air freight capacity to our users so that they can make informed decisions.” Airblox is the first company to digitize Block Space Agreements (BSAs) and make them a tradable commodity. It builds on a blockchain infrastructure which guarantees secure transactions.
Wiremind Cargo unveils its CargoStack CMS
Nathanaël de Tarade, Chief Executive Officer of Wiremind Cargo, is convinced: “Connectivity is the future, and we want our customers to be able to concentrate fully on their sales and operational activities, benefitting from highly innovative system support. Gone are the days where IT often posed a hindrance to work processes. Our technology offers data and insights that enable improved decision making and far more efficient workflows. Seamless integration and ultimate user experience is our aim. When it comes to setting up CargoStack, the airline simply tells us who CargoStack should be plugged with, and we make it happen.” His French technology company has come up with a comprehensive SaaS Cargo Management System (CMS) suite that enables enhanced air cargo activity steering through AI-driven insights. CargoStack is Wiremind Cargo's first holistic product suite, and is designed to ensure seamless interaction between airlines, GHAs, GSAs, and forwarders. Airlines can manage their entire cargo activity from schedule to live capacity and bookings, from products and customer management, to flight optimization and loading through the system. They and their forwarding customers, GSA, and GHA partners, can easily opt to plug in whichever relevant APIs related to rates or capacity information, are required.
The company underlines the competitive advantage its CargoStack SaaS offers airlines, outlining three core features differentiating it from other CMS solutions: Excellent user experience with a unique look and feel that enables easy adoption, the inclusion to Wiremind Cargo's flagship capacity optimization module, SkyPallet, which it calls “a revolution in shipment steering and flight planning”, and, thirdly, “CargoStack's Revenue Management capabilities, programmed by an industry-recognized data science team, and capable of managing well in excess of 150 million bookings per year”. De Tarade concludes: “With CargoStack, as with all Wiremind Cargo products, our customers are purchasing perfection in evolution. We offer a fully functional CMS that benefits from the periodic release of new features as we continue to further enhance and fine-tune functionalities.”
Hitting a century of cargo flights for EgeTrans
Since the charter agreement between Lufthansa Cargo and Marbach am Neckar, Germany-based EgeTrans Internationale Spedition GmbH was first signed in the winter of 2020, the cargo airline has operated a full 100 preighter flights on EgeTrans’ behalf. With an average load of 37 tons per flight, Lufthansa Cargo operated exclusive A340, (sometimes A350) Lufthansa Passage aircraft as cargo-only flights from Frankfurt to Chicago, for EgeTrans. The consignments consisted mainly of agricultural machinery as well as cargo for the automotive, commercial vehicle and hydraulics industries. Alone in the summer of 2021, up to five preighters per week would leave Germany, urgently heading for the US. In some cases, these were roundtrips.
“Organizing such preighter turnarounds requires precise coordination with our customers, but also with all parties involved, such as Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Passage, and Lufthansa Technik. We are proud to have established such a reliable and resilient process chain for the respective freight requirements in these special times. In the future, we will continue to focus on using and offering synergies and capacities in the best possible way for our customers,” Achim Martinka, Vice President Germany of Lufthansa Cargo, said.
“The communication with the Lufthansa Cargo contacts works flawlessly and always to our complete satisfaction. We are proud that the close cooperation with the Lufthansa Cargo Team Stuttgart is not exclusively limited to the freighters, but that we also have cargo capacities available three times a week on both freighters and passenger aircraft bound for Chicago at Lufthansa Cargo,” Florian Naujocks, Air Cargo Manager at EgeTrans, added.
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