Maersk connects the world’s Mega-Economies
As Veli Polat, (third from left in the image above), Head of Network & Pricing Management Own Controlled Flight Organization (OCFO) at A.P. Moller - Maersk (Maersk), put it on LinkedIn this week: “Months of hard work paid off! As the project manager, I am more than happy and proud to be part of such a professional team at A.P. Moller - Maersk. This is just the beginning and without great teamwork, involving dozens of highly motivated colleagues all around the world, this launch wouldn’t have been possible. Thank You.” Maersk Air Cargo has now launched two very welcome new freighter services linking the world’s two mega-economies: The United States and China.
In response to customer demands for end-to-end logistics and an effort “to plug a connectivity gap between the world’s two largest markets for ocean customers, with solutions for time sensitive and high value cargo via new air services,” (according to the press release), Maersk will initially operate two flights per week between Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) and Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE), and a further two weekly flights between Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH), increasing both routes to thrice-weekly from next month onwards. The latter was China's first airport to operate scheduled Maersk Air Cargo flights, with an inaugural Boeing 767-300 freighter departing for Billund, Denmark, on 20MAR23, laden with 23 tons of goods which included small household appliances and auto parts, launching Maersk Air Cargo’s thrice-weekly Billund (BLL)-Hangzhou (HGH) services. Other scheduled services recently launched connect Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina (GSP) with Incheon, Korea (ICN), operated by Miami-headquartered cargo airline, Amerijet International.
Michel Pozas Lucic, Global Head of Air in A.P. Moller – Maersk, said: “With the introduction of these new routes, we are further connecting North America and Asia Pacific through regular flights and controlled capacity for our customers. At Maersk, we want to ensure that our customers have the visibility, reliability, and resilience in their supply chains. Air freight continues to be an important asset in our customer´s end-to-end logistics needs.” Maersk’s newly opened Chicago cargo gateway is another measure to provide greater supply chain opportunities for its customers using Chicago O’Hare International and Rockford International.
China’s first cargo-focused airport goes international
Ezhou Huahu Airport (EHU) in central China's Hubei Province, has been ramping up for full operations ever since it opened in JUL22. At the time, CFG reported on the brand-new Chinese airport, the first of its kind to be dedicated wholly to air freight. Now, at around 11.00 EHU-time on 01APR23, the airport witnessed the departure of its first ever international cargo connection. It was SF Airlines, the carrier belonging to China’s leading logistics provider, SF Express (which holds a 46% stake in airport operator, Hubei International Logistics Airport Co., Ltd., and has its own freight transport transit center, cargo sorting center, and aviation base at the new airport), that took to the skies with a B747-400ERF. On board of the 12-hour maiden flight, were 105 tons of cargo consisting mainly of electronic products and processors, en route to Liège Airport (LGG) in Belgium. EHU-LGG will be flown twice per week, offering 400 tons of express cargo capacity.
The inaugural flight not only marked the official opening of Ezhou Huahu Airport's first international air cargo route: EHU-LGG, but also SF Express also officially opened its international mega-hub on that day, where it will serve SF Airlines as well as other airlines in future. Its cargo transit center is currently undergoing testing and is due to commence operations later this year. The aim is to create a world-class air cargo hub with global connections. 40 domestic freight routes are planned for 2023, alongside 4 international routes, bringing international cargo throughput at EHU to 15,000 tons by the end of 2023. SF Airlines, operational since 2009, has already set up a domestic cargo network in China, spreading across Asia, now Europe and plans for the United States.
Kuehne+Nagel welcomes first charter ex Stuttgart, Germany
Sweet home, Alabama… more specifically, the state’s largest commercial airport, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), which entered into its first partnership with a logistics company in FEB23, namely with Kuehne+Nagel, to better serve its surrounding businesses. For Kuehne+Nagel, the decision was to have a secondary airport presence in North America to avoid the bottlenecks suffered at larger airports, and to set up a smooth logistics connection to the US’ Southeastern Corridor. True to plans announced at the time, the airport and forwarder both welcomed Kuehne+Nagel’s first air cargo charter flight from Stuttgart (STR), Germany, to the Eastern U.S. on Sunday, 02APR23. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and Kuehne+Nagel representatives alongside invited VIPs enjoyed an official welcoming ceremony on the apron, complete with a guided tour of the aircraft once the cargo had been offloaded and was being taken to the warehouse. That inaugural flight kicked off a schedule that will see two Atlas Air operated flights per week serving the STR-BHM route.
Greg Martin, Senior Vice President, Air Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, stated: “Our vision is to make Birmingham into a long-term gateway to and from the Southeastern Corridor of the U.S. and we’re pleased to be able to provide customers with alternative options that support their supply chain needs.”
In other U.S.-related news, Kuehne+Nagel also announced that it had opened a new contract logistics fulfillment center with a strong healthcare and pharma focus, at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on 01APR23. The 37,000 m² facility, located just under 5 km away from the airport terminals, brings around 200 job openings to the region.
Eduardo Razuck, Senior Vice President, Contract Logistics Americas for Kuehne+Nagel, explained: “This move represents an important milestone for Kuehne+Nagel’s Contract Logistics business in North America and reinforces the company’s global commitment to the healthcare business as part of the company’s Roadmap 2026.” Marcello Ferrari, Vice President Global Head Customer Development Healthcare, Contract Logistics for Kuehne+Nagel, added: “This fulfillment center will support our mission to bring product integrity to the next level for our healthcare customers that require premium services for moving their products. Our focus is on the patient, and with ease of access to the significant uplift capacity at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, we are able to better serve not just our customers, but also patients across the country who depend on these products.”
More than 200 delegates at TIACA’s Dehli event
Following TIACA’s first ever Regional Event in Amsterdam last summer (CFG reported), the regional focus for 2023 shifted from Europe to India and the African continent. Nairobi, Kenya, will be the African host country for the upcoming Regional Event on 19-21JUN23. Meanwhile, TIACA looks back with satisfaction on its second Regional Event which took place 27-29MAR23 in Delhi. Hosted by Gurugram-headquartered, air cargo technology and business consulting solutions provider, Cargo Flash Infotech, the conference drew in 200 delegates from all across the Indian air cargo industry. The event not only brought the local air cargo community together to network, but also provided plenty of room to talk about regional issues. The agenda listed focus points on eCommerce, sustainability, drones, pharma, perishables, freighter capacity, workforce challenges, border complexities, digital innovation, the role of GSSA, and discussed the direction of the industry.
“The Regional Events are designed to identify specific issues on a regional level that TIACA can incorporate into our overall work on behalf of the industry. Each Regional Event will develop a Regional Action plan that will be incorporated into TIACA strategic objectives and activities. The price point (or attendance fees) is set low to encourage both members and non-members to join so that we can get a full understanding of the local needs for air cargo,” the press release underlines.
Steven Polmans, Chair, TIACA, commented: “The success of the Regional Event – India has shown us how important it is to engage the industry at a regional level. This event allowed us to connect and engage with our members and the air cargo community in India. We learned a lot about the local air cargo market and what is needed to move the industry forward in this region. We can take that knowledge and incorporate it into our overall work program as we continue to serve our membership and the entire air cargo community.”
Glyn Hughes, Director General, TIACA, stated: “We really enjoy connecting with the members and air cargo community during these Regional Events. They give us the opportunity to establish stronger relationships and identify issues that we as a membership driven association may need to take up. We are looking forward to the next Regional Event – Africa and invite anyone that is doing business in or with Africa to join us.”
Lufthansa Cargo expands short/medium-haul network
Go South! is a positive direction in this case as Lufthansa Cargo takes up Larnaca, Athens, and Milan in its A321F flight schedule. This brings the total number of destinations in its short and medium-haul, intra-European route network to twelve, with over 50 weekly flights on offer this summer. A “city-hopper” complement to its existing long-haul fleet of 16 B777F, serving 79 weekly intercontinental connections, alongside a further 7,000 bellies from the combined passenger airlines’ fleet of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings Discover, and SunExpress.
Lufthansa Cargo’s A321F charter and schedule short/medium-haul operations began last year, using its two existing A321F. These are soon to be joined by another two A321F, bringing the total fleet up to four by the end of the summer. It is already ramping up its network offer starting on 12APR23, when a combined Larnaca, Cyprus and Athens, Greece routing to/from Frankfurt starts up, twice per week. Milan, Italy will be served once a week, linking “the economically strong region of Lombardy in northern Italy with Central Europe and the rest of the world,” the release states.
Ashwin Bhat, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo, said: “We look back with satisfaction on the first year of A321 operations and are delighted with the positive response and increasing demand from our customers. All signs are pointing to growth at Lufthansa Cargo. With Larnaca, Athens, and Milan, we have now added further, very promising destinations to our route network. We want to expand our presence with our well-known service and product quality, both in the fast-growing e-commerce segment and in the field of individual transport solutions according to customer needs.”
Bringing beauty and fragrance to Hainan
Bolloré Logistics announced this week that it had launched a new air charter service linking Singapore and Hainan’s Haikou Airport. This follows the signing of a cooperation agreement together with the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (IEDB), and the Haikou Comprehensive Bonded Zone Management Committee, on 20MAR23, for greater collaboration. The new charter has been launched to support Hainan’s rapidly growing travel retail industry – in particular, Haikou’s offshore duty-free spending which “has skyrocketed” in the last three years. The city is home to “the largest stand-alone duty-free shop in the world,” and therefore requires a regular influx of perfumes, cosmetics, and luxury retail brands, which Bolloré Logistics will now ensure with its weekly air cargo charter from Singapore to Haikou via Hong Kong. “The service offers end-to-end monitoring for both Dangerous Goods (DG) and Non-Dangerous Goods (Non-DG). Coupled with the warehousing capabilities and value-added services in the Bolloré Logistics’ three hubs, the solution will provide brands with the agility and flexibility required for their business,” the release states, going on to illustrate another important point: cooking oil and waste-based SAF will be deployed on the Singapore-Hong Kong-Haikou route, reducing the charter’s CO2 emissions by 25%.
Loig Pavard, CEO of Bolloré Logistics Singapore, explained: “Many of our customers share similar goals when it comes to sustainability and reducing carbon emissions in their supply chain. Using SAF in this charter is therefore in accordance with our group’s program, ‘Powering Sustainable Logistics’, and showcases our capability to set up and expand our services for clients.”
Sun Bo, Vice Mayor of Haikou city, said, “This February, we discussed the constructive cooperation plan in Haikou with the Bolloré Logistics team. The launch of the new air charter service, together with the distribution hub that Bolloré Logistics will build in Haikou, will support Haikou’s strategic development plan to be an international travel retail center.”
CargoAi’s latest feature assists long-due switch to eAWB
Almost 20 years since the eAWB initiative was first launched in 2005, the air cargo industry is still not at 100% penetration, despite this having been the target set for the end of last year. Helpful, therefore, of CargoAi to launch a new feature to support particularly those small and medium-sized freight forwarders on their transition from paper to digital AWBs, by facilitating FWB and FHL messaging. CargoAi’s latest “feature is in line with the CargoTech mission to enable digital adoption in the industry to improve efficiencies in the procurement process. CargoTech is an investor in CargoAi and strategically aligned technology companies specializing in airfreight digitalization,” the release reveals. Each of the more than 9000 freight forwarders with access to CargoMART can now send FWB and FHL messages upon successful booking, to the marketplace’s 80+ airline partners. Those working with European customers, will also be able to thus digitally transmit the information required for European customs, ISC2.
David Rose, Chief Transformation Officer at IAG Cargo, stated: “We fully support this move by CargoAi and hope to see wider customer adoption of eAWB. It is a vital step forward for the air cargo industry and offers a considerable advantage in driving operational efficiency and simplifying the process of document handling. At IAG Cargo, we are committed to achieving 100% eAWB adoption by the end of 2023. The Air Waybill is a core part of the cargo journey, and we absolutely see digitizing this element of the journey as one of the many steppingstones in our 'Destination Digital' strategy.”
Matt Petot, CEO of CargoAi, commented: “We are excited to launch this new feature to support our users, in addition to the many features already available on CargoMART. The eAWB, being digital, facilitates communication between all parties, ensuring the status of the shipment can be tracked within CargoMART itself, allowing for greater transparency and improved visibility of the shipment's status. Of course, the eAWB eliminates the need for physical documents, not only reduces printing, handling, and storage costs, but also the waste and the carbon footprint of the industry.”
AMI opens second Canadian branch in Toronto
Menzies Aviation’s freight forwarding subsidiary, Air Menzies International (AMI) has further increased its North American footprint with the opening of a new branch in Canada. This is its second location in the country: Canada’s busiest cargo airport, Toronto now joins Vancouver. The new branch is located near to Toronto Pearson International Airport, offering customers “reliable movements and safe supervision of freight for customers from start to finish, particularly between AMI locations,” the release underlines. AMI is present in nine North American locations. The two Canadian branches are complemented by seven U.S. locations: New York, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle, and 18 further international locations in 11 countries, plus a 250-strong partner network. “A variety of wholesale air freight services will be offered at Toronto including, door-to-door services on global import and export shipments; exports with consolidation and ‘Back2Back’; ‘Quick2Ship’, AMI’s market leading platform for express shipments; X-ray screening and warehousing services; as well as customs clearance and documentation support,” says the release. AMI’s Country Manager for Canada, Sam Wangpeng assumes management for the new Toronto branch, too. “Sam has over 25 years’ experience of working at a senior level in the freight forwarding industry in Canada, including multimodal freight transport experience. He is also a Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) from the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) and a CIFFA (Canadian International Freight Forwarder Association) accredited Professional Freight Forwarder (PFF).”
Jonathan Clark, CEO, AMI, said: “Enabling continued growth in our air freight services across the world’s most important global trade lines is a high priority and this expansion gives us a strong foothold in the major Canadian hub of cross border trade with the USA. We are looking forward to leveraging the strong, long-term growth potential that the marketplace has to offer. I am also pleased to welcome Sam Wangpeng to the team. His expertise, local knowledge and experience will be a huge asset for us.”
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