In this double-week recap, we look back at weeks 34 and 35, as new coronavirus cases halted ground handling operations at Shanghai airport, causing cargo delays and further aggrevating supply chain disruptions. In the same week in late August, Colombia’s former aviation chief, Juan Carlos Salazar, stepped in for his first mandate as new ICAO director general. We also feature French forwarder Geodis as it enhanced its air charter services with the addition of its own leased freighter. The double wrap wouldn’t be complete without the latest analysis from IATA and Clive Data Services, as well as announcements from Rickenbacker, Swissport, Skyport and more.
Rates go sky high as supply chains falter amidst new corona cases
With already tight capacity due to fewer international passenger flights, the air cargo industry saw air cargo rates push up 112 percent in August year on year, no thanks to Covid-related delays in main manufacturing hubs like Vietnam and major air hubs in Shanghai, which have added to supply chain woes. Clive Data Services managing director, Niall van de Wouw, said “the problem for the air cargo industry is not demand, it’s clearly capacity,” which was at 16 percent below the level seen in August 2019. “In August, a small handful of Covid cases at Pudong airport led to the closure of air cargo terminal operations. When something like this happens at what is the world’s third largest cargo airport, it only reflects how fragile things are for global supply chains and the immediate impact on rates which were already high.” Aggrevating the demand were the number of retailers who turned from traditional ocean freight-based supply chains to air cargo to replenish stock levels in time for their peak season. Ground handling delays in China led to 10 percent drop in volumes from China to Europe in the last two weeks of August, whilst westbound capacity was reduced by 18, resulting to spot rates elevating nearly 20 percent in the last week of August compared to the last week of July.
Colombia’s former aviation chief steps in as ICAO general
Colombia’s former director general of civil aviation, Juan Carlos Salazar, officially assumed the office of ICAO Secretary General on 1 August 2021. The appointment was announced as early as February this year. Salazar, who will succeed Dr. Fang Liu after two terms, will assume the role as CEO of UN’s specialized agency for civil aviation. The new secretary general brings in more than 26 years of experience in civil aviation, public policy, and managing large organizations.
First Geodis aircraft set for takeoff
Geodis has invested in its own leased A330-300 full freighter, which will be flying with Geodis livery, between Amsterdam, London, Chicago and Hong Kong in its charter schedule starting September. The freighter, on lease for several years, will fly three times each week between Amsterdam/London and Chicago (AMS/STN–ORD) and will operate weekly rotations connecting Amsterdam and Hong Kong (AMS–HKG). It will also be deployed on the China-Europe route during peak season.
Swissport rolls out new cargo app
Swissport is equipping its cargo workers with new mobile app and handheld devices. The cargo app, developed by CHAMP Cargosystems, will further digitize Swissport’s air cargo warehousing process and offers real-time visibility on cargo shipments. The app has been rolled out in Helsinki, Basel, Hamburg, Manchester and Frankfurt and will be rolled out in 76 more locations by the end of 2022, starting with Africa, the US, the UK, as well as Ireland, Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands.
Airlink Cargo, Astral Aviation sign interline agreement
A new interline agreement between African carriers Airlink Cargo and Astral Aviation is bound to boost air cargo logistics in Africa, providing more options and access points to the sub-Saharan market through the two airlines’ networks and hubs in Johannesburg and Nairobi. The interline agreement, ratified on 1 August 2021, saw Airlink Cargo adding Dubai to its network, whilst Astral will now have access beyond Johannesburg, with links to various points in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho and Madagascar
Skyport handles 30 live falcons at Prague airport
Ground handling specialist Skyport recently handled 30 live falcons on their way from Prague in the Czech republic to Kuwait City. The live animals, considered birds of prey, were transported in secure, carpeted boxes and provided with ‘hoods’ to help reduce stress and keep them safe. They will be used at airports to keep off other species and prevent further ‘bird strike’ incidents. Skyport said it recently handled rhinos, Komodo dragons, and a polar bear.
IATA: Strong cargo demand continues in July
IATA director general Willie Walsh said “July was another solid month for global air cargo demand” as economic conditions indicate strong growth that will continue into the year-end peak period. Global demand was up 8.6 percent compared to July 2019, with demand for international air cargo in Asia Pacific up 4.4 percent. Walsh said the threat of the Delta variant could bring some risks to demand, with possible supply chain and production disruptions having a potential ‘knock-on effect’ for air cargo shipments.
AirBridgeCargo extends WFS collab on 10-year Liege deal
AirBridgeCargo and Worldwide Flight Services have inked a 10-year cargo handling contract at Liege airport. WFS will handle export and import cargo for 15 of the Boeing 747 freighter flights each week and has already subleased half of ABC’s new cargo terminal at the Belgian air hub to support other carriers.
ST Engineering makes key appointments
ST Engineering has appointed Tan Lee Chew as president commercial and member of the group executive committee, effective 1 September. She will replace Lim Serh Ghee, who will retire in October, to oversee the growth of commercial aerospace, urban solutions and satellite communications, which account for close to half of the company’s revenue as of the first half. Prior to joining ST Engineering, Lee Chew was managing director, worldwide public sector (Asean) at Amazon Web Services.
AGI opens new off-airport facility at Newark
Cargo handling services provider Alliance Ground International (AGI) has opened a new 76,000-sqft off-airport facility near Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to process import freight, and is set to move into a 24,000-sqft facility at EWR to handle outbound/export cargo and offer a dual-facility solution. The off-airport facility will feature 19 cargo bay doors, active unit load device (ULD) charging stations, ULD and cold storage, pharma handling areas, increased security, and easy access to major highways.
David Lara joins CargoAi’s board
Air freight expert and former Ceva Logistics standout, David Lara, has joined CargoAi’s advisory board effective September and will join the company’s quarter business review and work programme this month. The former SVP for global airfreight procurement and capacity management at Ceva will provide a mentor role as the cargo booking platform continues its product development in connection with customer needs. “Our industry has specific needs and constraints in terms of digitisation and CargoAi has the intelligence to surround itself with people who have customer vision and the field experience to offer simple products to users, and above all those that meet the actual needs,” David said.
Rickenbacker named Ohio Airport of the Year
Columbus, Ohio’s Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) was named Airport of the Year at the 2021 Annual Ohio Aviation Conference. Rickenbacker was recognized for its leadership during an unpredictable year which saw record-breaking movement of PPE shipments and international cargo, as well as departures and arrivals of cargo-only passenger flights. The airport saw all-time highs for all-cargo arrivals in June 2020 with 120 flights, and again in June 2021 with 150 flights. It expects to surpass the 1,000 mark for serviced passenger freighters in September and is set to open a new cargo transfer facility for pharmaceutical products scheduled later this year.
QR Cargo receives cargo uplift award in Nepal
Qatar Airways Cargo was awarded by the Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA) for achieving the highest export tonnage out of the country for 2020 at 2,850 tonnes during the annual Nepal Cargo Day celebration organised by NEFFA on 29 July. The annual awards is held to honour the top three airlines for their roles in supporting the country’s exports, with the Doha-based carrier securing first position for more than a decade. The airline, which has been operating flights to Kathmandu since 1997, offers more than 150 tonnes of cargo capacity each week to and from Kathmandu. It estimates export market share in 2020 at 45 percent of the total exports from Nepal with imports constituting 44 percent.
IAI to establish Big Twin conversion site in Abu Dhabi
Israel-based aviation group Isreal Aerospace Industries has signed an agreement with MRO service provider Etihad Engineering to establish a passenger-to-freighter conversion site for Boeing 777-3000ER aircraft in Abu Dhabi. IAI said the new conversion centre will use the airline’s maintenance centre in Abu Dhabi, and will offer cargo configuration and MRO services, to serve the rise in demand for cargo jets of the same model. IAI said the Abu Dhabi converstion site will be the largest and most advanced in the Middle East to be certified by the UAE Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the European Aviation Safety Agency. Etihad Airways owns 19 B777-300ERs, with 10 currently in storage.
Gulf Air boosts operations with enhanced Cargospot
CHAMP Cargosystems has announced that Gulf Air has renewed the use of its Cargospot suite in a multiyear agreement, which will include the IT provider’s cargo management, handling, and revenue accounting software. The partnership will also equip Bahrain’s flag carrier with a new business intelligence tool as it deploys cargo e-booking engine Cargospot Portal. This air cargo portal will extend the services provided by Cargospot, including price availability, bookings, master/house air waybills, tracking, and other related capabilities, for Gulf Air customers.
Cainiao launches direct sea freight from China to South Korea
Cainio Network launched a direct sea freight route between China and South Korea, which will operating six times a week for consumers placing orders on AliExpress. The service allows receipt of parcels in 3 to 5 days and is expected to boost exports from both countries. Leaving the ports in China’s Shandong province, the cargo ship will arrive in South Korea within 12 hours and will reduce shipping costs by up to 30 percent, Cainiao said. The move follows a recent announcement about a mutual understanding with the private group Korea SMEs and Startup Agency (KOSME) to serve as the official logistics provider for small and mid-sized businesses in South Korea.