Nets are a huge problem in the air cargo industry since they are often lost or damaged, or are so tangled that it is quicker to replace than reuse them after a journey. They rarely last their entire three-year shelf-life, and often end up in an incinerator, or – worse – in landfill where these polyester nets take decades, if not centuries, to decompose. Textile solution provider, AmSafe Bridports’ Pallet Net Zero is a bio-based alternative. And ULD manager, Jettainer has now decided to go for this.
Ever since visiting the AmSafe Bridport booth at the WCS 2022 in September, I have been asking air cargo companies why they have not yet invested in something that is more environmentally friendly, more durable, weighs less than conventional nets, and is harder to destroy with a knife? Given that Sustainability is meant to be at the top of everyone’s agenda, I would have expected more movement in this area, already. So, I am all the more pleased to hear that Jettainer has this week announced that it will be offering AmSafe Bridport’s lightweight Pallet Net Zero nets. Hurrah! And no real surprise that Lufthansa Cargo will be its first customer in this regard. Finally, eh?
Lufthansa Cargo opts to go first
According to the press release, from JAN23 onwards, Jettainer will furnish Lufthansa Cargo with around 2,000 nets for use on their PAJ pallets. Calculating over 50% net weight reduction compared to ordinary nets, Lufthansa Cargo forecasts a reduction in CO₂ footprint by 440 tons per year, because it expects to use around 140 tons less fuel. The airline also states that the nets are easier to handle, “without compromising on the technical requirements that are so important for flight safety,” and is impressed by their high tensile strength.
Dietmar Focke, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Human Resources Officer at Lufthansa Cargo, had this to say: “Global responsibility and sustainable, forward-looking practices are part of our DNA. We have already been working together with Jettainer for many years in a wide variety of areas to make air freight more sustainable. With the lightweight Pallet Net Zero, we are taking another important step towards decarbonizing freight transport. In addition, we expect considerable weight savings to make handling easier and safer for our employees and ground staff.”
What is Pallet Net Zero?
“The net will be fixed to one side of the pallet to minimize the loss rate for these high-quality nets,” the release points out. Nets are a hassle to maintain in the air cargo world, since they are often badly treated and hardly ever last the course of their lifespan because they are either lost or damaged along the way. The Pallet Net Zero is made out of sustainable bio-based materials, is around 60% lighter (9-11 kg) in weight than its polyester peers (17-24 kg), and thus positively impacts fuel consumption, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. Its Dyneema® fibre make-up is fifteen stronger than steel, making it far more robust and cut-resistant, plus it has a service life of five years compared to the usual three years.
Joanna Kotula, VP Sales & Marketing, at AmSafe Bridport, describes how Pallet Net Zero came about: “Pallet Net Zero is the outcome of years of expertise and research. These nets combine lightweight, safety, and sustainable feedstock in an unprecedented way. This redefines cargo nets as an important contributor towards lighter and sustainable air cargo. We look forward to working with our longstanding partner, Jettainer, to make Pallet Net Zero available for their customers and teaming up to make air freight transportation more sustainable.”
Jettainer has been testing, too
Jettainer has been carrying out its own tests on the nets, subjecting the Pallet Net Zero to acid tests at the Institute of Textile Research Saxony (Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V.), and will be carrying out other stress tests together with Lufthansa Cargo, reporting the results back to AmSafe Bridport for any necessary further improvements or developments. And then there’s the promise of a circular economy approach according to the press release: “Even after they are used, lightweight nets are to remain sustainable. Therefore, Jettainer, AmSafe Bridport and their airline customers are already working on ideas to give discarded nets a second life,” it states.
Thomas Sonntag, Managing Director at Jettainer comments the company’s Pallet Net Zero debut with Lufthansa Cargo: “Winning such a large airline as Lufthansa Cargo as a proof-of-concept customer for these new lightweight pallet nets is a great opportunity for both of us. Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role throughout the entire industry. Our efficient ULD management services, the use of lightweight containers and innovative lightweight elements like squAIRtimber, already offer our customers ways to reduce weight and their CO2 footprint. The use of Pallet Net Zero gives our customers yet another way to make their cargo flights more fuel-efficient and sustainable.”
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