DB Schenker has acquired logistics software provider Bitergo to strengthen its digital strategy and move towards cloud-based software for small and medium-sized customers.
The Germany-based companies worked closely together for three years prior to the takeover on in May.
Bitergo will continue to serve external customers as an independent entity.
The partnership with DB Schenker is expected to help push Bitergo’s solutions to the market, develop new solutions more quickly and open international markets.
Christa Koenen, chief information officer/chief development officer at Schenker AG, said, “For us, Bitergo is an ideal partner that we are happy to integrate into our vision of managing the supply chain digitally and end-to-end in the future.
“The European market for software-as-a-service providers in logistics is highly fragmented and does not meet the requirements of all players. Furthermore, competitors have very different backgrounds, core competencies, and value propositions. This cooperation creates great synergies: DB Schenker brings the global network as well as the long-standing competence in logistics and technology. Bitergo brings experience, expertise, and a great vision.”
Andreas Trautmann, managing director of Bitergo, said, “DB Schenker is our preferred partner. As a global player, the logistic service provider offers us an ideal new home to continue Bitergo’s positive development in recent years. For our employees, in particular, the takeover is the best outcome for the company. We can now strengthen our portfolio together and work on Bitergo’s continued growth.”
The truck, that would go on to define the global trucking industry was sold weeks later to the British Motor Syndicate, a London-based automobile company, and the rest is history.
It’s been 125 years since Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, a German engineer and industrialist, introduced the world’s first truck at the end of the 19th century.
In what was quickly recognized as a standout moment for the automotive industry, Daimler, one of the two founders of Daimler-Benz AG (the other being Carl Benz), unveiled his invention in 1896.
The three-pointed-star is testament of the brand Mercedes-Benz as the most famous brand of the former Daimler-Benz AG.
A triumph of engineering, the truck known as the Phoenix had a four-horsepower strong, two-cylinder engine which linked to the rear axle by a belt. Protected by helical springs, this engine was somewhat sensitive to vibrations (not least because the vehicle ran on hard iron wheels). The driver meanwhile was positioned up front on a bench seat and used a large wheel mounted on a vertical column to steer.
The truck, that would go on to define the global trucking industry was sold weeks later to the British Motor Syndicate, a London-based
automobile company, and the rest is history.
To add to what is already a landmark year, it is a quarter of a century since the company honoured the centenary of the Phoenix by launching the pioneering Mercedes-Benz Actros (the first truck of its kind with components entirely controlled by a CAN-BUS system and electronic brake system).
General cargo transport
The new trucks were not only used for general cargo transport but were also quickly discovered by tradesmen and builders for transporting tools and building material. In 1897, just one year after Daimler invented the truck, Daimler-Motor e n g e s e l l s c h a f t ( Daimler Motor Corporation) was able to showcase a vehicle with a payload of five metric tons. The new 5-ton truck was used for the first time to transport building materials, as Daimler personally carried out the test drives at a roof tile factory.
The introduction of so-called winched tippers in 1904 paved the way for heavy bulk cargo transport: A loading bridge could be raised on one side using a crank and rack. Only two people were able to handle five tons of cargo with a corresponding transmission of the crank using only two winches per truck.
This procedure remained state-of-the-art until the 1920s, when the hydraulic tipper press successively replaced the manual work on the dumping body.
This was the birth of the three-way dumper truck: The hydraulic strut as a driving force made it possible for bulk material to slide off in three directions instead of just two.
Forward-thinking technology in the first truck
It is remarkable that the first truck 125 years ago anticipated the planetary axles that are still common today, especially in construction vehicles: The belt transmission sends the power of the engine onto a shaft mounted across the longitudinal axis of the carriage, the two ends of which are provided with a pinion.
Each of these pinions now engages in the internal gearing of a ring gear, which is firmly connected to the wheel to be driven. In modern planetary axles, this shaft ends in the wheel hubs in a sun gear connected to 3 to 5 planetary gears.
These run on a stationary ring gear and thus drive the wheels. This is how, in principle, the planetary axles of heavy Mercedes-Benz trucks have been working ever since right up to the current Arocs series.
With the exception of the 10-tons vehicle, such as the three-axle LK 10000 from 1937, Mercedes-Benz was able to increase the payload of the dump truck in the pre-war period. This was one of the first real heavy-duty trucks on the road. The powerful vehicle had an output of 150 hp and a double-drive rear axle (axle configuration 6×4).
Squared two-axle dump trucks
Post-war production was quickly getting back on its feet. The provisionally improvised L 4500 with its square wooden cab was born at the heavily destroyed Gaggenau factory.
Launched in 1949, the bestselling L 3250 was one of the tough pragmatists that helped the Federal Republic of Germany, which was founded in the same year, set course for the economic Miracle on the Rhine.
A somewhat heavier vehicle that joined the team in 1953, helped out. Known as the L 4500, then called the L 312, it was extremely successful in supporting the 3.5-ton truck as an almost identical vehicle – with just one ton of added payload. These new models both immediately became market leaders in their class and were able to easily maintain this leading position until they were replaced in 1961.
A real workhorse for heavy situations
In order to generate a mere 145 hp at the beginning of the 1950s, it took more than 4.6 liters of displacement, delivered by the 1949 OM 312 diesel engine.
As a further milestone, the L 6600 with a higher payload of 6600 kilograms was the first new development at Daimler-Benz in 1950. The L 6600, a vehicle fully focused on the heavy-duty class, with its 145 hp and 8.3 litre OM 315 prechamber diesel engine was produced at the Gaggenau plant. By the mid-1950s, heavy two-axle dump trucks, such as the LK 6600, were added to the range. However, it took until the 1960s before Daimler-Benz also manufactured three-axle vehicles for construction.
Short-nosed & long-nosed trucks
As a compromise on wheels, the new Daimler-Benz short-nosed trucks, first introduced in March 1959, were born. New and particularly rigid regulations in terms of the dimensions and weights introduced by the Minister of Transport Seebohm, brought the end to traditional long-nosed trucks, which, with their imposing noses, were suddenly accused of wasting space at the expense of the loading space.
The time had come to shrink these hoods a little. This was because the designers were forced to create as much space as possible for the loading space within limited external dimensions and, on top of that, to build as lightly as possible in order to ensure a maximum payload with a rigidly limited total weight. It seemed to be too daring for designers to switch completely to the COE design that had already come into fashion abroad. It was not clear whether the COE principle would prevail in the long term and whether customers would approve of such a radical step.
A key advantage of the short-nosed design compared to COE trucks: The engine only protruded modestly into the short-nosed cab and thus offered a kind of climbthrough.
This left enough space for a third seat between the driver and co-driver and less heat and noise got into the cab. The engine in the short-nosed variant was more accessible in any case. And it would still take years before the first tipping COE cabs would be produced.
The new short-nosed vehicle came in three weight classes: The L 322, designed for a gross vehicle weight of 10.5 tons, was a typical medium-duty truck, intended primarily for local transport and for jobs that were not too heavy in the construction industry. With a total weight of 12.0 tons, the factory also added the heavier L 327 in spring 1959, which used this capacity to exploit the maximum permissible total weight in accordance with Seebohm’s regulations. Finally, the L 323 (later L 710) took over from the L 311 (formerly L 3500) and attempted to be an early representative of the 7.5-ton class (GVW) in terms of the total weight.
The heavy versions of the short-nosed trucks in particular had long proven to be a real export hit. While the production of the light and medium-duty shortnosed trucks – depending on the model – ended between 1976 and 1984, the heavy-duty two-axle vehicles L 1924, L 1928 and the three-axle vehicles L 2624 and L 2628 remained in production for export for many years to come. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that a short-nosed L 1924 was the last of its kind to roll off the production line in Wörth.
However, two things were to be added to the range: on the one hand, a COE truck with all-wheel drive and, on the other hand, a very short cab for COE trucks. For example, the heavy LP was only available with a medium-length or long cab. An unusual approach was applied to offer the LP, that was about to be discontinued, as an all-wheel drive vehicle: COE trucks by Hanomag-Henschel, a company which had recently become part of the company, would be combined for the short term with Mercedes-Benz’s own V-engines as well as transfer cases and planetary axles.
A completely new and clearly structured model range to the previously somewhat unstructured heavy-duty truck range came about in the 1970s.
NG 80: From 1980, the vehicles of the new generation would be available with revised modular engines in V design as NG 80 with optionally six, eight or ten cylinders; the in-line six-cylinder engines would continue to be part of the range.
NG 85: A third and final revision took place in 1985. The OM 442 engine installed in the NG 85 was the first diesel engine in the world for a truck to have an electronic engine control unit (known as electronic diesel control (EDR) at Daimler-Benz). As of 1987, the NG 85 was also available as a four-axle vehicle with 8×8 axle configuration.
Daimler-Benz built two four-axle models, the 3528 AK with an OM 422 naturally aspirated V8 engine and the 3535 AK with an OM 442 A turbocharged V8 engine without intercooler.
Both vehicles were designed for a permissible gross mass of 35,000 kg. Initially, the four-axle vehicles were built at NAW, a special Group
subsidiary based in Arbon, Switzerland. Wörth later took over production.
The heavy-duty vehicles were produced until 1998 and then replaced by the Actros, which would be offered in parallel from 1996 on.
25 years ago: refinements increased with the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Actros Mercedes-Benz launched the Actros 25 years ago,
especially for long-haul transport and construction sites. Its first generation, introduced in 1996 for the 100th anniversary of the truck invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1896, marked the start of a series that remains one of the leaders in its segment to this day.
The fact that every Actros generation is awarded the title of “International Truck of the Year” by commercial vehicle journalists from all over Europe has also proven the extraordinary success of this model. According to the panel’s rules, the title is awarded annually to the truck that has made the biggest contribution to innovations for road transport in terms of efficiency, emissions, safety, drivability and comfort.
The reliable, robust nature and planetary axles were retained in the first Actros design dating back to 1996, but the number of refinements has been increasing: Parabolic instead of trapezoidal springs, hydraulic-pneumatic gearshift system, a new front axle load compensation for the four-axle vehicles and, last but not least, an optional off-road EPS are the highlights that the new construction truck from Mercedes-Benz provides.
The new Actros for long-distance haulage, also known as Actros 4, was introduced in 2011. The fifth Actros generation followed at IAA in 2018.
The Actros variant for construction, the Arocs, was introduced at bauma in 2013. The Arocs range includes all trucks and semitrailer tractors for on and off-road operation within the construction sector. Mercedes-Benz developed the Arocs series especially for the construction industry.
Looking beyond the future
Although there is much to celebrate in these historic moments, both globally and in the MENA region Mercedes-Benz remain entirely focused on the future and are determined to lead the automotive industry in delivering unwavering quality, safety and reliability for the next 125 years and beyond.
Olaf Peterson, General Manager Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA FZE, noted, “While we are extremely proud of our history, as ever, we are looking to the future. Our pioneering spirit is part of our DNA and we are very aware of the diverse and changing requirements in this region.
We will continue to remain fully connected with our customers and are steadfast in our commitment to providing them with the best solutions, support, vehicles and service possible, across the board and around the clock.” (Photos & Text from: www.daimlertruck.com)
Focusing on its signature strengths and values—agility and responsiveness, customer focus, innovation, fleet and network capabilities, Emirates SkyCargo successfully navigated the complex landscape of the global logistics and supply chain industry in 2021 against the backdrop of a lingering pandemic.
The airfreight division of Emirates notched up numerous milestones throughout the year, reinforcing its leadership position in the global airfreight industry.
“This has been without question one of the most challenging years for our industry as the pandemic continues to create difficulties across the entire supply chain and across all modes of transportation. However, Emirates SkyCargo has been a first mover in ensuring that trade lanes remain open by reinstating flights and providing additional capacity on key trade routes across six continents. We remain committed to offering the highest levels of service to our customers with safety at the center of everything we do,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.
January: Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines
Emirates SkyCargo has maintained an unwavering focus on supporting communities, especially those in developing markets, with rapid access to COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supplies.
To this end, in January 2021, Emirates SkyCargo partnered with leading Dubaibased entities—DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance to expedite global vaccine distribution through Dubai.
Emirates SkyCargo also signed an MoU with UNICEF in February 2021 to prioritize delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies in support of the COVAX initiative for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
With its expertise in transporting temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals and with its wide-body capacity and extensive global network, Emirates SkyCargo played an important role in the international movement of COVID-19 vaccines. At one point in April 2021, one in
every 20 COVID-19 vaccines administered around the world had flown on an Emirates aircraft.
By December 2021, the cargo carrier had transported a total of 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on its flights to over 80 destinations, one of the largest volumes globally by any airline cargo carrier.
February: Supporting perishable exports
In February 2021, Emirates SkyCargo s howcased its support and commitment for the global food and beverage industry with a dedicated stand at Gulfood 2021, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition in Dubai. The move also signaled confidence
Emirates SkyCargo transports close to 600 tons of food materials every day on its flights supporting communities reliant on agricultural exports for income and at the same time also ensuring food security at markets reliant on food imports.
The air cargo carrier transported over 265,000 tons of perishables and food on its flights in 2021, facilitating an important volume of the global cross-border logistics in the trade of food and other perishables.
March: One year anniversary of cargo-only flights
In March 2021, Emirates SkyCargo marked one year of utilizing Emirates Boeing 777 passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations. These cargo flights on passenger aircraft helped supplement available global cargo capacity for Emirates SkyCargo facilitating transport of PPE, food, medicines, electronics, raw materials for manufacturing and several other commodities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates SkyCargo had operated more than 27,800 cargo flights on passenger aircraft between March 2020 and March 2021, the most by any global air carrier.
Throughout the year, Emirates SkyCargo continued to operate cargo flights on its passenger aircraft and mini freighters (passenger aircraft with seats removed from Economy Class), supplementing much needed cargo capacity and transporting goods and commodities seamlessly from origin to destination. The air cargo carrier operated a total of more than 20,000 cargo-only flights on passenger aircraft during 2021.
April: Reinstating global network
By April 2021, Emirates SkyCargo had reinstated its global network for cargo flights to more than 135 destinations across six continents. This represented more than 85% of its pre-pandemic global network. By end of June 2021, Emirates SkyCargo was operating to more than 140 destinations, restoring 90% of its pre-COVID network.
May: Humanitarian assistance through Emirates India
In May 2021, Emirates SkyCargo announced that it was establishing a humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India to transport urgent medical and relief items, to support the Indian community to fight the serious COVID-19 situation at that time in the country.
The air cargo carrier supported partner organizations including International Humanitarian City and WHO by flying relief materials free of charge to nine destinations in India. More than 100 tons of cargo were flown free of charge within the first three weeks of the announcement of the airbridge.
June: Strengthening cool chain infrastructure at Dubai
In June 2021, Emirates SkyCargo expanded its temperature sensitive pharma and vaccine handling capabilities at its EU GDP certified dedicated pharma facility at Dubai International Airport. The air cargo carrier added 94 cool room pallet positions to its existing infrastructure allowing for ore handling capacity for temperature sensitive pharma, including COVID-19 vaccines.
The new extension is able to hold an estimated 60-90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at any one time. Emirates SkyCargo’s pharma infrastructure and capabilities include a three-tiered specialized product ‘Emirates Pharma’, innovative equipment such as dedicated
pharma cool dollies for maintaining unbroken cool chain on the airport ramp as well as enhanced origin to destination temperature protection with its Pharma Corridors program.
July: Flying champion horses to and from Tokyo for the Olympics
July 2021 marked the start of one of the largest air charters for the transport of champion horses ever undertaken by Emirates. The carrier flew 316 horses from Liege to Tokyo and 323 horses from Tokyo to Liege concluding more than 18 months of intense planning. 16 dedicated charter flights on Emirates Boeing 777 freighters also transported 157 horse grooms, 160 tons of equipment and 336 horse stalls over a seven-week period from mid-July.
August: Supporting exports and record-breaking operations
With capacity shortfall impacting exports of industrial and consumer supplies across the world, Emirates SkyCargo’s global teams pulled out all stops to operate additional flights to facilitate transport of time sensitive commodities.
As an illustration, Emirates SkyCargo’s team in Hanoi, Vietnam, transported more than 4500 tons of export cargo from Hanoi on a record breaking 97 cargo flights, handling anywhere between 6-7 flights in a single day, flying a variety of commodities from PPE to electronics and
from perishable commodities such as fruit and vegetables to clothing and high fashion.
September: Upgrading customer experience
In order to enhance the user experience and efficiency of its cargo booking process, Emirates SkyCargo partnered with WiseTech Global, a leading provider of software solutions to the logistics industry to provide direct access to its flights and inventory for cargo customers,
allowing them to make bookings directly without any other touchpoints. This is part of Emirates SkyCargo’s broader initiatives to provide a richer and more optimized user experience for external and internal customers along with additional digital functionalities.
Emirates Delivers, the e-commerce delivery platform developed by Emirates SkyCargo celebrated its second anniversary. The product is aimed at individual and small business customers in the UAE who shop online regularly from the US.
E-commerce was also the focus area of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that Emirates SkyCargo signed with Emirates Post in November at the Dubai Airshow. Under the agreement, the two entities will work together to create an end-to-end global logistics platform with its hub in Dubai.
November: Focus on freighters
Emirates SkyCargo outlined its roadmap for 2022-2024 for its freighter fleet at the Dubai Airshow. The air cargo carrier announced that it had invested US$ 1 billion for acquiring two new freighter aircraft from Boeing as well as for the conversion of four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
December: Supporting small businesses
Through its international network, Emirates SkyCargo enables many small businesses across continents to reach a larger global audience. One of the companies that Emirates SkyCargo has been helping is a UAE start-up that has been growing premium oysters in the waters of Dibba Bay. The air cargo carrier facilitates the rapid transportation of this premium produce from the UAE to connoisseurs in markets such as Russia oftentimes within the same day.
Three years on since the pandemic turned the world upside down, nations have become more dependent on the air transport industry to sustain people, livelihood, businesses and their economies.
In this brief Q& A with Steve Mathias, Vice President, Global Military Sales and Strategy, Bell, a former US military official who once served as the Chief of Staff of the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan Special Operations Forces, we hear his thoughts on the situation’s impact on their operations and his insights on the aviation industry’s future. The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of everything.
What smart technologies will greatly impact the aviation industry in your opinion?
One important change is how we communicate. With traditional in-person communication severely impacted by COVID, we’ve leveraged technology to maintain consistent communication with customers and our workforce around the globe.
Leaders throughout our company have implemented telework, social distancing and other best practices which has resulted in increased productivity while keeping our workforce safe.
What challenges will impact the aviation industry’s growth in the foreseeable future?
We know that there will continue to be a balance, as we navigate through this crisis. We’ve been very fortunate in navigating the challenges in the aviation industry and have even increased productivity. We took deliberate, proactive action very early in this pandemic to ensure continuity of operations across the company, in our factories and down the Supply Chain, while also implementing
CDC guidance to keep our employees safe. Today, Bell is at work, most of our employees are on site, and Supply Chain is working well. Our employee workfrom-home program in some regional offices is also working well.
What innovative products or services is Bell highlighting at Dubai Airshow given that this is the first major aerospace event globally
since the pandemic struck. Please elaborate.
Dubai Airshow has been an amazing show and we are glad to participate this year. Bell has a wide variety of activity on both commercial and military products and has displays for both the Bell 429 and the Bell 409. Additionally, the U.S. Marine Corps brought a MV-22 Osprey, the world’s only production tiltrotor aircraft for both aerial demonstration and static display.
It was recently announced that Bell completed its first Bahrain AH-1Z Viper. Can you tell us more about this and how important is acquiring this given the continued volatility in the Middle East’s security?
The Gulf Region has a tremendous impact on the aviation market and the Viper will bring significant benefits to the Bahrain Defense force as they modernize their attack helicopters. The AH-1Z brings the most advanced dedicated capabilities to the region and helps amplify interoperability and effectiveness of allied forces.
Air Cargo Update talks to Nathanaël De Tarade, Chief Commercial Officer of the Paris-based software and data science company Wiremind, about how digitalization is reshaping the industry and how their company is making sense of technology and data to benefit the global transport industry and the people that depend on it.
We’re three years into the pandemic and without the help of science and technology combined, it will be extremely difficult to navigate the
complex impact of the global health and economic crisis that the world is now facing.
This is a delicate time in humanity’s history where resources are scarce. The era of smart technologies, space exploration, artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots, data science, algorithms and so many other tech and industrial revolution never before seen in our lifetime.
The air cargo industry, among the frontline industries that the world is currently heavily dependent on in terms of movement of goods, medical supplies and vaccines, is no exception to the massive digital transformation we’re currently seeing and experiencing.
Though struggling to embrace digitalization globally due to various reasons, the industry continues to make progress in different aspects of technology.
Air Cargo Update talks to Nathanaël De Tarade, Chief Commercial Officer of the Parisbased software and data science company Wiremind, about how digitalization is reshaping the industry and how their company is making sense of technology and data to
benefit the global transport industry and the people that depend on it.
De Tarade, an industry veteran for 11 years, half of which spent at AirFrance-KLM and the other half at Wiremind, says the airfreight industry is yet to fully utilize the scientific data and other technologies available to operate more efficiently and profitable.
Harnessing the power of technology
With just three staff when it started, Wiremind is now powered by 50 people and its roster of clients are some of the biggest in the cargo and passenger transport industries—Emirates, Atlas Air, United Airlines, Qantas, ECS Group, Chapman Freeborn, etc., and SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français), one of the world’s first and biggest rail operators.
SNCF chose Wiremind’s CAYZN Revenue Management Solution to optimize its TGV INOUI high-speed services as well as for its Intercity and night-trains. This is so far Wiremind’s biggest accomplishment with 120 million commuters from France alone using the system.
“This is most likely one of our biggest achievements to date, and certainly one we have worked the hardest for. High-speed TGV rail travel in France alone is more than 120 million passengers per year, so it is comparable to some of the largest airlines in the world. We are very proud that SNCF has selected Wiremind as their solution provider to handle such a critical and strategic area. We believe it shows our level of expertise in Software, Revenue Management and Data Science,” De Tarade proudly said.
This year, the company is focusing more on the air cargo industry as it takes the lead role in safely transporting billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses across the world to contain the spread of the constantly mutating Coronavirus.
“2022 is really the year where our product offering will step up significantly. We already address the needs of end-to-end capacity optimization, from quotation to booking to flight build-up, thanks to our SkyPallet solution – we are now also offering to our customers dedicated Data Science & Ai-based solutions for Pricing, Overbooking, among others. We will be announcing more in the coming months,”
said De Tarade.
Worldwide, more than 307 million people have been infected by various COVID strains and more than 5.5 million have died as of January 2022. With the unequal distribution of vaccine still a major issue and governments lacking resources to buy medical supplies and sustain their healthcare systems, experts say the pandemic could linger on far longer than what they had hoped for.
Meaningful global impact
The pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of the global and domestic transport industry to move people and goods of all kinds via air, land or sea.
The industry is instrumental in taking essential workers to their jobs, keeping economies a float and distributing vaccines across continents despite unprecedented logistical and other operational challenges. In terms of global trade, air cargo accounts
for one-third of it estimated at over $6 trillion annually.
The transport sector’s impact to global trade and people across the world are the very reasons why De Tarade and the other founders of Wiremind chose to focus on it.
“The first reason simply lies in the background of the founders. We all come from the transport industry. There are many reasons why it’s one of the best industries to work in: it is an international business, where you meet people from different cultures, it is also a business that is essential in the lives of people – as you say, there are very few people on this planet that do not move themselves, or do not benefit from goods that have been moved,” the Wiremind CCO shared.
Mobility will continue to impact how people live and do business. This is something that Wiremind is cognizant of, thus, it continues to seek innovative ideas and solutions that will create meaningful benefits for companies in the transport sector as well as people that rely on it.
“I am proud to work on technology that has a true and meaningful impact on global trade. Sometimes, I feel that technology is used to
offer a solution to something that was not a problem: ordering a pack of cookies from the supermarket that is located 5 minutes away from my apartment, and getting them delivered in 10 minutes without moving from my couch, is not my idea of the best possible use of technology.
“Delivering Covid-19 vaccines to the world seems much more relevant. So, I’m confident that moving goods and people, using each mode of transportation as long as we are environmentally aware of our impact and work on mitigating it, is something that has a future. Fully using the capacity at our disposal is also meaningful in that aspect, to avoid flying or shipping empty space,” said De Tarade.
Wiremind and air cargo
The pandemic challenges seen in the transport industry and its supply-chain are unique and given the constant changes that may arise from it, De Tarade says Wiremind is open to more innovative ideas in the future.
“We have to separate the challenges that were already there, that the pandemic made even more important, such as digitalization, and the challenges that directly stem from the pandemic itself, such as the high volatility of the passenger capacity, with direct
impact on the cargo capacity in the market,” he said.
“For the challenges that we already knew, the pandemic has acted as a magnifying glass. So, we have to stay agile enough to address needs that are suddenly urgent, not just important. That’s what we do by launching new products and services,” he added. “For the rest, the most important thing for us to do is stay close to our customers: When the capacity changes, it brings new challenges and we have to provide value to meet them.”
To harness the potential of technology on air cargo, De Tarade believes the industry should focus more on data so it can make the necessary adjustments on its operations and create more possibilities.
“I think the industry should focus on data. It always sounds very general: what data do we have or don’t have, where it is stored, how it is stored, what do we use it for, who do we share it with, etc. Looking at each of these questions takes time and requires cooperation with many stakeholders. Yet it is crucial, because it is the condition for the success of high-value projects that include Data Science models that have direct impact on revenues and costs,” he explained.
“I do feel that things are moving in the right direction though, the right level of priority is starting to be given to those topics.” As the industry re-invents itself in the face of herculean tasks during this pandemic, De Tarade it can tap technology to make things easier for its many components.
“One thing that is exciting in air cargo is the very large number of areas, departments and cases where technology can really bring value. Looking at concrete examples: customer service, where you had to send emails and follow up on the phone to simply ask for capacity information. This process can be much simpler, thanks to having integrated solutions, platforms, etc. that interact with each other,” said De Tarade. “Another example would be the flight management process. If I take the example of what Wiremind Cargo offers, we have a show-up rate algorithm that provides immediate advice as to how much no-show (and low-show) will likely happen on a flight, which is a direct way to increase efficiency and revenues,” he added.
Taking charge of threats
With the digital age comes a new global nemesis, the cyber criminals who have become more sophisticated in launching attacks against individuals and companies throughout the world, often undetected until a ransom is demanded.
As the world shifted to more remote working or hybrid work due to the pandemic, cyber attacks have risen higher with damages of $1 trillion in 2020. This year, experts believe global cybercrime damages could have reached $6 trillion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s biggest research cybersecurity firm.
Over the next five years, cybersecurity attacks could even top $10.5 trillion in value as cyber criminals become more aggressive and sophisticated against the backdrop of a more digital world.
De Tarade said Wiremind takes cyberattacks very seriously and while there are no guarantees it won’t happen; the company has taken extraordinary steps to protect their clients.
“Cyber-attacks are an extremely serious matter. Of course, we follow the highest standards of our industry. We have a dedicated infrastructure team that has the direct responsibility of cyber security across all perimeters of the company. They are highly qualified engineers that constantly review the solutions we have in place to ensure the highest possible security level,” he said.
“These solutions involve multiple actions: several daily backups at multiple locations, 2 (sometimes 3) factor authentication, etc. But we are very much aware that most cyber-attacks are made possible not so much because of a default in the technology, but rather because of human mistakes. So, we have regular training sessions that target all staff, not just software engineers,” he added.
Threats should be anticipated and dealt with possible solutions. And unexpected situations like this pandemic have invaluable lessons that people and businesses learn from.
“Business-wise, what comes to mind first is the fact that a company should “expect the unexpected”. Sounds like a paradox, but I mean it as a state of mind: when you are considering scenarios when making decisions, do not picture the coming years as a clear horizon just because you have clear goals. Instead, picture a moving context, with multiple possibilities (both threats and opportunities),” De Tarade shared when asked about the lessons he learned from this pandemic.
“Another thing I can think of is the fact that a time like this is really the best time to look at your processes: which you must
keep, and which you can do without, at least for a while. Interestingly, I think that both of these lessons also apply at a personal level: I feel that many of us have been increasing our focus on what really matters.”
The pandemic is keeping the air cargo industry busy hauling all sorts of goods, e-commerce, medical cargo and billions of COVID-19 vaccines.
China and India, the world’s two most populous nations, home to 1.418 billion and 1.38 billion people, respectively, get the job done the most. Not only are they producing so much medical supplies for their own population but the world as well.
China, the world’s factory, produces much of the global demand for medical supplies while India is on high demand for pharmaceuticals, medical raw materials and yes, vaccines, COVID-19 included.
Their output requires a lot of services from the global transport industry—air, land or sea—to reach countries across continents.
In India, the air cargo industry puts up a lot of work to accomplish this. Blue Dart Aviation, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group with 70% stock shares, is one of the busiest among the country’s many air cargo carriers.
The company serves domestic routes within India and amid the pandemic, made its first international flights between India and China.
The cargo airline is managed by Tulsi Nowlakha Mirchandaney, one of women pioneers in India’s burgeoning aviation/air cargo industry. She has so far spent more than 50 years in the industry yet continues to inspire others who want to break the barriers.
She began her aviation career in 1970 working for Japan Airlines as ticketing and reservations staff. In 1972, JAL pulled out of its Calcutta office due to political uncertainties. Tulsi took on the task of clearing the cargo entrusted to the airline and went on to operate its offline location. In 1982, she moved to Mumbai to open JAL’s office in the city, and subsequently, to Cochin and Hyderabad.
An engineering student before she got hired at JAL, Tulsi suddenly found herself in the less glamorous side of aviation but she knew she has found her calling.
“It wasn’t a woman’s job, and I was once jokingly refused a training course because I had to shower afterwards with the boys. That was before gender equality gained momentum,” she told Runway Girl Network in an interview. “The initial stumbling steps blossomed into a lifelong romance. Each day that I see my aircraft successfully take off with my loads, I know that I’ve defied gravity in more ways than one.”
“Life can be unfair, for both men and women. One needs to weed out and ignore the irrelevant that may be hurtful,” she shared in the same interview. After working for JAL, she later joined Air France to head its cargo operations. With her vast experience in the air cargo industry, she was later tapped to head Blue Dart Aviation, the only cargo airline that sustained its operations in India for the past 25 years.
Under Tulsi’s leadership the cargo airline grew to become one of the biggest in India with a workforce of more than 1,200. She has been instrumental in expanding the company’s dedicated infrastructure across airports, and bringing about policy changes in civil aviation to include the significant role of air express, and support the distinctive requirements for the sustainability of the cargo airline industry
in the country.
Today, Tulsi is an all-inspiring woman in India’s growing air cargo industry. She served as the Co-Chairperson on the Confederation of the India’s National Committee for Civil Aviation (2019-20 and 2020-21), the Confederation of Indian Industry’s National Committee for
Logistics. She also serves on the Governing Council of Birla Institute of Technology – School of Management, a board member of Blue Dart Express and Air Cargo Forum India.
And when she’s not busy, Tulsi, who has an MBA degree in International Aviation from Canada’s Concordia University in Montreal, reads books or play tennis. A friend of the environment, Tulsi is also into vermiculture.
Bolloré Logistics recently signed a partnership agreement with BALYO, a technological leader in the design and development of innovative robotic solutions for material handling trucks, to provide automated pallet movement for its warehouses in APAC.
The agreement paved the way for an initial order contracted with BAYLO to equip the Blue Hub with a “VNA” robotic truck. As part of this collaboration, Bolloré Logistics will host BALYO’s Singapore team at its B.Lab innovation center to design value-creating supply chain solutions in a variety of innovative applications, notably in the field of warehouse automation.
By combining expertise and resources, Bolloré Logistics will benefit from BALYO’s technological know-how, therefore accelerating its transition to robotics applied to autonomous pallet movement. Discussions are currently in progress between the two organizations to acquire a robotic reach truck that will be introduced and put into service at the Bolloré Logistics’ Green Hub.
Following this trial phase, both parties intend to launch short-term studies to determine which Bolloré Logistics sites in APAC can be equipped with BALYO solutions.
According to Pascal Rialland, CEO and chairman at BALYO: “The signing of this partnership with Bolloré Logistics, a world leader in logistics and transportation, is a tremendous growth driver for BALYO. We are delighted to be able to support them in their automation initiative from their lab in Singapore. This leading international hub is a unique place where BALYO will be able to demonstrate the added value of its robots for specific applications. We look forward to starting our partnership with the first installation in the Blue Hub before further deployments in APAC.”
Frederic Marcerou, managing director of Bolloré Logistics Singapore commented: “We are very pleased to reinforce our collaboration with BALYO. This partnership is a great opportunity for both companies and will foster our mutual commitment to operational excellence. Together, we look forward to accelerating the integration of technologies in the supply chain industry and unlock growth synergies in the APAC region.”
Kuehne+Nagel reports it has significantly expanded its network of offices in Africa. These offices are managed and supported by a control tower in Durban, South Africa – a single point of customer contact responsible for a compliant, high quality and easy-to-access network across Africa. It allows for complete visibility across the network, including remote locations, while ensuring Kuehne+Nagel’s global service standards; supervising data quality, enabling shipment visibility and managing cargo flow.
With this expansion, Kuehne+Nagel says it provides its customers better access to African markets and while offering African manufacturers specialized and industry-specific solutions to meet soaring demand in markets such as pharma & healthcare, perishables, emergency & relief and project logistics.
Sub-Saharan Africa plays an increasingly significant role in worldwide trade as it is home to more than one billion people, half of whom will be under the age of 25 by 2050.
Kuehne+Nagel has been actively present in Africa for almost seven decades after opening its first office in Johannesburg in 1954. The company provides its customers with full visibility across a strong and compliant supply chain by combining the strengths of a local presence with Kuehne+Nagel’s global operating systems and processes.
The expanded Africa network is fully vetted and audited by an external global auditing company to ensure ongoing adherence to the highest level of compliance and ethical standards. It provides the full range of international services including Air, Sea, Road and Contract logistics to address the demands of the African continent.
“Africa is blessed with natural resources and a young entrepreneurial population. Now is the time to unlock this potential and create growing, thriving economies. There are many elements to this, one being the logistical ability to connect global markets for end consumers and suppliers. With the new control tower in Durban, we are ready to address this great African opportunity,” says Lee I’Ons, president of Kuehne+Nagel Middle East and Africa.
With this expansion, Kuehne+Nagel will be represented in 18 African countries: South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Angola, Namibia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Mauritius, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Rwanda. Until the end of the first quarter 2022, Kuehne+Nagel plans to increase its footprint with a second expansion on the continent.
December demand in the general air cargo market put a final dampener on 2021 peak season volumes as continuing supply chain issues, congestion on the ground, and concerns over the new Omicron virus suppressed any end-of-year uptick, according to industry analysts, CLIVE Data Services.
CLIVE’s latest weekly market intelligence shows a -5% fall in chargeable weight in December 2021, compared to the pre-Covid level of December 2019, making it, versus 2019, one of the weaker months of the year. Versus December 2020, volumes rose by +1%. CLIVE’s analyses of the general air cargo market for the last calendar month continued to measure performance to both the pre-covid 2019 level, as well as giving 2020 year-over-year comparisons, to provide a meaningful assessment of its current performance.
Q4 2021 data has reflected CLIVE’s statement earlier in the year that issues facing the air cargo market were driven by supply chain challenges, and less so by soaring volumes. In October, CLIVE’s ‘dynamic loadfactor’ – which measures both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available to produce a true indicator of airline performance – reported a lower load factor for the time of year than expected, followed in November by a -1.2% drop in volumes.
Cargo capacity has remained slow to return to the pre-Covid level. In December 2021, it remained at -12% to December 2019. The ‘dynamic loadfactor’ for this December of 65% was +2% pts up versus two years ago.
The big growth curve in Q4 of 2021 was in airfreight rates, which in December climbed at a global level to 168% ahead of December 2019 (+42% versus December 2020), following earlier monthly gains compared to 2019 of 155% and 159% in October and November 2021 respectively.
“It was certainly more complex to ship goods from A to B in 2021 by all modes of transport, which has continued to increase rates. In the general air cargo market, we’ve seen airlines focus more on managing margins than on filling aircraft,” said Niall van de Wouw, CLIVE’s managing director. “From a volume perspective, compared to 2019, November and December did not produce ‘the peak of all peaks’. The capacity and ‘dynamic loadfactor’ trends were more or less in line with earlier months, but rates kept on climbing. So, what is at play here? This latest December data amplifies what we saw in November, with issues on the ground impacting the efficiency of the value chain. The rapid increase on Omicron and its impact on staff availability, hard lockdowns and their impact on business and consumer confidence are likely at play here.”
He added: “Looking at 2021 overall, after a very strong start to the year and pretty solid middle months, we witnessed a not-so-strong ending of the year. The wear and tear of close to 20 months of Covid started to really impact the efficiency of the value chain towards the end of 2021, and there are still no fundamental changes expected in the short-term that would change the current dynamics of supply chain shortages and elevated rates.”
Antonov Airlines in co-operation with Bollore Logistics Space has transported Turkey’s new telecommunication satellite Turksat 5B on board one of its AN-124-100 aircraft from Toulouse, France, to Florida, USA, later launched by the US aerospace company SpaceX.
The cargo weighed a total of 60 tons including a special container measuring 14.69 m in length, 5.45 m in width, and 4.36 m in height, designed by Airbus Defense and Space specifically for moving these types of satellites on AN-124-100 aircraft.
“The expertise of the Antonov Airlines technical crew and engineers guarantees the smooth and efficient transport of this delicate and unique cargo,” said Sergii Bilozerov, commercial executive, Antonov Airlines.
“An external crane in conjunction with the onboard crane and winch of the AN-124-100 was used to load and unload the container, as well as special loading equipment designed and manufactured by Antonov’s in-house engineers.”
SpaceX launched the Turksat 5B satellite on December 18 from Cape Canaveral, USA on behalf of the nation of Turkey and it will be the most powerful satellite in use by Turkey that will increase communications band capacity and will serve Turkey and neighboring countries for 35 years.