Blue diesel, blue truck, green future
There’s always something else that can be done to improve sustainability in logistics. Just as trucks keep moving to carrying cargo to and from airports, trucking companies and airlines can push forward with less environmentally damaging solutions, as Air France KLM Martinair Cargo and Jan de Rijk Logistics demonstrated this week. In the past, they have worked on electric and hydrogen truck variants. Their latest collaboration features the deployment kick-off of a new Long Heavy Vehicle (LHV) – the development of which both companies invested in. Not only is this truck larger than average, but it also runs on something known as “Blue Diesel” (sounds like the perfect name for a brand of gin, if you ask me.) Blue Diesel is a Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil 100 (HVO100) biofuel that reduces CO₂ emissions by up to 89%.
The current LHV is the first of its kind to run on HVO and “in the short term, it represents the best viable solution for more sustainable transport” of air cargo by road,” according to the release.
The truck has the capacity to carry six ULDs compared to just four on a normal truck, hence “using an LHV for two trips saves an entire truck trip, therefore substantially reducing CO₂ emissions.” So, not only emission-saving from the point of view of clean fuel, but also through fewer journeys. Add to this, that the truck will serve a heavily used route, namely the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (one of AKKLMP Cargo’s main hubs) to Frankfurt am Main Airport run.
Adriaan den Heijer, EVP Air France KLM Cargo & Managing Director Martinair, explained: “To achieve greater sustainability, we in the logistics sector are especially aiming to forge alliances to promote innovative and effective solutions. I’m therefore extremely proud of our partnership with Jan de Rijk Logistics in creating this sustainable combination of an LHV powered by HVO, specially developed for air cargo. This initiative contributes towards our goal of reducing CO₂ emissions further.”
Fred Westdijk, CEO Jan de Rijk Logistics, added: “We’re extremely proud of AFKLMP Cargo for being the first airline to join us to invest in further reducing CO₂ emissions. Jan de Rijk Logistics has actively promoted the use of Long Heavy Vehicles (LHVs) and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in recent years and is pleased to welcome AFKLMP Cargo as a ‘first mover’. Now that the first airline has joined us, we hope that others will follow soon to reduce the impact on our climate.”
LATAM Group exits Chapter 11
LATAM had filed for Chapter 11 U.S. Bankruptcy Protection in mid-2020 following the slump in passenger demand due to the Covid pandemic. Now it has completed its financial restructuring process successfully, announced the airline last Thursday (03NOV22). In its release, the management claims that LATAM has achieved substantial cost savings and emerged from the reorganization as a more efficient group, with a modernized fleet and the most extensive network of connections in South America. With over US$2.2 billion of liquidity, approximately US$3.6 billion less debt on its balance sheet (equivalent to a 35% debt reduction from the pre-filing period), and the support of key incumbent and new shareholders, LATAM is poised to reaffirm its leadership in South America and has positioned itself for long-term sustainability.
“Today marks an important milestone for LATAM and our stakeholders. We are pleased that we have completed a significant transformation and emerged from our financial restructuring process with a strengthened financial position and a renewed commitment to operational excellence. As a group with a dynamic team of 30,000 employees and an unrivaled connectivity network, we look forward to continuing to offer passengers and cargo clients the best alternative for travel to, from, and within South America and to contribute in the broader sense to the various countries in which we operate and their diverse interests” commented Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.
During the reorganization process, LATAM Cargo has made substantial progress in its digital agenda and has completed the implementation of its new end-to-end system in the international markets and developed the solution for the domestic markets. Through this platform the company will be able to offer more and better online tools for all its clients. The freight carrier and its affiliates are in the midst of an expansion plan that will enable them to operate a total of 20 B767-300 freighter aircraft in 2024. HS
Another location joins the Gebrüder Weiss family
Following a year-long transition period after the acquisition of German international transport and logistics company, Spedition Lode in Waldkraiburg, Upper Bavaria, Gebrüder Weiss has now rebranded the operation to Gebrüder Weiss Waldkraiburg, effective 01NOV22. Its working title for the past year was GW Lode. At the time, all 60 Lode employees were taken onto Gebrüder Weiss’ payroll. Located 70 km east of Munich, Waldkraiburg fits perfectly into Gebrüder Weiss’ southern German expansion strategy. The current Gebrüder Weiss network there also features road feeder branches in Aldingen, Esslingen, Lindau, Memmingen and Nuremberg. “A strong network has been created especially in eastern Bavaria, through the close connection of the Passau, Straubing and Waldkraiburg locations. The benefits to customers from this [Lode] acquisition include a significantly wider range of services, as Gebrüder Weiss offers national and international land transport, air and sea freight services, along with logistics solutions focusing particularly on the automotive and high-tech industries,” the release details. Gebrüder Weiss Waldkraiburg is specialized in land transport, distribution and warehouse logistics.
Werner Dettenthaler, Regional Manager Land Transport Germany, said: “By integrating this operation, we have been able to consolidate our land transport network in Bavaria and can now serve the markets in Germany, Austria, Central and South-East Europe with an even greater level of efficiency. We are pleased that, as the transition period comes to an end, the rebranding process has reached a successful conclusion.”
In other news this week, Gebrüder Weiss also became the official new, three-year sponsor of the German Academy of Foreign Trade and Transport (DAV) in Bremen, where it will “contribute practical aspects to the DAV's teaching program, among others, and support [logistics] students in their semester and final papers”.
In other words, mentorship in the hope, then, of attracting young talent to the company, as confirmed by Lothar Thoma, Managing Director Air & Sea at Gebrüder Weiss: "It is precisely these people that we want to address, inspiring them to join our company by giving them practical tasks to demonstrate how versatile the logistics business can be.”
Qatar Airways Cargo now serves Riyadh
In the year since the Al-Ula Declaration was signed, bringing an end to the Qatar blockade enforced by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt since 2017, Doha and Riyadh have successfully been developing bilateral trade: in the first half-year of 2022 alone, this trade amounted to 802 million Saudi Riyals. Now, with Qatar Airways Cargo launching a twice-weekly freighter service to the country’s largest destination, Riyadh, both economies will benefit even more. Since 01NOV22, Qatar Airways Cargo operates a Boeing 777 freighter to the Saudi destination, with an upload of 100 tons per flight, two times a week. This brings the Qatari cargo airline’s total cargo offering to Saudi Arabia up to 900 tons/week each way, adding to the existing 96 weekly passenger flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Qassim and Medina.
Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Guillaume Halleux, stated: “We have had a very successful 2022 so far and I am pleased to announce the freighter services to Riyadh. The launch of these services will not only provide a consistent and reliable freighter service but also contribute to the economic and trade growth between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
According to the press release, “the majority of the imports and exports consist of general cargo, followed by valuable/vulnerable cargo and live animals.”
The cargo airline is continuing to expand its already substantial network in the Middle East which includes more than 22 passenger and freighter destinations, upping its cargo capacity to Kuwait, for example, with 39 instead of 37 weekly flights. Similarly, flights to Muscat are due to increase from 8 to 10 for Muscat. Both cities will be served by two A310 freighters each week.
WestJet Cargo + SmartKargo = air cargo platform
The up-and-coming, young cargo airline, WestJet Cargo and the established air cargo cloud solutions provider, SmartKargo, recently announced the launch of a state-of-the-art air cargo management platform in preparation for the arrival of WestJet’s cargo fleet. Billed as “a comprehensive digital solution that will transform and strengthen WestJet Cargo's business and user experience for customers”, the cargo management software will enable seamless interaction not just to the airline’s existing systems, but also to its third-party providers’ software through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). SmartKargo is particularly well-versed in e-commerce air cargo solutions, and deploys business intelligence, real-time information, and machine learning in its solutions. It will be working together with WestJet Cargo to further develop this digital solution as the fleet arrives and grows.
Kirstin de Bruijn, WestJet, Executive Vice - President, Cargo, said: “The innovative SmartKargo platform empowers us to develop a very reliable and flexible air cargo business. As we enter a pivotal new chapter for WestJet Cargo, SmartKargo's cutting-edge cloud platform will propel WestJet Cargo forward by providing a complete solution that includes innovative technology and expertise that will assist us in growing our business to its full potential.”
Olivier Houri, CRO for SmartKargo, commented: “We are delighted to work with the team at WestJet Cargo to enable their vision for launching a state-of-the-art air cargo business. We congratulate them on the successful launch and look forward to working together with them to realize their goals for the business.”
In other news this week, WestJet became the first Canadian carrier to operate a dedicated flight route using SAF. “As the first Canadian airline to significantly invest in SAF, WestJet purchased Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to fly 40 flights over three months from San Francisco to Calgary. WestJet's immediate investment in SAF over the next three months will directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions on these routes by 186 tons, with the equivalent of more than 1550 out of 5300 guests onboard taking a carbon neutral flight enroute to Calgary,” the release reads.
Any belly cargo travelling that route, will automatically be greener, too.
IPP Air Cargo will not fly after all
Having just cited what would have been Vietnam's first cargo airline, IPP Air Cargo, in the CFG Maersk article last Sunday, it would appear that the airline will not be taking off, after all, according to recent Vietnamese press. One article talked about “Billionaires burning money” referring to owner and business mogul, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen (CFG reported) now halting IPP Air Cargo’s lift off plan.
Baodaoutu Online states: “According to the filing, IPP Air Cargo has a total investment of 2,400 billion VND (equivalent to 100 million USD), of which 30% is equity and the remaining 70% is borrowed. The goal is to operate 5 cargo aircraft in the first year, increase to 7 in the second year and 10 in the third year. IPP Air Cargo is expected to be profitable from the 4th year of operation.”
The AOC was applied for on 14JAN22. Media points to the fact that, though in mid-OCT22, Ms. Thuy Tien - General Director of Lien Pacific Group (IPPG) had announced that IPPG was simply waiting for the government’s approval to commence operations (expected in NOV22), just a couple of weeks later, on 27OCT22, IPP Air Cargo wrote to the Ministry of Transport and the Vietnamese Civil Aviation Administration to retract its AOC application. As a reason, it gave the current global economic downturn, inflation, rising interest rates, and fuel price fluctuations. Though other press speculated poor management may be the actual reason, citing all the (45+) international airlines that uplift more than 90% of the country’s cargo. However, the stop may just be a postponement, since the airline did confirm that it would perhaps reconsider its application once the economy stabilizes. What happens now with the shipment deals already signed with a number of customers, remains to be seen. Ditto with regard to the four leased and ordered B737 800BCF of which one was delivered at the end of JUL22, and the others were due for delivery in DEC22 and APR23.
Meanwhile, whereas one proposed newcomer leaves the stage, another cargo airline takes to the air: Air Atlanta Icelandic, with its Maltese AOC since 2021, has finally taken off for the first time. Its Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the registration 9H-AKA, is now deployed on wet lease for Saudi Arabian Airlines Cargo between Jeddah and Liège.
Unilode appoints new CCO
ULD manager Unilode Aviation Solutions has appointed Mohammed Akhlaq as Chief Commercial Officer. The manager has over 30 years’ experience in senior commercial and operational roles in the aviation industry. He has worked closely with airlines, ground handlers and logistics companies and is a trusted liaison in the industry. Mr. Akhlaq’s most recent role was Chief Commercial Officer for Europe at ground handler dnata where his commercial prowess has enabled the company to grow significantly and achieve an incredibly strong brand recognition.
Ross Marino, Chief Executive Officer, Unilode, said: “Mohammed will be a key member of our Executive Leadership Team and ensure that we have a commercial strategy that will produce optimal results and position Unilode for further growth and success.”
Mr. Marino went on to say: “I am confident that he will play a major role in enabling us to enhance our market position and to strengthen Unilode’s undisputed leader position in the ULD and galley cart sector.”
The new CCO, Mohammed Akhlaq responded to this with these words: “I am thrilled to join Unilode and lead the company’s commercial strategy to capture new opportunities and further increase Unilode’s share in the outsourced ULD and galley cart solutions market. This is an exciting and challenging time as our industry bounces back after the pandemic, and I am looking forward to working together with my new team to retain existing accounts, expand our customer portfolio and provide new service offerings in the aviation market.” HS
Enhancing Rate Management with real-time
CargoAi announced this week, that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Florida-based, logistics automation platform provider, Magaya Partners. The technological focus: Magaya’s Rate Management customers will gain access to CargoAi’s real-time digital solutions. “The integration of the CargoAi platform with Magaya Rate Management provides an efficient solution for Magaya customers to retrieve and compare airfreight schedules, availability, and pricing, as well as book and track shipments, without the need to navigate between multiple airline websites or making myriad phone calls. By leveraging a multi-functional CargoAi API, Magaya Rate Management customers will gain access to real-time visibility of air cargo schedules, aircraft type information, and valuable information about upcoming flights, including a state-of-the-art CO2 calculator that enables the most environmentally friendly transportation decisions,” according to the release. Customers will benefit from faster and more efficient quoting and procurement processes, and will have enhanced access “to virtually every airline schedule”.
Mark Buman, CRO at Magaya, said: “We are excited to now offer the ability for our Rate Management customers to discover the best air shipment schedules and rates in a matter of seconds with our CargoAi partnership.”
Matt Petot, Founder and CEO of CargoAi, explained. “From the start, we built CargoAi with our users in mind. Our integration with Magaya Rate Management will allow freight forwarders to benefit from operational efficiencies while our airline partners gain access a greater network of buyers.”
Airport College and Jardine Aviation Academy cooperate
Finnish Airport College International has signed a co-operation agreement with Hong Kong-based Jardine Aviation Academy (JAA). Jardine Aviation Academy belongs to Jardine Aviation Services Group (JASG) - a joint venture between the Jardine Matheson Group and China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). It received its IATA accreditation as a regional training center in 2013, and ensures that employees in various aviation fields such as airports, airlines, ground service providers, express and logistics companies, “as well as individuals wanting to develop a career within the aviation industry”, are trained to standard. It has trained attends not only from mainland China but also more than 40 other countries. Now, together with Airport College, it will focus on arranging and promoting online training services for airlines, ground handling companies, and aviation training institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China. Airport College International brings a product pallet of more than 30 multilingual online eLearning courses and Diploma Programs in Passenger Handling and Air Cargo.
Dave Li, Director & General Manager, Passenger Services of Jardine Aviation Services Group (JASG), stated: “Air traffic is en route to recovery back to pre-covid levels and requires continued development by the industry players to serve millions of passengers in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and mainland China. Airlines and ground handling companies must meet the growing demand, and staff recruitment and training must be in line with market growth.”
Airport College International CEO, Pertti Mero added: “The aviation industry faces a huge challenge in delivering training for workforce. The industry needs to attract new talents by providing new training methods and forward-looking career paths. At the same time, training should be relevant, user-friendly, and cost-effective. Together with Jardine Aviation Academy (JAA) we can provide sustainable training solutions for the future.”
Airport College International is a strategic partner of IATA.
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