Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has thrown its weight behind ULD CARE’s new Unit Load Device (ULD) Code of Conduct by signing up to the new 10-point code.
The Code of Conduct is a voluntary agreement promoting best practice in the handling of ULDs, and represents a benchmark for their safe and efficient operation on the ground and in flight.
The Code’s primary aim is to reduce avoidable damage and loss of ULDs throughout the supply chain. A number of airlines, handlers, forwarders and ULD suppliers have already signed up to the code.
Hactl signed the Code of Conduct agreement at IATA’s International Ground Handling Conference in Madrid last month; it is the first Hong Kong organisation to do so.
Hactl chief executive, Wilson Kwong said: “The ULD is fundamental to the modern air cargo industry; but it’s an everyday item that we all take for granted, and which many do not treat with the necessary care and respect.”
Hactl is one of the largest handlers of ULDs in the world: in 2018 it processed 1.14 million units. Hactl operates within its own strict set of ULD handling procedures, and provides thorough staff training. It uses its COSAC-Plus system to manage its customers’ ULD inventory and provide realtime status information that includes photographic images of all equipment.
Kwong added: “Damaged ULDs represent a colossal bill for the industry every year. In extreme cases, they can also reduce protection for cargo, and cause localised equipment shortages that disrupt schedules and impair flown-as-booked performance.
“We congratulate ULD CARE on recognising this problem, and launching a simple but effective initiative that should help to mitigate the problem through heightened awareness.”
There are some 900,000 ULDs in circulation worldwide, with a replacement value of around US$1 billion. Repairs cost the industry around $300 million every year, while some five per cent of the global ULD inventory (45,000 units, worth $50 million) go missing.
ULD CARE vice president, Bob Rogers said: “Codes of conduct are not commonly found in aviation, as civil aviation regulations generally set the required standards. However, when it comes to ULDs, many ground operations take place outside the regulated framework, which is why we believe there is a need for supplementary guidance in the form of our new Code of Conduct.
“The Code is derived from the IATA ULD Regulations and, when integrated with other ULD CARE solutions, it places a firm foundation under ULD operations – whether in an airport terminal or on the ramp, or off airport at a freight forwarder’s or shipper’s premises.”
He added: “We are delighted to have a handler of Hactl’s stature signing up to the Code. While they clearly don’t need any additional guidance on ULD operations, their support for the Code is an invaluable endorsement from an industry leader, and assists in spreading the important message that we must take greater care of this vital industry asset.”