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Autumn 2021

issue 35

After navigating last year’s extraordinary challenges, air freight and the entire logistics sector and its customers have continued to battle this year with a further set of unprecedented circumstances.
For those with still-collapsed passenger-related businesses, the challenges may still be existential. For freighter specialists, it may mean coping with rapid growth and volatility. And customers and supply chains face different, major issues. As Kuehne + Nagel’s Frank Sumerler observes on page 32: “We have had crises before, but never before both sea freight and air freight at the same time… for a sustained period.”
With the return of long haul widebody passenger services to pre-pandemic levels still some way away, Sumerler expects forwarders will continue relying on freighter capacity much more than pre-pandemic for the foreseeable future – and for the trend among forwarders to build their own-controlled freighter capacity networks to continue.

It seems this winter’s peak season is going to be a particularly severe bunfight, with most scheduled and charter capacity booked well in advance, and Covid-related shutdowns adding to the complexity, volatility, and crunch on capacity. ACL Airshop’s Steve Townes offers some tips on page 30 on managing a super-peak.

Meanwhile, air freight continues to play a vital role distributing vaccines and other key products globally. Leading pharma logistics players have been learning lessons triggered by the pandemic, and its ‘accelerator effect’ in certain areas (page 38). The rising collaboration between stakeholders in some cargo communities and organisations like Pharma.Aero are impressive examples.

Many see the work being done via leading airport cargo communities, systems and platforms as game-changing, (page 18) with the arrival of cloud-based technology supporting a new breed of collaborative ecosystems offering the potential to significantly improve transparency and efficiency of cargo processes and resources. Frontrunners are beginning to see some benefits of this.

And as Menzies’ Rory Fidler points out in the Handling Technology article on page 4, as the flow of data between handlers, airlines and forwarders improves, airlines and forwarders “are getting to the point of shedding the paranoia about sharing the air waybill data on a platform”.

This seems to be key to accelerating change management via new technology: once people see the benefits outweigh the risks of sharing data, they come on board. As many of us have in sharing our personal data with the likes of Google, Amazon and various social media and networking platforms. Up to a point!

And as GSSAs have found (page 10), we don’t need to see automation technology as a threat , even if it replaces some of what we do. Despite airlines’ growing use of digital sales and booking platforms, sales is just a small part of a GSSA’s role. And GSSAs are continuing to see strong growth, as carriers seek to outsource ever more of their cargo functions. They just may spend a bit less time emailing rates sheets – or faxing them…

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Take A Peek

Featured in this issue

  • Technology breakthrough

    With digital cargo data becoming increasingly available from multiple sources, handlers and their customers are beginning to see the benefits of greater visibility and the ability to analyse and impro...

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  • Going far beyond selling

    Despite airlines’ growing use of digital booking platforms, GSSAs are unconcerned and seeing continuing strong growth in carriers seeking to outsource cargo sales and services, reports Ian Putzger ...

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  • Waking up to the potential

    Airport cargo communities and systems have evolved significantly as new technology has developed, with the arrival of cloud-based technology supporting a new breed of platforms. And developments have ...

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  • Managing a super-peak: Perspectives from the CEO of a strategic supplier

    This year’s peak season will be a monumental challenge unlike any other, believes ACL Airshop’s Steve Townes. But it’s also an opportunity for strong companies to excel, with the right attitude....

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  • The right kind of space

    Frank Sumerler, Kuehne + Nagel’s SVP for air logistics development, believes the rise in freight forwarders building their own-controlled freighter capacity networks will continue in the post-pandem...

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  • Adapting to a new world

    After successfully managing the huge challenge of keeping PPE, Covid vaccines and other goods flowing, air freight’s pharma logistics leaders are building on any lessons and ‘accelerator’ effect...

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  • Carriers’ challenges

    Like many airlines, Korean Air Cargo notes that the pandemic resulted in the carrier seeing considerable volumes of Covid-related air cargo demand, including test kits, medical supplies, protective ge...

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  • Next-generation digital transformation

    CAAS talks to Bernd Struck, senior vice president for UAE Cargo and DWC Airline Services at Dnata, about recent industry developments and local and global initiatives by the Dubai-headquartered handle...

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  • Onwards and upwards

    Germany’s Leipzig/Halle Airport has prospered despite – and to some extent because of – the Covid-19 pandemic, boosted by booming demand for all-cargo flights and LEJ’s express and e-commerce ...

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