It has been two years in the making, has already been extensively tested in ATL and SPL airports, and is designed to meet the expectations of Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO), namely: Speed, Transparency, Quality, and Compliance, both from environmental as well as economic aspects. ‘Smart Cargo AirportsTM’ is SASI World’s newly launched product that aims to enable a complete ‘Chain of Custody’ with regard to security and transparency and institute redundancy planning. CargoForwarder Global (CFG) delved into the details with Stan Wraight (SW), President and CEO of SASI World Inc.
The idea for the Smart Cargo AirportsTM product arose from Stan Wraight’s long years of experience in the air cargo. Alongside all the good, functioning processes, particular pain points were the interchangeability of airline assets and the complexity of ensuring quality handling with a myriad of third-party providers. “Complete control of all third-party activity on the ground was so complex, it was a real struggle to manage a ‘Virtual integrator’ capability for the products I wanted to introduce,” he tells me. “On the ground everything starts with the airport authority and their support to install protocols and ensure that any GHA or other supplier on airport works as a community to advance the airports strategic and business plan,” he details. Cargo is a business card for an airport, Wraight stresses: a fact that SASI’s client airports were quick to agree to. Correct management of the many cargo stakeholders operating on the airport is imperative, as “if they fail, the airport is seen as the cause and airlines are dissatisfied.” Hence, Smart Cargo AirportsTM assists larger, passenger-oriented airports with gaining a better grip on their “non-core” cargo business.
From non-core to core
“What appears to be the most challenging aspect for airports and airlines when it comes to quality and compliance?” CFG asks. Wraight answers: “A complete misunderstanding of cargo as a core business and its importance to all airlines, especially passenger airlines’ profitability. Awareness that the good old days are over, e-Commerce has changed the consumers’ expectations in their personal life, and they are now demanding the same with their businesses. Quality and compliance are mandatory attributes in any company’s supply chain, be it the BCO or the people they depend on to meet their business objectives. Recent talks with bio medical companies, e-Commerce companies, automotive and aerospace companies re the supply chain make this [product] a must have.” SASI’s responsibility with the program is to make sure that airlines can trust that they will receive the service agreed to by third parties at the Smart Cargo AirportTM.
Airlines benefit from Smart Cargo AirportTM
“Smart Airlines understand that they have the fastest, and most reliable product in the world, possibly many, many times much faster than integrators, and that’s a direct point to point service, be it passenger aircraft bellies or full freighters,” Wraight explains. “Yet, without our help on the ground (assuming they do not self-handle) in the airports they serve, they cannot deliver a true end-to-end service and be sure it will consistently work. Shippers and Consignees (BCO) want Chain of Custody guarantees throughout”, something that SASI provides through its support for Air Cargo Community System (ACCS) implementation at airports as a start with selection of vendors. “Our system advice is unique: it’s the only one that covers not only the airport, first and last mile sector, customs and billing, but also the middle mile which every other system fails to provide. SASI is proud to be the only advisor for airlines on this product,” he continues, elaborating: “Our team also understands and can show all airport stakeholders how they can help the environment, increase customer satisfaction, lower costs, improve staff welfare and retention, improve safety and security concerns but most of all do so and make a decent return financially. We engage also with customs, chambers of commerce, banks, and most important entities such as customs and security to ensure their engagement with the airport.”
The Smart Cargo AirportsTM vision
Is it intended as a globally recognized quality label, CFG wants to know? Wraight says: “I would like to think that we can be more than that, as our standards and protocols eliminate the fragmentation that exists. There are so many entities, each in its own silo. We bring it all together in a total solution” – a solution that airlines have also been asking for, “as they are also fed up with the status quo”. The product is being rolled out in North America to begin with. Wraight reveals expansion plans: “We are already in discussions with airports in the Americas, Europe, the Gulf, and Asia. There is tremendous interest, and we have already agreed to a proof of concept for some.” In fact, POCs are lined up with a European airport and GHA, and another USA airport, all before the end of 2023.
North America goes Smart
A number of North American airports, among them Chicago Rockford, Philadelphia and Northlink Anchorage in the USA, and Edmonton in Canada, have embarked on the Smart Cargo AirportsTM program. Will they be certified upon completion, CFG asks? Wraight is emphatic in explaining that the program is not an expensive, product-based “certificates for hire” scheme as offered by certain associations, exclusive in their reach since only large companies have the budget for this. Instead, “all the best practices that an airport and the GHA operating on airport need are provided by us. Our standards have been accepted by major facility developers, and two of the world’s largest GHAs. The list of requirements that the airport, and any property developers who receive permission to build on airport, get from us dictates that any tenants (GHA or others) must provide the full range of services and standards we outline.” Those include Cool Chain, DGR, VAL and Live standards, as well as the necessary training and certification of staff, regulatory compliance, and other high-value verticals requirements that the airport needs to serve. “And we are, of course, very, very stringent on the environment,” he says, listing electric GSE, building codes, SAF initiates, as well as provisions and requirements for upcoming E-VTOL for cargo, as examples.
New VP for Aviation Security Practice
SASI World recently appointed Doug Brittin as its Vice President for Aviation Security Practise, who will be responsible for addressing security concerns raised through the Smart Cargo Airports members. “Security is a major issue, and our work with ICAO on providing their ‘Safety and Security’ training is one element, but our own SASI Learning and Development courses have been enhanced to cover this in detail. Airport security is critical in these times of supply chain issues that truly affect security,” Wraight outlines, revealing that Brittin has compiled an extensive whitepaper entitled: ‘Sasi World White Paper: The Latest Developments In Air Cargo And Airport Security’, and that this will be published in the coming weeks.
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