Digital marketplace Freightos goes to market
The Israeli global freight booking and payment platform team, Freightos, made its way over to the USA last week, to the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square, to carry out a special task: Zvi Schreiber, CEO of Freightos, rang the Opening Bell on Thursday, 26JAN23, the day that Freightos formally began trading on Nasdaq having completed its merger with special purpose acquisition company, Gesher at a valuation of $500 million. Zvi Schreiber said: “Supply chains are fragile, and the last two years demonstrated how valuable Freightos is and can be. The Company had an outstanding 2022, despite declining freight rates and volumes, demonstrating the power of digitalizing one of the last large offline industries. We are delighted to have constructive partnerships with an increasing number of carriers, freight forwarders and importers/exporters who are committed to digitalization. Going public through the combination with Gesher and raising capital is designed to fuel our aggressive efforts to scale our booking and payment platform and enhance our leadership position. This day represents new opportunities for the Freightos team around the world, whose diligence and dedication have made Freightos what it is today.”
Freightos raised over $80 million in capital through the transaction, including $10 million from Qatar Airways and $60 million from M&G Investments and The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. Other, existing shareholders in Freightos are SGX Group, FedEx Corporation subsidiary, IAG Cargo, LATAM Airlines Group, Bob Mylod, and financial investors Aleph and MoreVC. Freightos management remains in place: Dr. Zvi Schreiber continues as CEO, and Ran Shalev as CFO. The board of directors of the Company includes Dr. Udo Lange, CEO of FedEx Logistics, Guillaume Halleux, Chief Cargo Officer of Qatar Airways, Bob Mylod, Chairman of Booking Holdings, Inna Kuznetsova, other leading tech investors, and Ezra Gardner, CEO of Gesher.
Ezra Gardner added: “Freightos’ platform has set new transaction records in every quarter since we announced our business combination, which demonstrates the Company’s immense potential and traction. Freightos is focused on delivering strong shareholder returns; Zvi and his team have worked hard to grow the business, resulting in 2022 and Q4 transaction numbers that beat internal targets despite negative market trends.”
Carl Vine, Portfolio Manager at M&G, commented: “Modernizing global freight is a large unmet need of the global economy. Freightos, with its superior marketplace technology, is winning rapid commercial adoption. The recent growth trajectory suggests that the Company is well on its way to cementing its dominant position in this opportunity-rich area.”
Amazon Air brings e-commerce air cargo network to India
The power of one. It is all starting up with a single, Amazon Air-branded Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Quikjet Cargo Airlines Private Limited, which will carry Amazon parcels throughout India to cities such as Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Amazon Air’s move is a series of firsts: the first e-commerce company in India to provide a dedicated air cargo network, the first partnership with an Indian third party cargo airline, the first step forward in its promise to strengthen its transportation infrastructure in India and bring faster deliveries to its customers. It is the latest development in Amazon Air’s rocket development since its launch in 2016. Amazon Air’s fleet has since surpassed 110 aircraft and includes over 70 international destinations. The historic milestone and unveiling of the specially branded Quikjet aircraft in Hyderabad was celebrated in the company leading VIPs.
Shri Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, Minister for Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Industries & Commerce, and Information Technology of Telangana said: “Telangana offers a conducive environment for the development of multi-modal connectivity and I take great pride in the fact that Hyderabad has emerged as a major hub for e-commerce distribution and supply chain activities. We have been working towards strengthening the state’s air cargo infrastructure, and we welcome the launch of Amazon Air which will further assist in making Hyderabad a cargo hub for the country and will create additional employment opportunities in the state. My heartiest congratulations to the Amazon team on this milestone, and for taking a step forward to develop a strong and resilient infrastructure which is crucial for the country’s economic growth.”
Akhil Saxena, Vice President – Customer Fulfilment (APAC, MENA & LATAM) & WW Customer Service, Amazon, underlined: “Amazon Air comes to India at an important time. Over the last few years, we have taken many positive steps to build our fulfilment, transportation and logistics infrastructure in the country. Our investment in Amazon Air will only further improve the delivery experience for our customers in India. Moreover, the launch will support over 1.1 million sellers in India, enabling growth for ancillary businesses such as transportation and aviation. This marks a very important step for our sellers and our customers, as well as a huge step forward for the aviation industry. We are celebrating a significant milestone in our global mission to transform the future of logistics.”
Helping Haiti with humanitarian transport
Haiti has been in the throes of a Cholera outbreak since OCT22, and is also suffering from civilian unrest, leaving thousands lacking access to safe food and water, or adequate medical supplies. American Airlines has therefore again teamed up with nonprofit humanitarian organization, Airlink, to ensure the transport of much needed sanitation and medical supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE), clean water filters, nebulizers, blood tubes and other sterile items to the Caribbean country. 55 tons in all will be making their way from Europe to Miami, and on to Haiti where they will be staged for distribution.
Greg Schwendinger, President of American Airlines Cargo, said: “We’re proud to partner with Airlink to make a positive impact on the world. At American, our mission is to care for people on life’s journey, and we are honored to play a role in transporting critical goods to the people and places they are needed most.”
It is not the first time that the airline and Airlink are collaborating. In MAR22, American and Airlink arranged the first humanitarian aid shipment to those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. To date, around 90 tons of life-saving cargo have been transported to the country. American Airlines has logistically supported in transporting cargo and relief staff for 47 different non-profit organizations, helping humanitarian efforts in 21 different countries.
Pledge and BIFA promote environmental awareness
The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has teamed up with integrated carbon measurement and offsetting platform, Pledge, in an effort to support BIFA members in understanding and tackling environmental issues within international supply chains. Steve Parker, BIFA's Director General, explained that with the increasing focus on environmental impact “Our members are facing increasing pressure from regulators, business partners, and consumers amongst others, in favor of business initiatives and good practice that are considered to be environmentally friendly.” These are often requested in tenders where customers stipulate the need for transparency and proof as to what forwarders are doing by way of sustainability and reducing harmful emissions. “There is a clear direction of travel on this subject and we want to help BIFA members, small and large, who may need some support on where to start when it comes to taking effective action to understand and reduce their carbon footprint. They are already seeking guidance from their trade association, and this is where our partnership with Pledge will help,” he continued.
David de Picciotto, Pledge Co-founder and CEO, confirmed: “The pressure on logistics service providers is not going away, but will only continue to grow. They need to take action now, and it all starts with getting thorough visibility of their carbon footprint. We're excited to be able to support BIFA members to accelerate the decarbonization of their customers' supply chains.” That support comes in the form of guidance on how to address the main environmental issues, the challenges they pose; and steps that can be taken to launch an environmental policy or enhance an existing one.
Parker reports that BIFA members no longer see environmental topics as “'nice to have' or 'tree hugging' initiatives, but increasingly mainstream business activities, taking center stage on the business agenda. While some members are already deploying sustainability technologies and strategies to reduce freight emissions, these practices are not yet widely adopted.” Larger companies are more likely to be including these in tenders and business activities, “but the process is filtering down into smaller businesses and it is BIFA's responsibility to be able to assist all our members, whatever their size, to meet this challenge to their long term viability.” Together with Pledge, BIFA aims to assist members in achieving their climate goals.
Batting for a winning team
Virgin Atlantic Cargo has teamed up with the cricket charity, Bat for a Chance (BAFC), and South Africa’s The CATCH Trust, in a joint effort to bring cricket to underprivileged children in South Africa. In total, 18 bags of donated cricket kits made their way to the Gary Kirsten Centre of Cricket Excellence at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, South Africa, where The CATCH Trust ceremoniously handed them over on 20JAN23. Aside from this South Africa initiative, BFAC is also collaborating with Virgin Atlantic Cargo in other parts of the world throughout 2023. The program began last year, already, in Barbados and Pakistan.
Phil Wardlaw, Managing Director at Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Bat for a Chance to bring our expertise in transporting cargo to such a worthy project. We’re also grateful for the support of our freight forwarding partner, Woodland Group, in supporting this shipment. At Virgin Atlantic, our purpose is to empower everyone to take on the world and use our business as a force for good, through our communities, our people, and our partners. Partnering with Bat for a Chance means Virgin Atlantic Cargo is able to bring a real opportunity for children to participate in this wonderful sport and experience the joy of cricket, in South Africa and across the world.”
BFAC’s founder and CEO, Will Gaffney, said: “We are so grateful to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, Woodland Group, CATCH Trust and its General Manager, Tim Human for helping us bring this project together. It is a great start to 2023 – a year which will see us bring together corporates and donors in tangible investment into cricket projects in the UK and globally. Bat for a Chance has the simple aim of breaking down barriers that prevent people from having access or opportunities to play the wonderful game of cricket. Our partnership will launch at a positive time for South Africa cricket with the start of the South African T20 League and the Women’s ICC Under 19 World Cup due to take place in February."
Gary Kirsten, Founder of the CATCH Trust, and former opening batsman for South Africa said: “It is amazing to see how cricket continues to inspire young people to do great things. We are delighted to be teaming up with Will and the team at Bat for a Chance to help make the game accessible to young people. We look forward to building the relationship with the charity and with Virgin Atlantic Cargo, their sponsor.”
ECS Group has its own in-house training platform: Discovery
“ECS Group is on a continuous voyage of Discovery,” the title of the press release which goes on to explain that Discovery is the name of the company’s in-house training platform. Launched in SEP20, the platform now offers more than 50 digital training modules and is available to all ECS Group employees. They are encouraged to explore the available courses modules which average one hour, in general. Participants are required to pass a test at the end of each module, to allow them to proceed with the next one. The online training platform is laid out to ensure efficient knowledge transfer and skills enhancement, providing users with the air cargo foundation required in their jobs. According to the release: “Discovery contains role-related training plans for the different job functions within ECS Group, such as Sales, Customer Service, or Finance, for example, which managers assign to their team members.”
Cedric Millet, Chief Strategy & Digital Officer of ECS Group, explained “Most of the courses available on Discovery have been created by ECS Group employees for ECS Group employees. The end-user training for the digital solutions created by our Cargo Digital Factory – Quantum and Apollo, are obvious examples, and were put together by their respective product owners. However, we also offer 5 training modules for CargoSpot, and one for SkyPallet. Internally produced training courses ensure a much more efficient knowledge transfer because they are directly based on our ECS Group business processes, and are thus more specifically relevant and tangible.”
Adrien Thominet, Executive Chairman of ECS Group, illustrated: “Life-long-learning is what makes us stand out – personally and professionally – and the achievements of each and every one of our employees is what drives ECS Group's continuous competitive success.”
Two more training courses are due to go online this year: a Dangerous Goods Transportation overview course, plus an in-depth Sustainability module. The latter will be launched in the first quarter of the year and will be made mandatory, given that Sustainability is the fourth core pillar of the Augmented GSSA concept.
Finnair Cargo has a new SVP from 01FEB23
When the current Senior Vice President (SVP) of Finnair Cargo, Fredrik Wildtgrube, moves on to take on his new position as SVP Alliances & Airlines Partnerships within Finnair's Commercial & Customer Experience unit, on 01FEB23, Gabriela Hiitola will be assuming the vacant position. Finnair Cargo announced last week, that she has been appointed Senior Vice President, Finnair Cargo starting on 01FEB23. With 30 years in the aviation business, 25 of them in Finnair – much of them involved in crew and resource planning, Hiitola will be leaving her current position as VP, Operations Control position which she has held since DEC19.
Gabriela Hiitola stated: “I have been closely following the transformation of Finnair Cargo during the past five years and am very happy to join Finnair Cargo team now. I see great potential in the development of the industry and look forward to exploring new opportunities with our team, partners and customers.”
Jaakko Schildt, Finnair’s Chief Operating officer, commented: “I am very pleased to see Gabriela take over the leadership of Finnair Cargo. With her background, I am confident she will successfully lead the company in its next phase as the cargo industry continues to embrace the opportunities of digital development and new technologies. At the same time, I would like to express my warm thanks to Fredrik for his significant contributions to Finnair Cargo over the past seven years and wish him all the best in his new role at Finnair.”
Lufthansa Cargo’s PACTL has a new MD
… since 01OCT22, but for some reason, the official statement on this did not go out until 26JAN23… Perhaps the clue is in the very long job title: Though classed as “Managing Director” in the press release’s title, it is broken down to Deputy General Manager and Vice President Production, Sales & Marketing for Shanghai Pudong International Airport Cargo Terminal Co. Ltd (PACTL), one of the world's largest air cargo terminal operators. The new man in this position is Carsten Hernig, who shifts over from his previous role as Vice President Region Latin America & Caribbean at Lufthansa Cargo. He is responsible for production, sales and marketing at the joint venture between Lufthansa Cargo and Shanghai Pudong Airport which was established in 1999 – the same year that Hernig joined the Lufthansa Group initially as a ProTeam Management Trainee. He soon climbed the career ladder, holding positions as Manager in the Sales Planning & Steering Team Asia Pacific in Singapore, Regional Director in Russia and Hong Kong, Director South Asia and Middle East in New Delhi, and was also Managing Director of Jettainer GmbH for five years from 2014 on. “His many years of experience in the field of crisis management, which goes far beyond the technical aspects, also make him a highly valued manager within the Lufthansa Group,” the release details.
Dietmar Focke, Chief Operations Officer and Chief HR Officer at Lufthansa Cargo, said: “I am very pleased that we are welcoming Carsten Hernig, an experienced Lufthansa employee, to this important interface. His extensive experience at Lufthansa Cargo, especially in the international arena, makes him ideally qualified for the new tasks.”
His predecessor in the new position, Christian Haug, who took on the role in 2016, will remain in Shanghai until the final handover to his successor. The release does not state his new position, only that he “is currently working to further expand Lufthansa Cargo's successful business activities in China.”
TIACA’s Latin American Regional Rep: Eric Hartmann
The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) announced this week that it has appointed AirMann’s CEO, Eric Hartmann, as its Regional Representative for Latin America. Based in Chile, where he has more than 20 years of experience in the air cargo industry, Hartmann will be responsible for attracting new members to the association, as well as foster closer relationships with existing members, regional bodies, and the respective government agencies. Additionally, he will be promoting and implementing TIACA policies and positions within the region. His appointment comes as part of the TIACA's Board of Directors’ strategy to establish a regional presence in key areas across the globe.
Steven Polmans, TIACA Chair, commented: “We are excited to welcome Eric Hartmann to the TIACA Team. With Eric's many connections throughout Latin America and his experience and knowledge of the air cargo industry, we are sure we will be able to increase our presence throughout Latin America and in turn increase the value for all of our members.”
Eric Hartmann, Regional Representative, Latin America, announced: “I'm looking forward to being part of TIACA's team in contact with all the participants in the region which make Air Cargo, our exciting industry move successfully. As an Association, I'm convinced we can make important things happen.”
Glyn Hughes, Director General, added: “Latin America is just one of the regions TIACA is looking to increase our presence and we are excited to have Eric on board. We are still looking for a representative to fill the role within North Asia, Africa/Middle East and Asia Pacific. We also happen to be looking for an Assistant Manager – Operations in Miami, so if you know anyone qualified, pass the listing along to them. We look forward to growing the TIACA Team to help support our members and the industry.”
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