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WORLD ACW Digital is sponsored by AIRPORTS.COM FREIGHTERS.COM

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My dearest Airline, Recent months have been difficult. Yet at no time did I doubt our ability to weather the storm together. My loyalty to you has no limits. And by your side I am better.

Because when you have found the one, you never give up. Happy Valentine’s Day, my beloved Airline

ECS New Sponsorship advert.indd 1

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The weekly newspaper for air cargo professionals No. 1,120

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22 FEBRUARY 2021

Quote Request System launched by AZFreight.com

IAG CARGO FLIES FLOWERS FOR THE LOVESTRUCK

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AG Cargo, part of the IAG group, worked to help the lovestruck keep the magic alive this Valentine’s Day, reporting the transportation of 438 tonnes of flowers across its network, or approximately 18 million stems, with popular blooms including fresh cuts of roses, chrysanthemums and carnations. Over the past few weeks IAG Cargo has been running flights across its network, including four flights a week from Nairobi, Kenya into London Heathrow and flights from Nairobi into the US, to ensure those in love could spoil their loved ones this Valentine’s Day. It is a busy time of year for flowering farms, cargo operators, freight forwarders and distributors who have all been working hard to ensure consumers worldwide could enjoy floral delights for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day flowers rely on a complex supply chain, with airfreight offering a fast and reliable service. The process sees flowers hit shelves within 72 hours of being cut, with temperatures between 0 – 2°C maintained from the farm to shop. IAG Cargo specialises in the required cold chain management via its Constant Fresh offering. Bob Andersen, CEO at The Elgon Collection based in Kenya, who grows roses on 43 hectares, commented: “During all the challenges of COVID19, buying flowers for a loved one is a small way of making someone feel special. We believe the

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INSIDE WINDY CITY RECORD

CHICAGO Rockford International Airport (RFD) has ended 2020 with the largest year-todate landed cargo weight in the organisation’s ... PAGE 2

secret to our success is in growing top quality roses whilst genuinely caring for our community and environment. “With the success of our flower farm we have been able to build three schools, a hospital, a vocational training centre, a children’s home and a training centre.” Freddie Overton, regional commercial manager for Europe and Africa at IAG Cargo commented: “Flowers are the quintessential gift on Valentine’s Day and we’re pleased to see that despite the ongoing difficulties caused by COVID-19, there are many people in the world who are romantics at heart, even during a pandemic! “We have some of the best floral facilities in the world to help get Valentine’s flowers to market, looking as fresh as the day they were cut, for consumers to enjoy during a unique Valentine’s Day this year.”

MNG RENEWS WITH CARGOSYSTEMS

THE Turkish carrier MNG Airlines Cargo has renewed with CHAMP Cargosystems for its cargo community service, Traxon ... PAGE 2 QUOTE REQUEST SYSTEM

AZFREIGHT.COM has long been the hub for the global airfreight Industry. It is where exporters find forwarders, shippers find capacity ... PAGE 4

Oman Air achieves CEIV Fresh

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man Air has achieved IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators for ‘Fresh’ Logistics (CEIV Fresh), the airline industry’s leading certification for safeguarding the integrity of perishable goods across the supply chain. The globally recognised cer-

tification aims to increase food safety, reduce spoilage and eliminate food waste, and confirms Oman Air’s standards of excellence in the quality management of perishable cargo. “I am pleased to announce that Oman Air is officially certified CEIV Fresh by IATA. “The certification marks the

culmination of a tremendous effort by our dedicated teams to advance Oman Air’s capabilities in the transport of time- and temperature-sensitive products,” commented Abdulaziz Al Raisi, CEO of Oman Air. “As a forward-thinking airline, this is a momentous day for Oman Air.”

UNICEF TAKES TO THE AIR

UNICEF has launched the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. Under this landmark initiative, over 10 leading airlines have signed agreements ... PAGE 8

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NEWS

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Windy City’s record tonnage in COVID-19 CHICAGO Rockford International Airport (RFD) has ended 2020 with the largest year-to-date landed cargo weight in the organisation’s history. In 2020, cargo numbers grew by more than 15% to 2.7 billion pounds of freight that has landed and travelled through RFD compared to 2.3 billion pounds in 2019. The leading driver of the cargo growth was e-Commerce purchases. Cargo growth has continued at a high pace since the 2019 holiday season due to the pandemic in which a rise of purchases online continued throughout the year. That, combined with the cargo flights carrying essential products and PPE to the region, increased the number

of cargo flights and new international cargo operations. In 2019, cargo numbers grew almost 11% over 2018 with more than 2.3 billion pounds of cargo travelilng through the airport. In comparison, 2018 cargo numbers were at 2.1 billion pounds and 2017 marked 1.4 billion pounds of landed weight at RFD. “We’re proud to be a catalyst for access and ease of transporting goods for our region,” commented Mike Dunn, executive director, RFD. “The ongoing infrastructure improvements and new development on our property will help us to continue to realise enhanced job growth and business opportunities as well.”

Liege Airport CEO fired FOLLOWING an internal investigation conducted by consultants Deloitte, the CEO of Liege Airport has been dismissed by its board of directors. Forty offences and irregularities were found to be committed by Luc Partoune, including fictitious jobs, rigged public contracts and corruption. He has since been dismissed and Frédéric Jacquet, deputy managing director, has been appointed as interim managing director.

The airport states: “A recruitment process will be quickly launched in order to provide the airport with a full-service managing director in the coming months. The most important thing is to maintain the confidence of all the employees and partners, who make the airport today and who believe in the airport of tomorrow. “The social, economic and environmental challenges that await us are extremely important and must mobilise all energies,” said the airport.

Anchorage Airport hits a milestone

MORE than 3.48 million tonnes of air cargo landed at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in 2020; a 16% increase over the record setting volumes in 2019.

“The tremendous surge in cargo volumes through ANC has been fuelled by an increase in e-Commerce, PPE, and displaced belly cargo,” commented airport director Jim Szczesniak.

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he Turkish carrier MNG Airlines Cargo has renewed with CHAMP Cargosystems for its cargo community service, Traxon cargoHUB. As a long-term Traxon cargoHUB customer of 12 years, CHAMP has aided the carrier with its digitalisation efforts, expanded its eAWB penetration, and winning new business. Traxon cargoHUB is a platform featuring one of the largest air cargo

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communities, with electronic access to over 100 airlines and 3,000 forwarders, operating from 9,000 branches worldwide. CHAMP has fostered relationships with airlines and forwarders across Turkey, supporting the growing air cargo supply chain to digitalise from end-to-end. “MNG has been pleased with the breadth of Traxon cargoHUB,” commented Serkan Eren, ground operations director at MNG Airlines. “CHAMP’s tech-

nologies are not only a vital part of our data exchanges – but also bring stability and consistency to our processes. We are pleased to renew.” “We are pleased to continue supporting the digitalisation strategy of MNG Airlines,” added Laurent Jossa, head of sales – distribution services at CHAMP Cargosystems. “CHAMP maintains close ties to MNG in its cargo operation and continues to expand its business wherever possible.”

SAL and KAEC ink memorandum of co-operation

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he Saudi Logistics Company (SAL) has signed a memorandum of co-operation with King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in order to provide further support to both the logistics sector in the Kingdom and King Abdullah Economic City. The memorandum focuses on enhancing logistics services and contributes to creating promising logistic and economic opportunities in conjunction with Saudi Arabia’s ambitious 2030 vision to transform the Kingdom into a global logistic hub.

“OUR industry exists only because they fly. And our raison d’être, our outlooks and our daily lives are fundamentally linked to those of airlines. Together, since the beginning, we have built our history with them and for them. 2020 was a challenging year that revealed the true strength of airlines all over the world and their true capacity to resist and to adapt. “Large and small airlines alike had to tackle adversity that was unprecedented in its ferocity. ECS Group would like to pay tribute to them all and to thank them. “And so it was only natural that we chose to sponsor the award for the best airline, but this year, the award

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MNG AIRLINES CARGO RENEWS WITH CARGOSYSTEMS

Commenting on the event, Omar Hariri, CEO of SAL, emphasised the importance of this strategic partnership and its role to enhance the cargo ground

Why we are a WACA Sponsor: Airlines are the centre of our world.

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will have special significance: just one airline will win, but they all deserve it.”

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Adrien Thominet, CEO of ECS Group

handling services from and to KAEC. Commenting on the memorandum, Ahmed Linjawi, CEO of KAEC, said: “This memorandum aims to enhance the strategic partnerships we enjoy with different public and private entities and is part of our continuous efforts to provide investors from inside and outside the Kingdom with a comprehensive stimulant investing environment to support and diversify the national economy. “The signing of this memorandum is parallel with KSA’s 2030 vision to becoming a global logistic hub.”

Etihad first airline to vaccinate full crew ETIHAD Airways has become the first airline in the world with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, commented: “We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for every crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board. “I chose very early on to be vaccinated to demonstrate my own support of the national vaccination programme and to encourage everyone at Etihad who was eligible for the vaccine, to receive it.”

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LATAM helps Valentine’s bloom LATAM Cargo Group has bounced back this Valentine’s Day season, which together with Mother’s Day marks the peak season for cut flower cargo. In 2021, the company carried 7% more flowers than in 2020, totalling more than 13,200 tonnes. The good figures are due to LATAM Group’s uninterrupted operations in Colombia and Ecuador, despite the big challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of capacity. In fact, the Group has increased its online offering to satisfy the needs of its customers –in this case flower producers– who depend on connectivity and exports to sustain their businesses. During the season that began three weeks before Valentine’s Day – January 18 through to February 9 – LATAM Group took off some 225 times from Bogota, Medellin and Quito with their loads of roses, spray roses, alstroemeria and gerberas from Colombia, and roses, gypsophila and alstroemeria from Ecuador to the United States. “It is in times of difficulty like the current pandemic that our commitment to our customers is demonstrated. Not only do we offer the best transportation options by prioritising the use

INTERCARGO AIDS VACCINE LOGISTICS

of all-cargo aircraft and adding passenger aircraft for transporting flowers exclusively. We also added new frequencies to take fresh flowers from Colombia and Ecuador to the world, thus

supporting our customers’ businesses,” commented Claudio Torres, commercial vice president for South America at LATAM Cargo Group.

INTERCARGO Ground Handling Argentina has announced the success of its assistance with the first Aeroméxico flight which transported the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in mid-January. On January 28, Intercargo further helped with the transportation of the Sputnik V vaccine using an aircraft from the state company Boliviana de Aviación to La Paz. For this operation the handler utilised its recently incorporated Cool Dollies. This specific equipment is unique to Argentina and will be utilised as a part of the necessary logistics to transport the COVID-19 vaccines, keeping the cold chain and avoiding abrupt climate changes when this sanitary equipment is uploaded or downloaded from airplanes. This equipment enables Intercargo to handle cargo within a range of temperatures: frozen: -14° to -18°; cold: 2° to 25° and intermedium: 15° to 25°.

Dachser Air & Sea Logistics reorganises regional management DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics (ASL) has re-organised management within its business units in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Americas regions. The position of managing director, ASL EMEA has been assumed by Dr Tobias Burger, who is already responsible for the strategic development of the business field Air & Sea Logistics as deputy director ASL.

Dr Burger succeeds Thomas Krüger, who has led the air and sea freight business in the EMEA region since 2016. With immediate effect, Dachser Air & Sea Logistics has assigned responsibility for the ASL Americas business unit to Ralph Riehl. Before joining Dachser, he worked for the logistics group Panalpina, now DSV Panalpina, for over 30 years.

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Freight Quote Request System launched by AZFreight.com

AZFreight.com has long been the hub for the global airfreight Industry. It is where exporters find forwarders, shippers find capacity and where airlines find general sales agents, among many other matches. Tim Brocklehurst, Web Inclusion, AZura International

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he recent upgrade of the AZFreight website has enabled new possibilities for these partnerships to be forged. London-based Web Inclusion, AZFreight’s digital consultants, added the first of these initiatives to AZFreight.com in January: the AZ Quote Request System (QRS).

Public space The QRS provides a public space for importers and exporters to post their shipping requirements, and for freight forwarders to quote directly for the shipment. The QRS form has been designed to gather all vital information, quickly saving the exporter valuable time. It has been under careful monitoring since launch for continuous improvement, and now boasts an average input time of less than 30 seconds per quote request. To help with speed and eliminate the chance of missed information, the form is equipped with dropdown selectors for easy input of container-sizes and incoterms. Cargo weight and measurement can also be inserted accurately to provide finite details for forwarders. It is even possible to specify a oneoff shipment or an on-going partnership with regular freight exports quarterly, monthly or weekly. All quote requests are publicly viewable on the AZFreight website. Quote requesters can specify if they only want quotes from one or the other country.

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They can also send direct quote requests to Premium Listings straight from their profile page. Requesters can post anonymously, providing them with heightened security. When a quoter quotes back however, the system includes its company email address and a link to its profile page. So then, providing the requester likes the quote, or wishes to respond to questions that came with it, the dialogue continues by private email, telephone or WhatsApp.

Quote request In its first 30 days, the QRS had over 500 quote requests. Volumes are increasing as awareness grows for this free service. You can find the new AZ Quote Request System at the Freight Quotes menu on the AZFreight website: https://azfreight.com

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Volga-Dnepr steps up as e-Commerce booms I

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REMOTE working, shop closures and social distancing have become the norm for many globally and this shift in lifestyle has led to a huge increase in e-Commerce. “The e-Commerce sector has been booming for the last decade in general and in 2020 in particular, driven by the pandemic situation and lockdowns,” explains Fedor Novikov, marketing director, Volga-Dnepr Group (below). “Volga-Dnepr felt the scale of social responsibility and fostered its co-operation and support of e-Commerce platforms by providing high-quality services on board unique freighter fleet of Volga-Dnepr Group, especially Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 freighters,

and guaranteed delivery of essential items to many consumers across the globe. “We were able to support our customers from the e-Commerce sector and managed to achieve over 3.5-fold increase in cross-border shipments delivering over 135,000 tonnes of cargo to various countries.” To cater to the increasing demand, Volga-Dnepr is growing e-Commerce shipments in a number of ways. Effectively using their capabilities, the carrier is including not only Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 but also An-124100/150 freighters to support e-Commerce traffic between Asia and Europe during the peak seasons, as well as adding long-term

charter programmes with flexible timeframes which guarantee capacity availability and uninterrupted supply chains. “We have introduced new ULDs with extenders for bulk cargo to use the empty loadable space in lower deck compartment of the B747F, which is cost-saving for the customers and more efficient in terms of capacity management for the carriers,” explains Novikov. They are also strengthening the global e-Commerce team, their expertise and competence whilst developing the IT hub and its

integration with e-Commerce stakeholders. This guarantees 100% data transparency and accuracy, which is of vital importance for e-Commerce customers and end consumers. The digital customer experience will be improved with online booking options. “These are just a few steps we are taking to foster e-Commerce growth, although we are planning additional initiatives, which will enable us to reach new heights in the e-Commerce sector together with our customers worldwide,” Novikov adds.

New Technology

Why new tech for Jan de Rijk makes warehouse ops a breeze JAN de Rijk Logistics’ new warehouse technology makes warehouse operations a breeze. The Netherland-based logistics company has invested in new AutoStore system technology to streamline their warehouse operations. The new innovative system, which is supplied by Lalesse Logistic Solutions, will be up and operating in the Roosendaal warehouse by the summer. The implementing of AutoStore marks the start of Jan de Rijk Contact Logistics’ growth strategy for the coming years, which is aiming on growing in specific warehouse segments such as: technology, retail and e-Commerce. The fully-automated goods to person piece pick solution compacts traditional shelving units and aisles into a crate-stacked system. Replacing people physically picking goods, robots move along the top of the crate grid system and grab stock that has been pre-programmed via computer. Digging for stocks is at a minimum because of the stacking pre-programming which posi-

tions the most used crates at the top of the stack, making operations more efficient. Staff interact using the interface at the end of the picking process but receive real-time information through the monitor. “I am extremely proud of this investment, as it will give a significant boost to our contract logistics activities,” comments Don Brewel, director contract logistics. He adds that with the new system, Jan de Rijk can design “tailor-made fully automated” solutions. “The solution is ideal for high-volume cost efficient piece picking. With this investment, we can expand our B2C e-fulfilment service offering for our customers,” he adds. With some 15,000 bin locations, 11 robots and three stations, Jan de Rijk is capable of reaching more than 150 picks per station per hour. Taking up around a 1/3 of traditional space, the new tech can be easily scaled up by expanding the grid as demand increases.

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Middle East Middle East EMIRATES LEADS THE WAY FOR VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

up of the key stakeholders in our business who understand the complexities moving vaccines.”

EMIRATES SkyCargo, along with three other leading Dubai entities, has formed the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance under the directive of the government of the UAE and ruler of Dubai to help address the urgent need for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries “Emirates SkyCargo, DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports have come together to achieve this,” explains Dennis Lister, Emirates VP cargo commercial development. Emirates SkyCargo has invested in infrastructure, a dedicated hub for vaccines, their network and pharma corridor creation to aid efficient vaccine transportation.

Network “We have an extensive destination network of more than 135 cities across six continents which includes all the main pharmaceutical manufacturing locations. “In addition to scheduled destinations, we are also able to deploy our aircraft at short notice to other destinations as part of charter operations.”

Pharma Corridors

Infrastructure “Emirates SkyCargo has invested in developing ‘fit for purpose’ EU GDP certified infrastructure and capabilities at our hub in Dubai. We have close to 15,000 sq m of dedicated temperature controlled storage and handling area in Dubai for pharmaceuticals,” explains Lister.

“In October 2020, we set up the world’s largest GDP certified airside hub dedicated to COVID-19 vaccines in Dubai. This avoids the need for large-scale storage solutions at the destination, especially if cold chain infrastructure is a challenge. “We have also set up a dedicated rapid response team, made

Halleux: “The pandemic put air cargo in the spotlight”

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hroughout the pandemic Qatar Airways Cargo has proved it is a force to be reckoned with both in the Middle East and globally. Guillaume Halleux speaks to ACW about the reasons behind their resilience and how the cargo airline will keep moving forward in 2021. What is it that keeps Qatar Airways Cargo on top? “Our people are our greatest asset,” explains Halleux. “The infrastructure, fleet, network and solutions along with our dedicated team makes the perfect combination and enables us to provide high-end service to our customers.”

Customer communication For Halleux, “customer-centricity” is at the heart of the business. “I believe this differentiates us from the rest of our competition. We are always ready to listen to our customers. Even through the peak of the pandemic and while we had to adjust to the new normal, together with our staff, suppliers and partners, we successfully navigated through 2020.” He notes that resiliency, agility and adaptability were the key traits that helped the carrier through the storm of 2020 despite the challenges the pandemic created in regard to business for the cargo industry. And there were many challenges thrown in the way. “In May 2020, 53% of our 1,700 staff at the hub contracted the virus or were in quarantine,” Halleux recalls. “Running operations with 50% of your staff absent was very difficult during the peak of the pandemic, there were delays and other issues, but our customers were very understanding.” Despite this, Qatar Airways Cargo continued to fly with good capacity albeit slightly disorganised, Halleux admits. “Cargo was the lifeline for the airlines and the pandemic put air cargo in the spotlight.”

In the spotlight During this time, the Middle Eastern carrier tripled flights to 180 cargo flights per

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day, compared with 60 cargo flights per day pre-COVID. The flights were to cater demand for medical supplies and aid, of which Qatar Airways Cargo transported more than 250,000 tonnes. Charters also supported relief efforts as well as transporting food, perishables and live animals. “Shopping behaviours drastically changed leading to an increase in e-Commerce shipments on our network. Apart from transporting these shipments on our scheduled freighters and flights, we operated more than 40 charters with e-Commerce goods last year,” comments Halleux. “Overall, we transported over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2020, this is a 4% increase over the previous year and our market share has grown since the start of the pandemic due to the increase in demand for freighter aircraft capacity,” he adds, also noting that this further consolidates the carrier’s position as a major player in the global air freight market.

“As part of our pharma corridors programme over the last few years, we have worked with all our ground handling partners at all major pharma origin and destination airports to ensure that we offer enhanced cool chain protection from start to finish. “Our current pharma corridors network spans more than 30 destinations across the world and includes some of the major COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing locations as well.”

dnata future-proofs operations

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s the industry adjusts to the ever-changing market, dnata, which has over 140 airline customers in Dubai and over 15,000 employees, is entering the new year full steam ahead. After the immense impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry, Bernd Struck, dnata’s senior vice president for UAE Cargo and DWC Airline Services, explains focus currently lies on “rebuilding the demand with customers and suppliers to continue the flow of essential goods.” “One of our key roles in Dubai is transportation of vaccines. At dnata we heavily invested before the pandemic in our cold chain and pharma handling capabilities,” he adds. Investing in the digitalisation of the cargo sector has been driving the business forward by both streamlining and optimising operations.

Growth

Unique selling point

Thus far, the year has gotten off to a flying start, as three Boeing 777 freighters joined the cargo carrier’s fleet, which brings fleet total up to 26 freighters. “We are looking to the future in terms of business as we once again begin to roll out our growth strategy, particularly in terms of our route and network expansion and enhancements to our solutions,” explains Halleux. He also notes that digitalisation is set to bring a massive change to the “fragmented industry” and it will be a focus of development for Qatar Airways Cargo this year. “We have introduced several digitalisation initiatives such as Robotic Process Automation for shipment tracking, Salesforce (Service Cloud), IATA’s One Record Pilot project with Champ and eBookings via WebCargo by Freightos that has gone live in six countries this month.” “The uncertainty has not faded, but 2020 has definitely made us resilient and stronger to deal with this year’s unique challenges.”

“In my opinion IT is the unique selling point of the future. You have to make processes efficient,” Struck says. Last year, Siemens Logistics implemented a smart just-in-time freight handling platform for dnata Cargo in Dubai, Appointment and Dock Management (ADM). After over two years in the making, ADM enables freight forwarders to book an appointment with the cargo terminal to deliver and pick up consignments. “After the first introduction of import services and just a couple of months ago the export section, the positive feedback from our customers has been outstanding,” recalls Struck. “[Customers] can plan a lot better and they’re not held up in queues. They make an appointment and they can be sure this will be reliable where they can exactly schedule the needs of trucks, equipment and personnel collecting or delivering the cargo.” He explains that the team are nearly at a

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point in which they can serve each customer within 30 minutes, “whereas before customers may have had to wait for hours to receive goods.” Plans are set to continue to modernise processes. “That’s our next goal, that we integrate other areas in Dubai, from traffic management outside of the airport, other free zones, other cargo facilities and find a single process to manage these requirements. “That’s something we will for sure be going forward with in the next year or two, finding ideal solutions with a single point of contact and IT for our customers, where they can deal with all their requirements.” Struck explains that a key part of this optimisation is dnata’s existing community platform, Calogi. “I believe that a community platform will be the future of success for larger airports in the world.” “You see them popping up already in Europe and America where the community gets together and shares information, details and with the sharing you can co-ordinate and control the processes better and more efficiently.” It is this model of data sharing to increase operation efficiency that dnata is planning to develop this year, Struck says.


Middle East Middle East The view from where we stand: Saudi Arabian Logistics’ Pharma Centre

LAST November, Saudi Arabian Logistics (SAL) opened a new pharma and perishable facility at the Cargo Village in Riyadh. The state-of-the-art centre specialises in perishables and all types of pharmaceuticals and can handle up to 365,000 tonnes of cargo a year. ACW checked in to see how the facility was operating, three months after the grand opening.

SO far, how has the new pharma centre and Saudi Arabia played a part in vaccine logistics? SAL’s new facilities for pharmaceuticals and perishables greatly contribute to the Kingdom’s efforts to vaccinate citizens and residents alike. Pfizer-BioNTech, which has the highest efficacy rate at 95%, was the first to be rolled out in Saudi in December of 2020. To ship this particular vaccine, extra precautions were observed to maintain its required temperature of -70C from the moment they are picked up from pharma plants, to the aircraft, down to the cold chain facilities, until their distribution to hospitals and clinics. The Saudi government expressed its strong support to provide equitable and affordable vaccines globally during the G20 Summit, which it hosted for the first time last year.

HOW has the new facility made processes more efficient? SAL’s new state-of-the-art facilities for pharma and perishables are equipped with highly efficient and modern cold chain machines. They are also more spacious with dedicated centres for sorting and shifting and are powered by smart technologies. They also have strategic docking areas for easy loading and unloading of shipments. All the facilities are aligned with EU GDP standards and local SFDA regulations as well. All of these things combined, along with our good partnership with the Saudi Customs, SFDA and other relevant offices concerning importation and exportation of a variety of cargo, help protect the goods and ensure their seamless movement.

WHAT features and technology does the facility have? The new facilities in Riyadh have four docks for loading refrigerated containers. There are also 13 warehouses with different temperatures ranging from -20oC to 25oC to suit the nature and type of cargo to be stored. Within the facilities, there is a special storage dedicated to flower cargo. There are also divisions run by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Customs to inspect and expedite the cargo handling process to avoid breaking the cool chain. The new facilities also feature a 650 sq m temperature control breakdown area as well as an area for shipping refrigerated containers, enough for 20 active containers. It is also equipped with a thermal isolation area. The new project will enhance SAL’s handling and storage services for medical and pharmaceuticals in line with the highest quality standards approved by the EU GDP.

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UNICEF takes to the air to transport COVID-19 vaccines around the world GertJan Roelands, SVP sales and distribution Air France KLM Martinair Cargo: “We’re very pleased to be formalising our partnership with UNICEF by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. We’ve been working together for a long time and are confidently looking forward to participating in this Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. Our extensive global freight network, expertise, dedicated people and services will play an important role in ensuring the successful shipment of COVID-19 vaccines with the highest priority and under the required strict conditions.”

Martin Drew, senior vice president sales and Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group “Etihad Cargo had no hesitation in supporting UNICEF’s far-reaching humanitarian initiative to aid children most at risk worldwide. This partnership is in line with Etihad Aviation Group’s commitment to improve the wellbeing of people everywhere and underpins Abu Dhabi’s international role in providing humanitarian aid to build a safer world.”

AirBridgeCargo Air France/KLM/Martinair Astral Aviation Brussels Airlines Cargolux Cathay Pacific Emirates SkyCargo Ethiopian Airlines Etihad Airways IAG Cargo Korean Air Lufthansa Cargo Qatar Airways SAUDIA Singapore Airlines United Airlines

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NICEF has launched the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. Under this landmark initiative, over 10 leading airlines have signed agreements with UNICEF to support the prioritisation of delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to respond to the pandemic. The Initiative will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term. “Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes” said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF Supply Division. “We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.” The UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative brings together the airlines covering routes to over 100 countries, in support of the COVAX Facility – the global effort aimed at

equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Based on the COVAX Facility’s indicative distribution and first round allocation plan, 145 countries will receive doses to immunise around three per cent of their population, on average, starting in the first half of 2021, subject to all requirements being met and final allocation plans.

Commitments are critical In addition to prioritising shipments of these life-saving supplies, the airlines will take measures such as temperature control and security, while also adding freight capacity to routes where needed. Their commitments are critical to the timely and secure delivery of vaccines and critical supplies. The safe, timely and efficient transportation of life-saving supplies remains critical to supporting access to essential services for children and families. COVAX deliveries and the subsequent vaccination of frontline workers will support health and social care systems to safely resume these critical services.

Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president, Cargo “Every single day counts in the fight against COVID-19 and the sooner that communities can have access to COVID-19 vaccines, the sooner they can curb the spread of the virus and get back on their feet. As a global player flying to more than 130 destinations, Emirates SkyCargo has been committed to the fight against the pandemic from the very early stages and we have rolled out a number of initiatives to expedite the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through Dubai, starting with our GDP-certified dedicated airside hub. “Through our partnership with UNICEF, we will be taking yet another step to prioritise and facilitate the rapid and secure movement of COVID-19 vaccines particularly to communities hard hit by the disease,”

Astral Aviation’s chief executive officer, Sanjeev Gadhia “We are truly honoured to be selected by UNICEF to participate in the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, based on our track-record in performing humanitarian flights within Africa and the Middle East during the past twenty years.”

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Profile for Azura International

ACW Digital 22nd February  

ACW Digital 22nd February