Cathay Cargo is latest IATA CEIV Lithium Battery recipient
Now certified both on the ground (Cathay cargo Terminal) and in the air, Cathay Cargo is the latest airline to have passed the stringent quality audits that precede IATA’s CEIV Lithium Batteries accreditation. Excellent news, given that so much of the world’s air cargo exports of Lithium Batteries pass through Hong Kong. With the latest certificate, both Cathay Cargo and the Cathay Cargo Terminal have now completed all available CEIV accreditations, which include CEIV Pharma, CEIV Fresh and CEIV Live Animals.
Prior to the CEIV Lithium Battery certification, Cathay Cargo already implemented a number of other lithium-ion battery safety measures including: a full range of fire containment bags (FCBs) and fire-resistant containers (FRCs), a Cargo Agent Operation Program, and an indemnity scheme for mislabeled dangerous goods. The airline and the terminal both operate according to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) and the IATA Lithium Battery Shipping Regulations (LBSR) and undergo regular training and assessment.
Cathay’s Director Cargo, Tom Owen, said: “The safe carriage of lithium-ion batteries is a core focus of our cargo business and we have introduced a coherent and far-reaching series of safety protocols with our customers and operational teams to mitigate risks over the past few years. The CEIV Li-batt accreditation now achieved by both Cathay Cargo and the Cathay Cargo Terminal will give further confidence to our customers that we adhere to the highest standards of handling in the industry. We will continue to innovate and optimize our processes around safe lithium-ion battery carriage. The work we are doing related to this will remain as the upmost priority for our operational teams.”
IATA Regional Vice President for North Asia, Dr Xie Xingquan, said: “The air cargo market for products containing lithium-ion batteries is experiencing significant growth. We congratulate Cathay Cargo and its cargo terminal operator, Cathay Cargo Terminal, on successfully achieving IATA’s CEIV Lithium Batteries Certification. This accomplishment by one of the world’s largest cargo operators and its partner, located in one of the busiest logistics hubs globally, is a significant boost for the aviation industry. Furthermore, it assures the customers of these organizations that they are adhering to the highest safety and security standards when transporting products containing lithium-ion batteries.”
The biggest electric drone to receive FAA authorization
Ok, so it’s in the agricultural sector, but each step forward and upward is also a score for cargo aviation and another milestone achievement for America in the USD 60 billion global drone market. In this case, the approval has been given to the Californian electric aircraft manufacturer, Pyka, for its Pelican Spray plane. Weighing in at 510 kgs (1,125 lbs), it is the largest ever highly automated uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) to receive FAA authorization for commercial operation in the United States. The fixed-wing, highly automated all-electric drone thus has the approval to commercially operate crop protection flights across the country, in conjunction with an agricultural aircraft operator certificate, “bringing unparalleled safety, environmental, and economic benefits to American farmers and the greater public,” the press release states. Regarding safety, it references 54 aircraft accidents occurring during agricultural operations in 2020 (registered by the National Transportation Safety Board - NTSB), of which 12 were fatal, leading to 13 people losing their life. Pyka's Pelican Spray aircraft is the world's largest and most productive agricultural spray drone and is already operational on farms in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Brazil. It can carry up to 540 lbs (70 gallons) of liquid and spray up to 240 acres per hour.
Michael Norcia, Chief Executive Officer of Pyka, announced: “We are beyond thrilled to celebrate this commercial approval and regulatory milestone. Pyka's aircraft provide an essential tool for protecting crops, unlocking cost savings for growers, and reducing our impact on the environment. This commercial approval is the first step in enabling us to generate massive value for growers in the U.S., Latin America, and other markets we operate in, while also laying the operational and regulatory groundwork for eventual scaling into uncrewed cargo operations worldwide.”
Lisa Ellman, Partner and Chair of Hogan Lovells' Uncrewed Aircraft System Practice and leading policy advocate for the commercial UAS industry, said: “This is a significant win for Pyka and the agricultural community they serve. Among other safety and environmental benefits, the use of highly automated UAS like the Pelican to perform potentially hazardous aircraft operations can reduce the number of pilot fatalities that occur each year in the aerial agricultural spraying industry.”
Hellmann announces CEO successor
Hellmann Worldwide Logistics SE & Co. KG’s Supervisory Board has appointed Jens Drewes as Hellmann’s new CEO and Reiner Heiken’s successor. He will take on the role from AUG24, when Heiken retires. “Mr. Heiken has succeeded in repositioning the company in recent years and setting it up strongly for the future,” Supervisory Board Chairman, Dr. Thomas C. Lieb, stated, referring to Heiken’s achievements in the five years he has been CEO, and thanking him on behalf of the board and shareholders. During that time, Hellmann grew through organic growth and acquisitions, significantly expanding its footprint, and reported a record EUR 5 billion in revenues at the end of last year. The press release reference corporate culture and strategy programs in the shape of ‘Hellmann Promise’ and ‘4ward27’, which will be continued by Jens Drewes when he comes on board.
Jens Drewes’ background in logistics dates back to the late 1990s and covers a range of positions across Asia-Pacific region and Europe for Kuehne+Nagel. When he becomes CEO in AUG24, he will be responsible for Hellmann’s five regions, HR, Sales & Marketing, Corporate Development as well as Corporate Communications. Dr. Thomas C. Lieb said: “We are convinced that we have found the right successor to Reiner Heiken with the appointment of Jens Drewes as CEO. With his many years of international logistics experience and his strong ability to lead teams and inspire customers, Jens Drewes will continue the successful development of the company and open up new growth areas within the scope of the ‘4ward27’ strategy.”
The release also announced that Hellmann’s Management Board will be expanded to include a fourth member: Stefan Borggreve in the new Chief Digital Officer (CDO) position, from 01JAN24, “to meet the growing demands of IT and digitalization and to reflect the company´s new strategy ‘4ward27’”. In addition to IT & Digital, he will also be responsible for the new functions Innovation and Sustainability which form important pillars in the ‘4ward27’ corporate strategy.
“As long-standing and experienced members of the Management Board Jens Wollesen and Martin Eberle will ensure ongoing continuity in the leadership team. As Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jens Wollesen will continue to focus on the strategic development of Hellmann´s products sea- and air freight, overland transport, and contract logistics. The contract with Martin Eberle, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), was renewed as scheduled for another five years,” the release concluded.
Dreamlifters and dream careers
A look at Atlas Air’s LinkedIn page, and two major threads stand out. One is the celebration of the airline’s 13th year of operating the incredible Boeing Dreamlifter, alias Large Cargo Freighter (LCF). The modified Boeing 747-400, capable of carrying three times the load of a conventional B747F, regularly transports 787 Dreamliner parts “across three continents for final assembly in North Charleston, South Carolina,” the airline reports, having to date played a part in the production of more than 1,000 B787s. During Covid, it was also used to transport PPE.
And then there are the pilot and young talents programs on offer. Aside from a regular recruitment drive on the social media channel, and reports on internships, Atlas Air also recently communicated that Alpine Air has joined its ‘Pathway to Success Program’ for qualified pilots. “Alpine Air is one of America’s largest all-cargo regional on-demand contract airlines, including the transport of mail packages and other time-sensitive cargo for the United States Postal Service and the United Parcel Service,” the release explained. Alpine Air has a fleet of more than 80 aircraft (Beechcraft 1900C/D/99, and King Air), and transports mail packages and other time-sensitive cargo for USPS and UPS. Its pilots can now apply to Atlas Air’s Pathway to Success Program.
Patricia Goodwin-Peters, Senior Vice President, Human Resources of Atlas Air Worldwide, commented: “We have long respected Alpine Air for its strong reputation as a regional air cargo provider that also serves some of the same customers on our own roster. Partnering with Alpine Air gives Atlas Air the opportunity to tap into a talent pipeline that includes some of the air cargo industry’s most experienced pilots.”
Bob Frisch, Chief Operating Officer of Alpine Air Express, stated: “Alpine Air Express is proud to partner with Atlas Air in their Pathway to Success Program. Atlas Air is a leader in cargo and charters with a large fleet across multiple aircraft platforms. This Pathway to Success Program provides a highly advantageous opportunity for Alpine Air pilots who wish to join an industry leading carrier such as Atlas Air.”
Just short of a centenary, Yellow Corp. closes operations
Just a few weeks ago, Yellow Corp. was looking to divest itself of its independent, third-party logistics broker, Yellow Logistics, Inc., describing it as “a customer-specific logistics solution provider that specializes in truckload, residential, contract logistics, engineered solutions, distribution, and warehousing.”
Jason Bergman, President of Yellow Logistics and Chief Commercial Officer at Yellow Corporation, said at the time: “Yellow Logistics is one of the fastest growing 3PLs in the industry and has been since its inception. Yellow Logistics has proven to be a strategic and reliable partner to its customers and providers. Our deep knowledge of moving freight in multiple modes and knowing how to execute on these solutions reliably and within customers’ budgets adds value and strengthens their supply chains. We are enthusiastic about our team’s ability to help customers accelerate growth for their portfolios.”
The following weekend, at the end of JUL23, Yellow Corp. ceased operations and announced plans to file bankruptcy. The Teamsters Union, against which Yellow filed a damages claim of USD 137 in JUN23, accusing the union of blocking modernization and restructuring plans and warning about the loss of 30,000 jobs at the time (including 22,000 union jobs), announced 31JUL23, that it had been served legal notice that Yellow Corp. was ceasing operations and filing for bankruptcy. Teamsters General President, Sean M. O’Brien, commented: “Today’s news is unfortunate but not surprising. Yellow has historically proven that it could not manage itself despite billions of dollars in worker concessions and hundreds of millions in bailout funding from the federal government. This is a sad day for workers and the American freight industry,” referring among other things to a USD 700 million loan that Yellow Corp. received in 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, with the premise that the U.S. Treasury would get a 29.6% equity stake in the company, despite a turbulent financial history (Bankruptcy has been looming at various intervals since 2010). USD 1.5 billion in debt are coming up for refinancing next year, of which around USD 729.2 million is owed to the federal government.
Now the 99-year-old company, one of the longest-serving American trucking companies, is likely to liquidate, with its business (308 transportation facilities across North America, of which more than half, 166, were owned, alongside 12,700 tractors and 42,000 trailers – majority owned), being redistributed within the trucking industry.
Gebrüder Weiss opts for island-friendly delivery services
As part of its climate neutrality 2030 strategy, Gebrüder Weiss has opted to deploy eco-friendly electric tricycles to carry out door-deliveries of up to 500 kgs on the Croatian islands of Rab and Lošinj. Barbara Bujačić, Country Manager Croatia at Gebrüder Weiss, said: “It is important to maintain the islands' authenticity and uniqueness. By using our electric tricycles to provide delivery services we help the island oases retain their charming character. And our customers will receive the goods they ordered online in an eco-friendly manner.” The tricycles, which are capable of covering 50 km/day on a single battery charge, whilst transporting up to half a ton in shipment weight, are not only an excellent choice when it comes to sustainability (emission-free and low noise), but also perfect for navigating the islands’ often very narrow streets – and getting around the many tourists.
It is not the only impact reduction that Gebrüder Weiss has introduced in Croatia. Over in its capital, the company has begun deploying electric vans for deliveries to final customers in Zagreb. A single battery charge ensures around 170 km of service, which translates into up to 35 deliveries per day of all kinds of goods from furniture to washing machines, fridges, freezers, or sports equipment. Again, noise pollution is reduced, plus these particular vans are charged via the company's own Photovoltaic system at the company's main location near Zagreb. The solar panels installed on the roof of the logistics facility boast an annual total peak performance of 500 kilowatts and contribute to saving about 107 tons of CO2 per year.
Thus, Croatia joins the other green Gebrüder Weiss networks already in place in Vienna/Austria, and Hungary, where electric trucks are in use. Meanwhile, Gebrüder Weiss has been deploying its first hydrogen truck over in Switzerland, since 2021, and is planning to acquire additional hydrogen and electric trucks in Germany next year.
Western Global Airlines funding and filing
Founded just 10 years ago with a mission to redefine the c. 50-year-old, static, contracted air cargo transportation services model by creating the industry’s lowest cost and most responsive, custom-tailored air cargo operating platform, the Florida-based, U.S. cargo airline, Western Global Airlines (WGA) will likely file for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month, having run into financial turbulence. There has been no proactive update by the company since it published its 19JUL23 company statement on its website on 24JUL23: “After 10 years of profitable operations and successful growth, the company is currently navigating financial challenges driven by unforeseen industry-wide factors, including the conflict in the Ukraine, the weakened global economy and particularly air cargo demand, spiraling costs, and the recurrence of COVID-19 pandemic in China, which disproportionately impacted WGA and its customers. Notably, up until the end of 2022, WGA delivered profitable operating results every year since its founding in 2013. The company continues to believe that maintaining its operations and infrastructure is in the best interests of all stakeholders. Accordingly, WGA is working diligently with its advisors to explore all value-maximizing alternatives and take the steps necessary to address its financial position.”
Problems have been accruing: the loss of its credit rating at Moody and Fitch, as well as its main customer, Amazon, in JAN23, alongside having to maintain a costly and aging mixed fleet of B747-400F and MD-11F (of which just a third is currently operational), in a market that is ever decreasing. Next to this are lawsuits for misuse of bond sale moneys by Neff and his wife, as well as Radiant Global Logistics claiming for missing payments.
Since its JUL statement, however, Western Global has reached a bankruptcy financing deal to the sum of USD 77.3 million (at a rate of 9%) which should allow it to keep operating as it prepares for the next step. Part of its funding was also secured last month, when its Founder, Jim Neff, controversially acquired USD115 million of the airline’s secured debt from Truist Financial Group, at just 40 cents to the dollar, leaving unsecured creditors in danger of losing money in the event of business liquidation. It also secures his control of the company, should it successfully exit Chapter 11.
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