Beluga braces for bigger shipments
At the start of this year, Airbus announced that its fleet of five BelugaST will be moving into the realm of commercial cargo transport once the new BelugaXL fleet (A330-200 platform version) goes into operation (CFG reported) Until now, the aircraft have been used to shuttle aircraft sections between various Airbus sites. Airbus engineers have been developing adjustments for the fleet in preparation for other types of cargo, such as outsized military shipments in this case. “Airbus Defence and Space has developed and tested a loading system to lift outsized military cargo into the Airbus Beluga A300-600ST aircraft,” a release revealed, detailing a successful test-phase on behalf of the system’s first customer: the German armed forces. A CH53 military medium-lift helicopter was loaded into the Beluga, using the new, self-funded cargo loading system and jig, during a verification event in Manching in the north of Munich, Germany. The project, which was developed in cooperation with the German armed forces (Bundeswehr), took 1.5 years to complete: it was developed and manufactured from scratch. The system can travel within the plane, does not require a crane for assembly, and has a lifting capacity of 35 tons.
Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, explained: “The demand for outsized air cargo capability is on the rise. Capacity is scarce and, in light of current geopolitical developments, many customers are looking for new, fast and efficient solutions. This is exactly what we offer with our BelugaST fleet. Our teams have been working on a remarkable solution to facilitate a speedy, efficient and autonomous handling to load heavy military cargo onto the aircraft. Speed, agility and autonomy are crucial elements for our customers when it comes to such operations.”
BlueSky is set to fly
The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA)’s BlueSky Program is now open to the entire air cargo industry – not just TIACA members – a press release announced last week, and listed the “pioneering launch customers for the air cargo industry's first multi-sector sustainability verification program,” a mix of airlines, airports, freight forwarders, ground handlers and GSSAs: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Astral Aviation, Brussels Airport, CHI (Cargo Handling International), Edmonton International Airport, Etihad Cargo, Flexport, HACTL (Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited), Strike Aviation, and Swissport.
The program had been announced in MAR22, when a pilot program was kicked off with airline and ground handling companies. Glyn Hughes elaborated on the program in a podcast this summer (CFG reported). The success of the pilot means that BlueSky is now reach to launch live operations with the companies named above embarking on Phase 1: an evidence-based desktop verification process that will assess participants’ progress with regard to 8 sustainability issues, in line with their industry sector: Decarbonization, Waste Elimination, Biodiversity Protection, Support for Local Economies and Communities, Impact on Society Improvement (lives and well-being), Efficiency and Profitability (digitalization), Employee Engagement, Retention and Development, and Partnership Building. The assessment, carried out by an independent organization, results in a personalized dashboard protraying each criteria’s stage of achievement and serves as a basis for the next phase which includes a full onsite audit option and detailed suggestions for improvements.
Steven Polmans, TIACA Chair, stated: “We are very pleased to see such strong launch support from some world class innovative organizations. This program will enable all participants to assess where they are on their sustainability transformation journey which will collectively demonstrate the leadership of the air cargo industry in tackling this important topic.”
Glyn Hughes, TIACA Director General, said: “Sustainability is an increasingly important topic for businesses globally and as an industry which connects the world it is critical that we all have strategic plans in place to ensure our sustainability credentials are demonstrated in an evidenced and neutral fashion.”
Wiremind Cargo launches Revenue Optimization System
“CargoStack's Revenue Optimization tool is clear evidence of the innovation that can happen when digital expertise is pooled and funded. Thanks to CargoTech's investment in our product, Wiremind Cargo has been able to create the most relevant decision support systems,” says Nathanaël de Tarade, Chief Executive Officer of Wiremind Cargo. “In an industry-first software, our advanced data science algorithms leverage the data available in CargoStack together with live and historical market demand information based on aggregated search data. The result is a fast and convenient tool providing clear analytical insights, and one that Sales Steerers & Flight Controllers will actually use because it really does make their life easier.” Talk is of the new module that forms part of the French technology specialist’s CargoStack CMS suite. It is a comprehensive decision support tool with Artificial Intelligence designed to help sales steerers and flight controllers in three key aspects of their job: Revenue Management (it recommends an Entry Condition, or "hurdle rate", to help flight controllers to decide on which bookings to accept on the flight), Pricing (spot rate recommendations are given), and Overbooking (the system gives advice based on the expected show-up rate of booked cargo). The user interface is specifically designed for ease of use, and “thus stands out from the industry's legacy system” the release underlines. The module is also scalable since “a small airline does not have the same processes for revenue optimization as larger ones do, so we adapt our system to the appropriate use case”.
It is above all the Revenue Optimization’s key market insights that differentiate it from other CMS systems: live market data (capacity and demand) is essential information for flight controllers, for example. Users can also set rules for the system “especially in cases where there is less data, such as on a newly launched route,” the release explains, emphasizing that “this "MRI" approach (Model, Rules, and Insights) offers the right level of advice for each possible use case.”
(When) Will SATS Ltd buy WFS?
Bloomberg speculated on 21SEP22, that leading Asian and Changi Airport’s dominant ground handling company, Singapore-based SATS Ltd (SATS). had entered into talks to acquire Paris, France-based, air cargo logistics provider, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS). The article offered a potential deal price of circa $3 billion. This figure was denied by SATS, though both SATS and WFS separately confirmed that talks for a possible transaction were underway. Neither provided more details, nor confirmed that a sale was definitive. SATS “currently has a market capitalization of $3.26 billion” according to a Reuters publication, whilst WFS, owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, has actively been acquiring and growing its own position as “the world's biggest air cargo operator”, with partnerships such as the one recently signed with Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) over in India, where it will operate, expand, and invest in the airports cargo facilities from MAY23. New facilities are also being built in Copenhagen, Denmark, and New York JFK, USA, alongside numerous other investments. A recent Air Cargo News interview with CEO, Craig Smyth, revealed that WFS is aiming to expand its global capacity by 30% between 2021 and 2024.
This is an excerpt of the clarification statement published by Low Siew Tian, SATS Ltd. Assistant Company Secretary, “for and on behalf of the Board” on the SATS website on 21SEP22: “SATS Ltd. (“SATS”) refers to an article by Bloomberg published on 21 September 2022 (“Article”) with speculation that SATS is in talks to buy Worldwide Flight Services. While we are in ongoing discussions regarding a potential acquisition of Worldwide Flight Services (“Potential Transaction”), no definitive terms or formal legal documentation (including the consideration) have been agreed upon. As such, the Article contains materially inaccurate facts.
One of SATS’s strategic priorities is to expand our network and capabilities in Asia and across the globe, and we are therefore constantly on the lookout for acquisition opportunities. Discussions concerning the Potential Transaction are developing and there is no certainty that it will proceed or will materialize. SATS will make timely announcements, if necessary, of any further material developments, in accordance with its obligations under the listing rules of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.” The statement went on to advise shareholders to seek professional advice before acting on speculative information. SATS shares had increased 0.7% on Wednesday, “but were halted after the report,” Reuters writes.
Lufthansa Cargo is ready to fly on CargoAi
The Letter of Intent between Lufthansa Cargo and CargoAi was signed just a few months ago, and already the air cargo airline has launched a 2-3-month pilot in three countries: CargoAi users in The Netherlands, Italy, and Spain now have access to routings and capacity information on all Lufthansa Group airlines serving their countries. They are hence able to book General and Express cargo on Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, or SunExpress. The air cargo carrier is CargoAi’s first customer to enable the instant rate offer and booking confirmation service.
During the pilot, the two companies will fine-tune their preparations for a global go-live, which will provide Lufthansa Cargo with an easy-to-use, customized e-booking system, allowing it to optimize the efficiency of its forwarding process. The airline will also benefit from the promotion of its services to the more than 5,000 freight forwarders across 103 countries who regularly use CargoAi's marketplace.
Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi, said: “We are honored that Lufthansa Cargo, one of Europe's largest air cargo carriers, has chosen to market its capacities on our platform. Lufthansa Cargo has often pioneered innovation in its long history and is again ahead of the digital curve with CargoAi: it is the first and only airline so far to enable forwarders to make use of our instant rate offer and booking confirmation functionalities.”
Ashwin Bhat, CCO of Lufthansa Cargo, explained: “We want to give our customers a choice of booking channels. The impressive success that CargoAi has demonstrated in just the four years since it was founded, mirrors the innovation that we strive for within our company and industry. Lufthansa Cargo was among the first to introduce eBooking-channels within the airfreight segment, and we have large numbers of customers using the ebooking functionality in three pilot countries. We will be listening with interest regarding the new software's features and "user friendliness & experience.”
Once the pilot is a success, Lufthansa Cargo and CargoAi will extend the CargoAi service across the rest of the network.
Green warehouses across Europe
“The ongoing global climate crisis 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,” says Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner. The current project in Slovenia is an extension of its state-of-the-art iLogistics Center in Ljubljana which was opened in 2019. An additional warehouse building which was constructed earlier than originally planned in order to match burgeoning customer demand, will open in November, bringing the location’s capacity up from 25,000 m² to 39,100 m². “To ensure that this growth is not only economically, but also environmentally sustainable, cargo-partner plans to upgrade the facility in 2023 with the installation of a large photovoltaic system on the roof,” the release explains. This will generate 575 MWh per year, which covers 34% of its energy consumption, and results an annual saving of 273 metric tons of CO₂. Similar photovoltaic systems are planned on cargo-partner warehouses in Fischamend, Ljubljana, Dunajska Streda, Bratislava, Sofia and Belgrade from 2023. Stefan Krauter continues: “When it comes to sustainability, our work is never done. Minimizing our environmental impact is a top priority and an ongoing effort throughout our company. Our iLogistics Centers in Fischamend and Dunajska Streda are just two examples which demonstrate that efficient logistics processes can often translate into a lower CO₂ footprint.”
Those are latest in a number of sustainable measures that have been actioned thus far. They include a new warehouse in Zagreb, Croatia, with 12,900 m² of storage space, chosen for its sustainable focus. The building, which is certified according to BREEAM, the internationally recognized standard for sustainable building construction and operation, went into operation earlier this year. In addition to LED lighting, it has 6,028 solar panels on its roof, which generate an annual 2,338 MWh. Similarly, cargo-partner operates an all-timber warehouse in Austria since 2018, which gets 100% of its electricity from renewable energy resources. Over in Slovakia, the warehouse has a direct rail connection for maximum logistics efficiency, avoiding polluting road transport, and saving CO2 emissions.
Caribbean Airlines Cargo is now available on WebCargo
Caribbean Airlines Cargo is the latest airline opting to offer its air cargo capacity on WebCargo. With Caribbean Airlines Cargo on board, WebCargo’s now portrays more than 36% of global cargo capacity. For WebCargo’s 3,500 forwarders, this means that Caribbean Airlines Cargo will soon be offering real-time air cargo rates and bookig. “This rollout will enable instant eBookings across key Caribbean and North American destinations for over 10,000 freight forwarding offices using WebCargo’s platform. To date, Caribbean Airlines Cargo rates have been available via WebCargo and 7LFreight’s air freight rate management and quoting tools. With this shift, forwarders can access and book spot rates in seconds, ensuring always accurate pricing and booking based on the airline’s actual capacity,” the release portrays Marklan Moseley Caribbean Airlines’ General Manager, Cargo and New Business. Mr. Moseley adds: “Caribbean Airlines is always looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience and the way we do business. This latest offering through WebCargo’s digital platform, is a step in fulfilling these objectives, applying the dynamic use of technology. I’m optimistic that the digitization process and the use of this platform will result in greater efficiency for all stakeholders.”
Camilo Garcia, Global VP Business Development of WebCargo, said: “Over the last three years, Digital Air Cargo adoption has taken off faster than we could imagine, in response to pressures on the air cargo industry. North America is now our fastest-growing market; we expect this momentum to continue throughout 2022. We’re excited to welcome Caribbean Airlines Cargo to our list of innovative partners available on WebCargo and 7LFreight.”
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