Q&A with Adrien Thominet CEO, ECS Group

At ECS Group, we have made significant investments and we have now created a range of products designed to boost our clients’ performance and maximize their revenue.

e-Commerce worldwide sales in 2018 grew by 18% to US$2.86 trillion with North America posting the highest growth at 15% to over US$500 million with transactions significantly done on mobile phones, studies showed.

The era of the so-called “New Retail” which integrates shopping online and offline that involves air freight, logistics and data, across a single-value chain is a phenomenon that directly impacts how airlines, freight forwarders, financial tech and the air cargo sectors do their business.

With more retailers shifting to the Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) instead of having customers download the traditional app to promote their products, e-Commerce is projected to grow even more. A

PWA is a new software development that combines regular web pages or websites with mobile apps. These hybrid PWA sites are said to be 10x faster than mobile apps and allow push notifications with AI assisting customers to vividly view what they are buying with some even having virtual reality options for select products, thus, enhancing online sales.

Air Cargo Update talks to Adrien Thominet, the CEO of ECS Group, the largest integrated GSS A worldwide, with more than 1,000 strong employees across its 69 offices in 47 countries dealing with dozens of airlines.

An economics graduate with broad international experience, the Paris-based Thominet shares his insights on e-Commerce in the air cargo industry in this Q&A.

How is eCommerce changing the air freight industry for the better as far as the GSSA industry is concerned?

It’s a crucial challenge and one that is very relevant today. For a well-structured GSSA such as ourselves, it’s a real opportunity to bring added value. Well-organized teams, a truly connected network and, of course, investments in the appropriate technological resources (developing business intelligence tools and robots) mean we can play our part in the rise of e-commerce.

At ECS Group, we have made significant investments and we have now created a range of products designed to boost our clients’ performance and maximize their revenue.

Furthermore, air freight is more expensive than other methods of transport (10 times more costly on average than sea transport) but its key asset is its faster speed. And today, companies need this quicker pace, this responsiveness, in order to remain competitive. This means that e – commerce brings three improvement focuses to the air freight industry:

In terms of volumes, how much percentage of cargo did ECS handle in 2018 involving e-Commerce?

Around 15% at the moment, but this figure looks set to grow rapidly as e-commerce is driving us to faster roll-out. E-commerce accentuates time-related challenges, and although time constraints are already central to our work as a GSSA, the growth of e-commerce makes time a crucial factor beyond the ‘borders of e-commerce’.

Which countries are you seeing steady rise on e – Commerce?

The countries where we have seen the greatest growth in e-Commerce are, for exports, the USA and China, and across Asia in general. But more broadly, this phenomenon is truly global, and countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Brazil are not far behind.

At ECS Group, we are perfectly capable of managing this fast-paced roll-out thanks to our strong global network. Our local ‘heroes’ are an essential asset: thanks to their knowledge and expertise, they are able to meet all of our clients’ needs and requirements, and help to move our industry and our processes forward.

In your opinion, what can the air cargo industry do in general to protect the interest of stakeholders in this burgeoning e – Commerce industry?

The air freight industry as a whole has to work together and create the innovative solutions of the future. Of course , this requires digital transformation, changes to our ways of working, and efforts to capitalize on the younger generations who are accustomed to new products and new ways of consuming. This is what we at ECS Group are doing through #NexGenLeaders.

But in our view, it also requires us to boost our visibility and highlight our distribution solutions (last mile delivery, for example), as well as simplifying/standardizing customs tariffs, which are a major obstacle in some regions.

Amazon has leased planes to deliver goods bought from its online stores. Do you think it’s best for some other online stores to align themselves with specific air freight carriers for e – Commerce purposes?

Amazon is not the only stakeholder in this field – Alibaba is also an important player. It is clear that we are faced with a new business model and that other major groups will follow this model if it is seen to be viable in the long-term.

This solution seems profitable at the moment because Amazon is only using it for its domestic requirements, and thus, isn’t faced with customs-related issues. However, when it comes to international flows, the same profitability can no longer be achieved. This difficulty is one that will be faced by other online stores that are interested in adopting a similar model.

As a GSSA, it is up to us to develop new services to meet new needs – and to create new needs. At ECS Group, we believe that a diverse and complementary range of solutions and business activities is the way forward. As such, while e-commerce helps to support the dynamic nature of our industry, it is only one of its components.


Blind and visually impaired passengers now get free 24/7 help at Gatwick via mobile phone camera

WEST SUSSEX: Blind and visually impaired passengers at Gatwick  Airport can now call a professionally trained agent 24 hours a day who  will—by using the camera on the passenger’s mobile phone guide  them through the airport, help them read documents or flight  information, shop or even find their bag on the luggage carousel.

Gatwick said the free, on demand service can be accessed through  the aira app on a smart phone. About 12,000 passengers a year  or  500 a month – notify Gatwick Airport they are blind or partially sighted.

The system is being trialed for six months at Gatwick in partnership  with the airport’s biggest airline easyJet which is helping to fund the  trial to improve accessibility for blind or partially sighted passengers.

The service, however, can be used by passengers flying with any  airline at Gatwick.

“This extremely ground-breaking technological breakthrough will  allow the partnership between easyJet and Gatwick to demonstrate, for future use across airports here and across the world, just how a simple app and addition to an iPhone or other similar technology can make such a difference,” said Lord David Blunkett, Chair of easyJet’s Special Assistance Advisory Group.

Once downloaded onto a mobile phone, the Aira system is purposely straightforward and simple to use and the trained agents can help passengers find specific airport locations such as boarding
gates, shops and restaurants – or the airport’s special assistance facilities.

“Airports are complex environments and this new system helps to give blind and visually impaired passengers more independence so they can more easily relax and enjoy their time at Gatwick,” said Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport.

Emirates SkyCargo Business with conscience

The UAE is our home market. We’ve had strong performance across all our global trade lanes. Our strategic positioning in Dubai allows us to connect to sea freight as well through Jebel Ali Port and this aspect of air-sea connectivity has also done really well. We had a solid finish for the last year with positive growth. We have a strong offering for the other markets in the GCC region with our connectivity on flights as well as trucking. One of the main verticals is the import of perishables into markets including KSA, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman and Iran.-Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President Emirates SkyCargo

Emirates SkyCargo moved close to 2.7 million tons of cargo in financial year 2018-2019, impacting the lives and livelihood of millions across continents in both developed and emerging markets, ensuring that they get the best value for their money in today’s challenging world beset with political, economic and environmental uncertainties.

With good cargo volumes mainly on perishables and pharmaceuticals, the Dubai-based air freight carrier grew its annual revenue during the period by 5% to AED13.1 billion (about USD3.6 billion) despite experiencing headwinds in the form of increasing fuel prices and currency exchange movements’ negative impact, shared Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo.

“Despite a challenging and competitive market, Emirates SkyCargo had a strong performance in the 2018/19 Financial Year. We moved close to 2.7 million tons of cargo and positively impacted the lives of millions of people globally,” said Sultan, a US-educated Emirati who has been with the company since 1990.

This year, Sultan said Emirates SkyCargo is focusing on specialized products amid increasing demand from customers to address their specific needs.

“Our success and recognition in the industry has been the result of our continuing focus on developing and refining our specialized offerings. Customers have been demanding specialized care and handling for their shipments,” Sultan explained noting that in addition to the company’s flagship Emirates Pharma, Emirates Fresh and Emirates Wheels products, it launched Emirates AOG for the rapid transportation of aircraft components and Emirates Pets for the safe and comfortable journey

(including door to door in select markets) for pets such as domestic cats and dogs. “We will continue to focus on specialized products for 2019.”

Watching Global Trends

With geopolitical conflicts directly impacting the movement of goods, businesses across many fronts, especially those in the air freight industry which accounts for a third of global trade valued at about US$6 trillion annually according to the International Aviation Transport Authority (IATA), are closely monitoring global trends.

Emirates SkyCargo is among key players in the global air cargo industry closely watching global trends, preparing to adjust its operations for any eventualities.

“For the coming year, we are closely monitoring global trends. With the outlook of trade flows being impacted between the US, China and Europe, due to the introduction of tariffs, there is no doubt that there could be an impact on cargo volumes,” Sultan explained.

“We are also closely watching developments in the European economy with Brexit and other geop olitical considerations . However , there are always opportunities we can tap,” he added. “E Commerce continues to post double digit growth, boosting production in some markets. The emergence of new markets has also resulted in some non-traditional cargo movements. We continue to analyze these trends and will react by ensuring that our capacity is best deployed where there is demand.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to step down as Tory leader on June 7 and will subsequently serve as caretaker PM until the Tories have selected her replacement by end-July.

The UK and the UE agreed to a second delay to Brexit until October 31.

If no deal is made by then, UK’s access to the European Single Aviation Market may be in peril along with other matters connected to the transportation sector like cross-border shipping, rail, trucking and even logistics.

Analysts said upon execution of Brexit without clear aviation/ transport deals with the EU, UK-licensed airlines will lose their right to fly to and from EU and between the remaining EU member states.

The heightened trade tension between the US and China , meanwhile, continues to take its toll on import and export sales volumes between the countries with consumers directly impacted on additional tariffs imposed on traded goods.

Green perishables

In 2018, Emirates SkyCargo transported about 400,000 tons of perishables, 40 percent of which are vegetables and fruits, and 30 percent meat and seafood, with the world demanding all sorts of cuisines and ingredients sourced from all corners of the planet.

“In today’s connected world, people are becoming increasingly familiar with cuisines and ingredients from other countries and regions. This is helped by popular culture including TV shows as well as more international travel. Over the years, this familiarity has led to an increasing demand to transport food and other related perishable items across the world,” Sultan said.

“Air Cargo is able to fulfill this need because of the ability to transport goods rapidly . So fruits and vegetables, loaded after harvesting, can remain fresh even as they arrive at their destination,” he added.

Emirates SkyCargo’s wide route network spanning six continents adequately meet the global demand for food from all corners of the world.

“ The largest segment of perishables that we carry tends to be fruits and vegetables accounting for over 40% of all perishable cargo that we transport. We see large volumes of fruits and vegetables being transported from Africa (Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa), South Asia (India, Sri Lanka), South East Asia and Australia,” Sultan explained.

“Meat and seafood form about a third of the total volume of perishables transported. Major export markets for meat tend to be Australasia, South Asia and Africa and for sea food some of the major export

markets include Norway, Chile Sri Lanka and South Africa. The Middle East market is a major consumer of meat and sea food,” he added.

From Kenya in Africa and Equador in Latin America, Emirates SkyCargo, hauls tons of fresh cut flowers directly to Amsterdam, the site of the world’s largest flower auction market.

India: The Gulf’s food source

Geographically close to the Gulf, India’s rich and abundant agricultural landscape has always been a top source of food imports for many countries in the Middle East which was complemented with the presence of millions of Indian migrants in the region.

“India is an important market for Emirates SkyCargo. With more than 170 weekly flights to nine stations in the country, we facilitate an important volume of trade to and from the country including the export of pharma and perishables,” said Sultan.

Every month, the freight carrier transports between 4,000 to 5,000 tons of perishables from India to other parts of its route network. Last year, the Indian perishables it moved totaled close to 53,000.

Mangoes are among India’s top seasonal commodity while vegetables that grow all-year-round like Okra, chillies, ginger, among many others, are regularly transported to the region and elsewhere.

“Mangoes are an important seasonal commodity that we help export from India, particularly Mumbai and Ahmedabad, to the Middle East, Europe (especially UK) and the US. But other than mangoes there are important quantities of other Indian fruits and vegetables that are exported to the Middle East and other markets where there is a considerable presence of Indian diaspora. Fruits and vegetables transported include Okra, drumsticks, green chillies, gourds, ginger, mushrooms, papaya, guavas and so on,” said Sultan.

The volume of food cargo sourced from India rises depending whenever any major religious festival is observed in various communities.

“In terms of seasonality, we see a rise in exports of perishables to the Middle East during Ramadan and a spike in exports of fruits and vegetables around Indian festivals to the Middle East—especially Vishu and Onam, which are important events for expats from Kerala settled in the region,” Sultan explained.

Perishables: Our specialty

Transporting millions of kilos of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, Emirates SkyCargo is renowned for keeping them in their natural state  with sophisticated storage facilities on land and on air as well as expert handlers in the industry.

Sultan said Emirates Fresh, launched in 2017, is the company’s answer to address the requirements of their global customers in transporting fruits, vegetables and other perishable cargo.

“We have three tiers to this product offering. Emirates Fresh is the basic offering which is used for transporting perishables with a fairly high level of temperature tolerance. The Emirates Fresh Breathe product predominantly caters to delicate perishables such as cut flowers, bouquets, cut fruits and vegetables. The cargo gets temperature controlled and prioritized ground handling,” he said.

Emirates Fresh Active is the company’s dedicated product to high-value perishables like fine wines, cheese, caviar, etc.

“Emirates Fresh Active is a very specific product and meant for the crème da la crème high – end perishables such as fine wines and cheese, caviar, high end fruits and frozen goods that cannot withstand any deviation in temperature. We use temperature controlled containers to ensure that we do not compromise product integrity,” Sultan explained.

These specialized products are complemented by the company’s state-of-the-art facilities at its cargo terminals at DXB and DWC in addition to supporting products such as the White Cover range of thermal blankets and the Emirates Fresh Ventilated Cool Dolly which are important top reserving the freshness of the perishables being transported.

Global leader on pharma

A global leader in transporting pharmaceutical products across the world, Emirates SkyCargo moved over 73,000 tons of pharma across its network in 2018—reflecting a double-digit growth compared to its previous record year-on-year.

“We transport a wide range of pharmaceutical products from  generics and vaccines to oncology medication. Over the years, the sophistication of the pharma cargo we transport has increased and so has the specialisation of the services we provide,” said Sultan.

The company’s three – tiered offering for global pharma customers, Emirates Pharma, first launched in 2016, is highly regarded for its innovative solutions to preserve the medical or biosciences being transported.

“Emirates Pharma Plus is ideal for high value pharmaceuticals with a thermal cover that can withstand minor temperature fluctuations during handling and transportation and Emirates Pharma Active works best for high value pharmaceuticals that are extremely temperature and time sensitive, and need to be transported in active containers,” said Sultan.

“We continue to experience a strong double digit rate of growth in the volume of pharmaceuticals that we transport. The growth in the first four months of this year has so far been robust and we do not expect any change in the upward trend in the  volume of pharmaceuticals transported,” he added.

Emirates SkyCargo has more than 8,000 sqm of dedicated pharma handling spaces across its two cargo terminals in Dubai. Both are certified as compliant to EU GDP standards.

Additionally, the company has trucking service between Emirates SkyCentral DXB, its terminal for handling cargo from passenger aircraft and Emirates SkyCentral DWC, its terminal for handling cargo from freighter aircraft that runs 24/7.

“We have a fleet of 49 trucks and there are also 12 dedicated reefer trucks making sure that the cool
chain is not broken when the cargo is being transferred from our passenger to freighter aircraft or vice versa. We have streamlined our processes to an extent where we are
able to deliver a transit time of just 4.5 hours between the arrival of goods on freighter aircraft to their departure from passenger aircraft and the other way around,” said Sultan.

“The trucks almost act as a seamless conveyer belt in transporting pharma cargo between the two airports. In addition, we have invested in developing additional equipment and initiatives to ensure that pharmaceutical cargo is transported safely and securely through our hub and aircraft,” he added.

‘There is a strong ethical value to our business’

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this segment, Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo, talks about the human side of the air cargo industry, making sure that people’s personal belongings—medications, high-value cars or art pieces, to cherished pets, among others—move without delay or damage. And ensuring that what may be left behind is taken care of. Indeed, it’s a unique business that requires skills, resources, efficient systems and a lot of ethics.

he air cargo industry is Tindeed very unique. We play an important role in the facilitation of international trade and air cargo is an important vehicle that has a direct impact on a nation’s economic development and GDP. Countries and exporters rely on us to offer them robust capacity to support their exports in a timely manner as this has a strong impact on trade and livelihoods.

By itself air cargo is fairly different from the passenger side of aviation. Whereas, customers are able to manage by themselves for processes such as transfer within the airport, boarding and so on; for air cargo you really require a seamless process in the background for the shipment to move from one end to another.

It requires close monitoring and a granular attention to detail to make sure that the cargo moves without damage or delay. Some of the cargo we transport such as perishables or temperature sensitive pharma need to be moved within a specific time frame.

Also much of the cargo that we move could hold a strong personal significance to our customers. Whether this is lifesaving medication, cherished pets such as cats or dogs, beloved possessions such as cars, personal effects or artwork there is a strong connection on a personal effect to cargo that travels on our aircraft and this means that we have to doubly vigilant that our processes are fail proof.

There is a strong ethical value to our business. And this ultimately leads me to the question of how I begin my day.

The first part of my day involves looking at what didn’t work the previous day. Were there any shipments that were left behind? What issues did we face as a team? What worked and what didn’t? Our daily operational meeting at 7.30am is a time for me to regroup with the team and to dissect the results of the previous day.

The key priority for us, of course, is to make sure that anything that went wrong, for example shipments that  missed their milestones, are immediately given attention and steps taken to rectify the status.

We look at all aspects of the process including making sure that we are transparent with our customer in communicating to them and giving a complete status report on when they can expect the shipment, the recovery and rebooking details, time of arrival at the final destination.

Ultimately customer satisfaction and customer trust is what drives our business forward and it is very important that we do not lose this. I place a high importance in reacting immediately to make sure that the customer is kept abreast of all details.

Once the key priority operational issues from the previous day have been looked into, the rest of my day is devoted to strategy and analysis. We need to monitor industry trends, analyze how well our capacity has been utilized across our global operations spanning more than 155 destinations across six continents and making decisions based on this data.

Keeping an eye to future developments is also an important part of my role, looking into how better we can serve our customers going forward.

The rest of the day is taken up by looking at our performance and market information in granular detail, understanding potential gaps or red flags and working with our diverse and talented team to ensure that we exceed customer expectations with our world class service.

British entrepreneur gets into acting and voiceover

Former British military officer turned entrepreneur Gregory Gottlieb wears many hats—he’s a soldier, a professional skydiver, a private pilot, an author, a speaker, a moderator, a business executive and most recently, an actor and voiceover talent for TV commercials.

His face and voice had appeared on many TV commercials shot in Dubai and aired across the Middle East, inspiring him to try his luck even on movies.

“I enjoy acting because you meet a lot of interesting people. It’s quite fun,” Gottlieb who studied at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham and Goldsmiths University of London told Air Cargo Update. “I have also auditioned for a couple of movies.”

While in the British military, Gottlieb recalled he would, from time to time, command the Changing of Guards at the Buckingham Palace where about 5,000 people at any given day watch in awe the ceremony.

Gottlieb described that spontaneous live act as the beginning of his interest to perform and get into acting which he made possible late in life.

“I’m doing quite a lot of acting, TV commercials and voiceovers,” Gottlieb happily shared.

His 20-year-career in the British Army culminated in 1998 as the UK Ministry of Defence Officer responsible for all CT & SF aviation equipment requirements.

From the military, Gottlieb leaped into the corporate world of aerospace and defense, taking up a senior management role with a German group of companies in aerospace and logistics before moving to the Middle East  where he had been based for more than a decade now.

In the Middle East, Gottlieb worked as program manager for some of the best firms in aerospace and defense like the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment, LLC (ADASI), a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government’s business entity Tawazun and the Prince Sultan Advanced Tech Research Institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia before embarking on his own independent consultancy firm where he provided technical and managerial support to government agencies and commercial enterprises in the US and the UK, including the provision of specialist third-party engineering services.

Gottlieb is today the founder and managing director of Airships Arabia, a Dubai-based startup offering consultancy services to government and commercial clients on aviation, logistics and general management with emphasis on airships, hybrids and aerostats.

Formed in 2016, the company’s interest extends across the Middle East with offices in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, aiming to eventually engage into airship operations, maintenance, repair, overhaul, and crew training enterprise in its own right, with focus on hybrid airships.

While success has come his way many times, Gottlieb remains grounded and firm in believing that it’s best to spread kindness and peace no matter what your status in life is.

“To manage and control our life, we have to go with the flow. Always be kind to people and avoid conflict at all costs,” said Gottlieb. “I became a soldier at age 18 because I believe in peace.”

New Quester The truck with Smart Logis

Japanese commercial vehicle maker UD Trucks unveiled in April in the MEENA region its new truck model which enables big savings through enhanced fuel efficiency, productivity and connectivity features


Fuel efficiency, battle for talent, productivity and connectivity are top priorities for fleets and transport companies all over the world.

UD Trucks, a leading Japanese commercial vehicle solutions provider since 1935 and a proud member of the Volvo Group currently active in more than 60 countries on all continents, says these challenges will be addressed in enhanced time-tested features known as ESCOT (Easy Safe Controlled Transmission) and UD Telematics embedded in its latest truck model, the New Quester.

First rolled out in January 2019 in Thailand, the UD Trucks export hub to growth markets in Southeast Asia, the New Quester was introduced to the Middle East, East and North Africa (MEENA) region in April. The same will be introduced in other fast-growing regions across the world in the coming months.

“We recognize immense potential in fast-growing markets such as Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America where business success is a key contributor to economic progress. Combined with our Ultimate Dependability standard and Gemba spirit, New Quester marks our commitment to continue championing Smart Logistics and providing unmatched value to our customers in these regions,” said Jacques Michel, President, Volvo Group Trucks Asia

Following the respective market launches, New Quester’s driving adventure film series filmed around the world will showcase how the truck supports businesses in tackling actual, market-specific challenges faced by truck companies in fast-growing regions around the world.

The Smart Logistics Truck

UD Trucks said the new version of the brand’s well-established heavy  duty truck introduces a range of enhancements that will enable logistics companies across the region to tackle critical industry challenges and boost their bottom line through Smart Logistics.

Building on proven robustness and  reliability,  New  Quester introduces key features such as ESCOT automated m a n u a l transmission, engines with higher horsepower and user-friendly telematics to deliver greater fuel efficiency, productivity, driver efficiency, safety and uptime.

“The truck industry in the region is changing rapidly and customers are increasingly conscious of the total cost of ownership. With New Quester we have the ideal product to address these needs. Moreover, New Quester combines the best of three worlds: UD Trucks’ strong Japanese heritage and craftsmanship; Volvo Group’s innovative technology; and our strong local support for our valued customers, which we callour Gemba spirit,” said Mourad Hedna, President of UD Trucks MEENA.

“ We  are  humbled  by  the tremendous confidence and recognition that the Quester line has earned. With New Quester, we are looking forward to carrying on this legacy of being the truck brand that our customers want to partner with,” he added.

Better productivity and profitability

UD Trucks says the New Quester aims to boost productivity and profitability for business owners and logistics companies, for whom a rise in fuel costs consequently increases operating costs . It delivers enhanced fuel efficiency of up to 10 percent over the current Quester.

This is aided by the ESCOT automated manual transmission, lighter tare weight and optimized driveline, and is also affected by the operating conditions, driving behavior and vehicle maintenance.

ESCOT includes software which optimizes gear shifting according to the engine revs, vehicle speed, loading weight and even road gradient. The smart system also includes a sensor that will select the optimum gear automatically instead of assuming a first gear selection.

New Quester’s enhanced fuel performance also aligns with the increasing global focus on curbing fuel consumption and meeting environmentally – friendly regulations in relation to emissions quality standards, all of which effectively reduces the new model’s overall carbon footprint.

More driver-friendly features

A game changer in the transportation business, New Quester with ESCOT automatically selects the optimal gear at the right time based on the operating condition.

This takes away the need for manual gear shifting which, depending on the transportation operations, happens 1,000 to 1,500 times a day.ESCOT’sautomated gear selection also enables drivers to easily adaptto operating New Quester and better focus on driving with ease.

In addition to making driving simple, New Quester also aims to help businesses expand the pool of driving talent with an easy-to-operate gear lever that uses a straight shifting pattern. In certain target markets, for example, the number of female Quester drivers is increasing due to its drivability.

New Quester opens the doors for companies to attract even more prospects to pursue truck driving as a career and diversify the pool of talent for this role. This increases overall drivability and safety for drivers with features that focus on increasing drivers’ comfort levels and reducing driver fatigue.


Driver fatigue continues to be a serious industry challenge , contributing to up to 20 percent of road accidents in the world. To address this, New Quester is developed with an air suspended cab and ride comfort package which reduces cab vibrations by up to 18 percent. Driver comfort is also enhanced by the ergonomic seats and lumbar support for long-distance assignments.

Boosting business growth

In line with elevating business success through Smart Logistics, New Quester supports effective fleet management and driver performance with innovative customer telematics such as real-t i m e vehicle tracking and geofencing for better fleet visibility and optimization.

Such smart connectivity features support the increasing trend of new logistics delivery solutions that are offered by technology and local start-up companies in, for example, the Middle East.

New Quester trucks are equipped with UD Telematics, which make it possible to connect directly to UD Trucks workshops to monitor and detect each vehicle’s condition and service needs before a potential

emergency occurs. Preventive maintenance analysis guides customers via monthly driving behavior and fuel consumption reports, ensuring higher uptime and optimized fuel economy over time.

Owners of New Quester will also enjoy increased uptime, with the clutch life span being 2.5 to 3 times longer when equipped with an ESCOT automated manual transmission as compared to a manual clutch, depending on operating conditions, driving behavior and vehicle maintenance, UD Trucks noted.

Built to deliver UD Trucks’ ethos of “Ultimate Dependability”, New Quester increases uptime through UD Extra Mile Support, which has proved popular with customers across MEENA, the company said.

Offering an extensive network of well-trained service technicians, it provides quality aftersales service with genuine parts , service planning and vehicle handover training that optimizes fleet performance, it added.

The MEENA region is one of the most dynamic in the world with diverse economies marked with steady growth in construction, tourism, mining, real estate, logistics, maritime, among many other industries that require dependable mode of transportation.

AISATS Coolport: India’s first integrated on-airport perishable cargo handling center

Seeing 100 percent import cargo volumes increase and receiving shipments from 1,000-odd trucks from other cities in India, the Kempegowda International Airport is also expanding its logistics facilities, setting up a 5-acre truck parking area with amenities for food & beverage outlets, service and fuel stations.

The  Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, owned and operated  by  Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), is among the world’s fastest growing airports with state-of-the-art facilities for both passengers and cargo.

And it is not stopping at that. The airport has undertaken a massive Rs. 13,000 crore (about US$1.864 billion) capacity expansion to cater to the long-term demands of the growing aviation market in India.

Its growth has been stupendous. By the end of financial year 2018-2019, the airport registered a record 33.30 million passengers. It undoubtedly plays a key role in driving the economy of the region – offering a wide air-route network – with over 37 passenger airlines and 15 cargo airlines operating from its zone.

Its cargo throughput saw a sharp increase of 11 percent, handling 386,780 metric tons (MT), including 242,650 MT international cargo. Cargo volumes were up from 348,403 MT in 2017-18. Air traffic movements (ATMs) increased by 21.8 percent with a total of 240,251 landing and take-offs, with the average ATMs per day for the year being 658. Airport authorities are constantly working on various projects to keep on benchmarking the facilities.

AISATS Coolport

One such is the AISATS Coolport (Air India and SATS Limited joint venture) which has come as a boon to exporters and importers of pharma, perishables and other temperature-sensitive items.

Thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities it offers, the catchment region is fast expanding. There is considerable movement of perishables from not just the catchment radius of 250 km, but beyond.

There are some exporters from Vishakapatnam, Hyderabad, etc., which are often trucking it to AISATS Coolport and to destinations beyond. It has the largest air cargo terminal handling capacity in South India and the average distance by road is 9 hours from manufacturing clusters.

AISATS, which started comprehensive ground and cargo handling services here in 2008, has been growing from strength to strength.

In order to cater to the burgeoning demand for perishable cargo, AISATS launched the ‘Coolport’— India’s first integrated on-airport perishable cargo handling center.

AISATS Coolport is a one-stop shop comprising regulatory offices such as Customs Clearances; State-of-the-art Drug Controller laboratory; Plant quarantine inspection and certification office. Earlier, exporters and importers had to shuttle between the city and the airport to get clearances, now all that happens within the airport, thus, truly facilitating ‘ease of business’.

Thanks to its facilities, AISATS Coolport has already notched up substantial business and has capacities for more. In 2018-19, it had handled around 23,000 tons of cargo, compared to 17,000 tons the previous year, registering overall year-on-year growth rate of 35 %.

The growth has been across all types of cargo – perishable moved from 12,000 tons to 17,000 tons (42 % growth); pharma up from 3,000 tons to 3,550 tons (18% growth); cut flowers 1,500 tons to 2,000 tons (33%).

During Valentine season in February this year, the facility alone handled 180 tons of flowers, mostly to Europe. Last summer, it exported 195 tons of mangoes. The other special products it has handled include – 700 tons of hatching eggs; 30 tons of food items such as Oreo biscuits, chocolates, paneer, etc.

Imports include over 30 tons of Atlantic Salmon which is finding its way into speciality restaurants in the city. Similarly, it has been handling Special Mochiice – creams from Thailand.

“This essentially means that the required temperature for certain pharmaceutical vaccines and medicines is maintained not only in storage, but also in the pre-loading area, right up to the time the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft. Of late, we have had exporters from the pharmaceutical industry in Goa and Vishakapatnam use our facilities, besides several other places from South India. We are seeing a growth on the biotech front. Though the volumes are small, that segment is seeing a steady growth rate,” he added.

The airport’s Drug Controller lab incidentally is only the second and the largest such facility in India. Testing of all export and import of pharmaceuticals that is required by Customs is done at the airport itself.

The top 12 countries where Indian pharmaceuticals are exported to the tune of 70 % are USA; UK; Australia; Canada; France; Vietnam; Philippines; Germany; Nigeria; Algeria; Uganda; and Russia.

World-class air cargo solutions

With such facilities and benchmarking, the Kempegowda International Airport is providing consistent and reliable world-class air cargo solutions with focus on the needs of customers.

It has one of the most mechanized cargo terminals in the country, which includes automated storage & retrieval system (ASRS); elevated transfer vehicle (ETV); very narrow aisle trucks (VNA); high rise racking; lift and run system (ULD movement); reach stackers with bar code readers, and handheld devices.

Realising the importance of trade in the region, the airport is connected to 79 destinations (50 domestic an 29 international). The 15 dedicated freighters— AeroLogic, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Ethiopian, Fedex, Uni-top, Lufthansa, MAS Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Singapore Airlines, DHL, Turkish Emirates, Blue Dart, and SpiceXpress have been doing substantial business from here.

AISATS Coolport features include:

The BIAL, along with its cargo custodians Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS) and Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore Private Limited (MABB), has capacity of handling 70,000 MT annual perishable cargo. Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore Pvt. Ltd also has a cold zone.

Pharma Exports on the rise Pharma exports accounts for more than 7% of total exports from here of which 2% is temperature controlled pharmaceutical. They have been growing at a steady growth of 25%.

“From an IATA perspective, cold chain pharma is expected to be worth around $415 billion annually. According to them, 20% to 25% of products shipped are degraded due to incorrect shipping process and flawed cold chain. The biggest value-add we provide our customers at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru is that there is no temperature deviation in our coolport facility,” Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development Officer, Bangalore International Airport Limited, told Air Cargo Update.

“This essentially means that the required temperature for certain pharmaceutical vaccines and medicines is maintained not only in storage, but also in the pre-loading area, right up to the time the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft. Of late, we have had exporters from the pharmaceutical industry in Goa and Vishakapatnam use our facilities, besides several other places from South India. We are seeing a growth on the biotech front. Though the volumes are small, that segment is seeing a steady growth rate,” he added.

The airport’s Drug Controller lab incidentally is only the second and the largest such facility in India. Testing of all export and import of pharmaceuticals that is required by Customs is done at the airport itself.

The top 12 countries where Indian pharmaceuticals are exported to the tune of 70 % are USA; UK; Australia; Canada; France; Vietnam; Philippines; Germany; Nigeria; Algeria; Uganda; and Russia.

“We are the first airport in South India to house a fully operational Drug Control Lab, which incidentally is only the second and the largest such facility in the Country. Testing of all export &import of pharma-ceuticals that is required by customs, is therefore done at the Cargo Terminal itself. In addition, the Coolport has also been awarded the Group Distribution Practices Certification for WHO-mandated standards,” Raghunath explained.

“Our Drug Control Lab is now fully operational and our clients need not go to a city laboratory for the testing required by customs. This has enabled shippers considerable savings in transportation cost and time. Historically, raw material used to be imported to Mumbai and then ferried by road to Bengaluru. We are witnessing a 100 percent growth in import volumes with cargo now being sent directly to Bengaluru as it saves importers a huge amount of transaction cost,” he noted.

BIAL’s vision

BIAL’s vision is to make the airport a successful passenger and cargo hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure and technological advancements that deliver efficient airport operations.

To boost the cargo movement, BIAL has strengthened the connectivity to catchme t areas, with the introduction of a dedicated road feeder service – under the brand name LOGI Connect connecting Tirupur, Coimbatore and Ambur to the airport. All this has given an upper – edge in establishing Bengaluru as a cargo hub for South India. The airport aims to be hub for cargo traffic and shippers aspiring to reach this fast-growing region.

BIAL is in the process of setting up a 5-acre truck parking facility spread. It  will have amenities like food & beverage outlets, service and fuel stations. On average, the airport receives shipments from 1,000-odd trucks, including from other cities like Hyderabad, Tirpur & Visakhapatnam.

BIAL has invested substantially to develop a world – class cargo infrastructure with state-of-the-art Cargo terminals for faster turnaround. The current design capacity of the combined cargo terminals is 5,70,000 MT, catering to both international & domestic traffic. There is scope to further expand capacity up to 8,50,000 metric tons.

Currently, Air India SATS Airport Services and Menzies Aviation Bobba are the two cargo terminal operators. The master plan of the airport has incorporated additional space for the development and building of an integrated air cargo and logistics hub in future.

LATAM Cargo signs Master Lease Agreement with CSafe Global

LATAM Cargo has signed a Master Lease Agreement with CSafe Global, making RAP and RKN active containers available to customers shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.

The active temperature-controlled containers offer the industry’s longest battery run times and ambient temperature ranges of -30C to +54C for the RAP and -30C to +49C for the RKN.

CSafe’s system design combines advanced compressor-driven cooling technologies with VIP insulation to regulate payload temperatures for up to four US pallets of pharmaceutical products.

The active containers have approvals to fly on both upper and lower decks of aircraft.

Rodolfo Marré, product development senior manager for LATAM Cargo says, “We understand that minimal deviation from the defined temperature ranges can greatly affect the quality of the products and that is why we are constantly evaluating new options for our Clients. CSafe containers offer cutting-edge technology that will continue to strengthen our PHARMA ACTIVE Product.”

Brad Jennings, vice president of global marketing and partner alliances for CSafe Global says, “With a comprehensive cargo network serving key markets in the Latin American region, and a robust CEIV pharma programme, we look forward to a very fruitful collaboration with LATAM Cargo as we collectively strive to best serve pharma companies seeking that ultimate peace of mind when transporting invaluable life-enhancing medications to their patients in the increasingly important pharma market across Latin America.”

MASkargo re-launches flights to Guangzhou to take advantage of e-commerce boom in the region

MASkargo recently re-launched freighter flights between Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou to take advantage of the e-commerce boom in both regions.

The first Kuala Lumpur – Guangzhou service commenced on 4 June and will fly until December 2019, operating on day 2 and 5, departing Kuala Lumpur at 22.10 and arriving in Guangzhou at 02.15 the next day.

An Airbus A330-200F with 60 tons of capacity is used on the route.

The Kuala Lumpur – Guangzhou freighter service supports belly service that operate to 10 points in China, paving the way for more e-commerce movements.

Tigers to provide logistical support in China

Tigers is working with K&N Filters, a high-performance automotive air filter and air filtration manufacturer, which is expanding operations in China, the world’s largest automotive market.

Hong Kong-based Tigers is providing logistical support through its Chinese network of offices and facilities to USA-based K&N Filters as they grow their presence in the region.

“Working closely with international brands like K&N Filters as a strategic logistics partner is always a pleasure for Tigers as we are specialised in global logistics and supply chain solutions,” said Laura Crow, Managing Director – China, Tigers.

“China is a very strong market for Tigers and we are working with K&N Filters by fulfilling both its B2B and B2C orders in the region, providing marketing and trading services, as well as offering our specialist local knowledge.”

As part of K&N Filters expansion plans in China, the manufacturer recently launched the ‘Revolution. Powering the Future’ strategy conference in Chengdu, China, to showcase the brand and product solutions to the Chinese market.


Unilode opens new ULD unit in China

Unilode Aviation Solutions has opened a new unit load device (ULD) and galley cart repair center in Hong Kong.

The repair center has an area of around 3,000 sq m and will employ up to 30 repair technicians, who will carry out ULD repairs, ULD assembly, pallet net repair and inflight equipment maintenance and repair services.

The facility will also be used as a storage centre for Unilode’s newly launched ULD leasing solutions as a logistics, storage and repair centre for Envirotainer.

Certificates from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency are expected to be received in the coming weeks.

Benoît Dumont, CEO of Unilode says that as the largest cargo airport in the world, it made sense for Unilode to establish a repair centre in Hong Kong.

He says: “This new location will allow us to strengthen our partnership with Envirotainer, the global leader in cool containers, and expand the storage network for Unilode’s new short- and medium-term ULD leasing services. Our customer base will continue to expand in the Asia Pacific region and we look forward to adding further locations to our network.”