Silk Way West Airlines celebrates first B777F lift-off
…all the way from the USA. Seattle, to be exact. On 04OCT23, the Boeing 777F set off from Seattle on its inaugural flight to Baku, marking the start of a new era for Silk Way West Airlines. The Azerbaijani airline has ordered seven Boeing freighters so as to benefit from the aircraft’s advanced technology, fuel efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Between now and 2030, the carrier will take delivery of five B777-F and two B777-8F aircraft, in line with its strategy to contribute to the development of Azerbaijan's aviation sector and enhance the country's significance as a regional and global transportation hub.
“With its impressive payload capacity and extended range, this aircraft will enable the airlines to offer more extensive, efficient, and reliable cargo transportation solutions to its clients. The Boeing 777F's extended range will open up new possibilities for connecting Baku with key global cargo hubs and will allow Silk Way West Airlines to serve its customers even better, facilitating faster and more direct shipments worldwide,” the press release states. The airline plans to increase the number of flights and destinations offered and is already looking forward to the second aircraft delivery very soon – “within the next month”.
Wolfgang Meier, President of Silk Way West Airlines, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the arrival of our first Boeing 777F to Baku, marking a significant milestone for Silk Way West Airlines. This addition to our fleet not only enhances our capabilities but also underlines our commitment to providing sustainable cargo services to our customers. We look forward to leveraging the advanced features of the Boeing 777F to further strengthen our position in the global cargo market.”
2024 sees enhanced AI in Wiremind’s products
Wiremind has announced that it is currently drawing on the latest generative AI technology and working on additional, enhanced AI features for its products that it plans to launch next year. From the introduction of its passenger Revenue Management solution, CAYZN, in 2018, Artificial Intelligence has always formed the foundation of its products. True to its mission to always improve, Wiremind has acquired considerable AI experience over the past 5 years. Machine-learning models in its products offer forecasting, intelligent overbooking management, pricing recommendations, and capacity optimization capabilities. All this AI runs in the background. Wiremind’s latest features will be front-end, hence users will be in direct contact with the AI. The company is working on two use-cases based on the benefits offered by large language models, to be rolled out in its CARGOSTACK product in 2024: one for a streamlined quotation management process (the forwarder's written quotation request will feed directly into CARGOSTACK's quotation module), and the second one enabling cargo teams to define their own flight management rules via written text which is then interpreted by AI to develop the required programming script which the user can then validate, test and activate. In each case, the goal is to reduce manual input and facilitate tool management.
Étienne Corbillé, Chief Technology Officer of Wiremind Cargo, commented “The hype around ChatGPT and the many other emerging language models this year, has shown that, as a society, we are now ready to embrace the opportunities that AI offers. A trend that we are more than happy to see, given that machine-learning models have played a core role in our solution philosophy for a number of years, and are infused into all our products. That said, we too are excited by this latest wave of AI technologies, particularly generative AI and large language models, because they are creating interesting use cases within our product. Many of these possibilities have already been discussed with our customers, and their feedback is now being incorporated into our planned concepts and ongoing product enhancements. All will be revealed next year with the release of our first two next-level AI features, unleashing the full potential this fascinating technology enables to better assist our users.”
ANA Cargo plays part in cleaning up Space
On 04OCT23, ANA, ANA Cargo, Astroscale and Yusen Logistics celebrated the culmination of careful planning: the take-off of a special freighter charter from Tokyo’s Narita Airport as flight NH8599 at 20:25, and heading to Auckland International Airport, New Zealand, where it landed the next day at 11:10. The routing was a premiere for the airline, which did everything possible to accommodate the customer’s request. And on board was very special cargo: an ‘Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan’ satellite which had been manufactured by Astroscale specifically for the purpose of taking out the increasing amount of space waste resulting from the many artificial satellites that have been launched to support modern life on earth. ‘ADRAS’ (as the satellite is referred to), will help to remove debris and reduce congestion/collision threats. Working together with Yusen Logistics Co., Ltd., ANA transported the satellite to New Zealand on behalf of Astroscale, as it is from here that it will be launched to carry out its mission.
The project required detailed planning, since not only did the satellite need to be on location in time for its scheduled launch, but it also required maximum care and attention with regard to handling, build-up, transport, loading, and the overall shipment journey. Thus, ANA put together a ‘professional unit’ comprised of experienced staff at each end (Narita and Auckland airports), to oversee the transportation and closely cooperate with Yusen Logistics which secured the safe transport on the ground, as well as the correct packaging and export/import details. The shipment was handled according to the airline’s ‘PRIO SENSITIVE’ product which deals with particularly sensitive and vulnerable cargo. It flew on board of one of ANA’s ‘Blue Jay’ Boeing 777 freighter – one of two in its fleet, alongside nine Boeing 767 freighters. Given the success of the mission, ANA will also provide flexible charter operations in future, using its freighter fleet to the best of the customers’ advantage.
Maersk Part 1: Bringing air cargo to the City of Angels
The new import/export gateway opened this week (03OCT23) just outside Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), measures around 12,000 m² (130,000 ft²) and is A.P. Moller – Maersk’s latest strategic air cargo gateway. It joins Atlanta and Chicago, both opened this year, and is another milestone in the company’s air cargo expansion plans which have been developed to match North American customer demand. “The new capacity allows for more supply chain integration opportunities and better scaling to care for seasonal peaks as well as market driven volume spikes for breakout product launches,” the release details, going on to reveal that the facility is just 24 km/15 miles from LAX and around 14 km/9 miles from the Port of Long Beach. It offers direct planeside recovery with immediate unit load device (ULD) transfers, and is staffed to provide customs brokerage, commercial sales, and freight operations such as LCL transload. “This site is U.S. Customs bonded Container Freight Station (CFS) and a U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF). This ensures timely and secure air freight handling. The facility is scheduled to attain Free Trade Zone status in 2024 to benefit from lower duties, reduced processing fees, and faster movement of goods.”
John Wetherell, Regional Head of Air Freight, North America, stated: “Our new Los Angeles air hub positions Maersk for years of growth. LA is a self-managed air facility that has tripled our access to capacity on the U.S. West Coast. Our customers will benefit from higher service levels and greater warehouse capacity.”
As the US’ 5th largest airport when it comes to handled cargo tonnage, and an important gateway between the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region, Maersk’s new cargo hub will no doubt soon be handling many of the region’s export goods: “Los Angeles is a leading high-technology center for the nation in the entertainment, electronics, biomedical, computers, and aerospace industries.”
Maersk Part 2: Ground Control to Major Bot
Maersk again. North America again. This time, the focus is on road rather than air – and in particular, on self-driving solutions. Together with the 2018-founded, autonomous technology provider, Kodiak Robotics, Maersk launched its first commercial autonomous truck lane between Houston and Oklahoma City on 05OCT23. “The companies are autonomously hauling consumer goods 24-hours per day, four days per week [on 53-foot trailers]. The commercial operations deepen Maersk and Kodiak’s expertise in integrating autonomous technology into supply chain networks in pursuit of performance, efficiency, and safety gains,” says the release, which points to more joint routes to come across Maersk’s growing North American logistics network. The launch of the initial lane follows intense pilots since NOV22, when Kodiak and Maersk first began testing autonomous freight deliveries together as part of Maersk’s Global Innovation Center Program. Since AUG22, Kodiak has been delivering eight loads per week to Maersk customers, with a safety driver at the wheel.
Autonomous trucking solutions bring two key benefits: they solve the problem of driver shortages (the industry is missing 78,000 drivers in the USA alone, and that gap is simply increasing), and they have the potential to significantly improve road safety, given than a staggering 94% of crashes are due to human error according to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research.
Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s Global Head of Innovation - Logistics & Services, explained: “Teaming with Kodiak enables Maersk to stay at the forefront of innovative solutions. Autonomous trucks will play an instrumental role in digitizing the supply chain. We expect self-driving trucks to ultimately become a competitive advantage for Maersk as we execute on our strategy to provide customers with a sustainable, end-to-end logistics solution across air, land, and sea.”
Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, Kodiak, said: “Since our founding, we have focused on developing an autonomous product that is easy for global innovation leaders to integrate into their networks, and Maersk is a perfect fit. Hauling commercial freight gives us the opportunity to work together to integrate Kodiak’s autonomous trucking solution into Maersk’s operations. As the first autonomous trucking company to establish this new commercial lane between Houston and Oklahoma City, we are demonstrating our team’s ability to introduce new lanes and bring new efficiencies to the entire logistics industry.”
Qatar Airways Cargo is now flying to WAW
01OCT23 saw Qatar Airways Cargo’s first freighter flight to Warsaw in Poland, doubling the weekly cargo capacity to 200 tons on the route that has been served by passenger flights since 2012. The weekly freighter, which flies via Liège on Sundays, offers 100 tons each way, and will likely be carrying mainly general cargo, and perishables. Another 100 tons of belly capacity are spread over 10 weekly passenger flights to Warsaw – the only Polish destination thus far in the airline’s network. “A customer welcome event was held to celebrate the freighter arrival which was attended by Qatar Airways Cargo management, Warsaw airport officials, and customers,” the release states.
Elisabeth Oudkerk, SVP Cargo Sales and Network Planning said: “Qatar Airways Cargo has been serving Eastern Europe for many years and is very pleased to announce freighters to Warsaw which will complement the passenger flights to this important city. The launch of this service will provide consistent and reliable freighter operations between Poland and Qatar.” Other Eastern European cargo destinations include: Budapest (HU), Prague (CZ), Bucharest (RO), Zagreb (HR), Belgrade (RS), and Sofia (BG).
In other news recently, Qatar Airways Cargo also announced that, in addition to the pharma services already available in its Digital Lounge ebooking platform, it has also made Pharma Care and Pharma Passive bookable on its third-party marketplace partners: WebCargo by Freightos, cargo.one, and CargoAi, since 28SEP23, and will be expanding this to include further Pharma subcategories shortly.
American Airlines Cargo says a technical yes to Opticooler
The FAA approved DoKaSch’s Opticooler RKN already back in APR23, with United Airlines following suit just a fortnight later. Now, at the start of this month, half a year later, American Airlines Cargo has also released the technical approval for the well-received temperature solution. Thus, DoKaSch’s Opticooler® RKN active containers can be used across the carrier’s entire network from now on, providing its customers with a reliable solution for their temperature-sensitive goods on what the release states is “one of the world's largest and most extensive international air cargo networks.”
Eric Mathieu, Head of Customer Experience at American Airlines Cargo, commented: “The technical approval of the Opticooler® RKN, along with the well-established approval of the Opticooler® RAP is an excellent addition to our existing options for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo. It gives our pharmaceutical customers a reliable option for safely transporting their sensitive shipments in a highly regulated market. The Opticooler® meets our high standards and supports our global cold chain network.”
Andreas Seitz, Managing Director of DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, adds: “The USA is one of the biggest and most important export market for pharmaceuticals. The technical approval by U.S. carrier American Airlines Cargo is therefore an important step for our growth strategy in the region. It gives even more pharmaceutical shippers in the U.S. easy and trouble-free access to our Opticoolers® for the global distribution of their high-value and high-risk cargo. Combined with our high availability and reliability, the Opticooler® 'Made in Germany' contributes greatly to the reliability of the global cold chain.”
FIATA has a new President
This week has seen both the 2023 FIATA World Congress take place in Brussels/Belgium (with around 650 delegates from 80 different countries), as well as the association’s 2023 FIATA Electoral General Meeting on 06OCT22. The latter was attended by more than 200 participants. In addition to welcoming 3 new Association Members to FIATA which now numbers 114 members, the EGM was instrumental in establishing the association’s new leadership. Dr Ivan Petrov, NSBS, Bulgaria, who had been appointed FIATA’s 32nd President in NOV21 – at the time by electronic vote, given the global circumstances, is succeeded by Mr. Turgut Erkeskin, UTIKAD, Türkiye. In the traditional ceremony wherein Dr Petrov handed incoming President Erkeskin a symbolic ceremonial golden chain and gold pin (the latter previously having been a silver pin), pledged his support, Turgut Erkeskin also thanked him for his role and presented him with a gift of which he said: “the value is bigger than our compliance. This is a special artefact from Anatolia, with which you make a wish and blow into it, turning it into reality.”
Upon his appointment, Turgut Erkeskin commented: “FIATA stands stronger than ever, driven by an unconditional commitment to values which define our purpose: Excellence, collaboration, innovation, inclusion, responsibility. Today we announce a new strategic vision, with which we will empower the entire logistics sector. We believe in the power of transformation, and this power will come from within us. Our global presence is immense, with a huge potential to shape the logistics industry. Together we can harness our resources and expertise to make a more interconnected supply chain. Streamlined processes and enhanced transparency are essential, in a future where logistics is the driving force behind global trade, economic development and sustainability.”
President Turgut Erkeskin, UTIKAD, Türkiye, is joined in leadership by Senior Vice Presidents: Thomas Sim, SLA, Singapore; Jens Roemer, Forward Belgium, Belgium; Marc Bibeau, CIFFA, Canada; as well as the Secretary General: Robert Keen, BIFFA, United Kingdom; and Treasurer: Neil Taylor, ALOG, Chile.
FIATA welcomes Pledge as official sustainability partner
“This partnership will therefore act as a significant catalyst for the decarbonization of global logistics,” the press release emphasizes, announcing the appointment of the carbon emissions measurement and offsetting platform, Pledge, as the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA)’s official sustainability partner on 02OCT23. The partnership should facilitate a move towards more sustainable and resilient supply chains. Pledge is the sole sustainability partner within FIATA, which represents more than 40,000 freight forwarding and logistics firms across the globe. Those members stand to gain greater visibility of their emissions, along with the data required to come up with effective strategies to meet emission targets, and results that they can share with their own customers. “As a source of knowledge on upcoming emissions regulations, in tandem with FIATA's network and consequent insight into international transport and logistics policy, Pledge will work in collaboration with other members to promote greater sustainability in the global logistics ecosystem,” the release elaborates.
Stéphane Graber, Director General, FIATA, stated: “This partnership is a positive step in FIATA's work to support its members in achieving sustainability goals in transport and logistics, and FIATA looks forward to seeing what this new collaboration with Pledge will bring.”
David de Picciotto, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Pledge, said: “Collaboration is the driving force behind sustainable change. As FIATA's sustainability partner, Pledge looks to facilitate impactful action on carbon reduction among its members.”
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