Swiss WorldCargo : Swissness across continents
Digitalization will continue to play an important role at Swiss WorldCargo, and we remain focused on developing different customer-focused digital tools. Technology allows us to enhance our products and services offerings, while helping us to meet ever-evolving customer and industry needs.
With the right digital tools and clever ways to leverage different strategies that generate business, Swiss WorldCargo capped off 2018 with high volumes and revenues despite a slowdown on global trade.
Ashwin Bhat, Head of Cargo at Swiss WorldCargo, the airfreight division of Swiss International Airlines formed in 2002 as capacity wholesaler for airport-to-airport cargo, says the company continues to exceed expectations and is on a path to further digitalize its systems to ensure seamless connectivity across continents.
“While Swiss WorldCargo does not disclose its cargo sales and volumes, we can proudly state that 2018 was a successful year for us. We are continuing to exceed our own expectations by leveraging different strategies that allow us to successfully meet and satisfy the needs of our different customers worldwide,” Bhat told Air Cargo Update, noting that the company’s focus on quality service and customer satisfaction helped its team end 2018 on a good note.
The Zurich-based SWISS has at its disposal an airfreight network to over 130 destinations in more than 80 countries with access to daily truck connections between key business centers across Europe and other countries.
A trusted name in belly hold capacity, SWISS offers one of the most modern fleets in Europe, and a wide-range of products, including truck services.
“On long-haul flights, we operate a mix of Airbus A340-300, Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. For short and medium-haul flights, we offer a mix of Airbus A321-100/200, A320-200, Bombardier CS100 and CS300 and A319-100,” said Bhat.
“Our product portfolio is wide-ranging, and intends to meet diverse and often-times complex shipping and handling needs. Our selection covers different customer needs: a temperature-controlled supply chain, as well as security, reliability and speed. Our full product offering consists of SWISS X-Presso, SWISS Valuables, SWISS Celsius Active, SWISS Celsius Passive, SWISS Celsius Passive Solutions, SWISS Argus, SWISS Mail and SWISS General Cargo,” he added.
The cleverly named SWISS Argus is one of the company’s added value services designed to protect the entire supply chain and all products along the way.
“It offers increased theft protection through special storage options, as well as attendance and security checks prior to departure as well as after landing. It also provides secure product handling through the entirety of the supply chain, meaning that customers are able to handle products which they otherwise would not specifically be able to,” Bhat briefly explained.
The SWISS cargo chief said the company is bent on scaling up its digitalization programs to improve customer service/satisfaction, make the shipping process faster and enable more transparent access to company products and services.
“Digitalization will continue to play an important role at Swiss WorldCargo, and we remain focused on developing different customer-focused digital tools. Technology allows us to enhance our products and services offerings, while helping us to meet ever-evolving customer and industry needs,” he said.
For instance, Bhat said Swiss WorldCargo is implementing IoT technologies on its systems to improve tracking information. The company is also increasing its eAWB penetration as well as participating in different tech-inspired initiatives at IATA like eCargo, Message Improvement (MIP) and Electronic Consignment Security Declaration (e-CSD), to which the company is a pilot carrier.
Bhat explained the company puts high importance on its customer service and digitalization is at the core of fulfilling this to ensure fast and efficient transactions.
“As mentioned, we will focus on continuing to leverage technologies that can enhance our products & service offer, with the clear intention of meeting ever-evolving industry needs. As customer service is so important to us, we will also continue our focus on improving transparency and insights for our customers everywhere, without losing the focus on the core USPs of Swiss WorldCargo,” he said.
“And of course, we will seek to continue innovate and to develop the right services and solutions. Along with seeking ways to move ahead and developing new tools that help us and our customers to benefit and progress,” he added.
The multibillion e-Commerce industry continues to change the global business landscape with direct impact to specialized sectors like air freight and logistics.
Bhat said SWISS is prepared to make the necessary adjustments to fully embrace this growing global market.
“We continue to see the growth of e-Commerce. While certainly not a new trend, every year we see an increasing market demand for the transportation of ecommerce goods – either as mail or as cargo. This, in turn, causes a demand for high quality, reliable and fast transportation,” he said.
“At Swiss WorldCargo, we will continue to leverage our extensive network and recognized Swiss quality, which is how we believe we can add value. We will continue to serve as a link between the various parties of the e-Commerce logistics chain, providing our customers with the necessary tools for sustainable growth,” he added.
But along with the rise in demand, comes the sustainability challenges. Bhat said SWISS WorldCargo is pinning its hope on technology to help solve these problems which include sky congestion and limitations on airport infrastructures.
“Within Swiss WorldCargo, we are developing a number of measures using the potential of technology to challenge this issue. Of course, we are also able to continue to benefit from our hub, specifically because of our short connecting times and quality-focused ground handling agents,” he noted.
Ashwin Bhat: The airfreight specialist
A chemistry graduate from the University of Mumbai,
Bhat entered India’s vast workforce as a cargo accountant at a subsidiary of Swissair. He stayed with the company for seven years before moving to Swiss Cargo AG which led him to his current role.
Bhat has been with SWISS since 2002 and climbed his way up the corporate ladder serving in various capacities and management roles, most notably as head for the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.
A chemistry graduate from the University of Mumbai, Bhat entered India’s vast workforce as a cargo accountant at a subsidiary of Swissair. He stayed with the company for seven years before moving to Swiss Cargo AG which led him to his current role.
Three years since his appointment as Head of Cargo at SWISS, Bhat has proven his capabilities to sail the company through good and bad times, living up on its name as the top belly carrier for pharmaceuticals and other specialized cargoes.
Last year, SWISS announced its total QEP (Qualified Envirotainer Provider) accredited stations have reached 36, an industry distinction and an assurance in the ever growing global pharmaceutical industry of its commitment to provide best-in-class services to its customers, which was further substantiated by receiving the IATA CEIV Certification.
Bhat who continues to steer SWISS to growth briefly describes their markets as follows:
Swiss WorldCargo offers daily flights to Dubai and Muscat, giving us a strong presence in the region and allowing us to carry out shipments of high-value goods.
Swiss WorldCargo offers regular flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok, in addition to Phuket and Saigon seasonally. Additionally, SWISS serves Tokyo, Mumbai and Delhi which rounds out the presence in Asia. With these flights, we are able to connect major industrial and financial centers throughout Asia with Switzerland.
We fly and truck to all major destinations in Europe. This offers seamless international connections through Zurich through via hub (which offers the fastest connection time in the industry). It also offers direct city-to-city transport from Zurich to different cities on the continent.
We cover many major destinations – Johannesburg, Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi, Cairo, and others through seasonal capacity (Cape Town, Malé), through which we can showcase our strong traffic in the region. We focus on carrying out various high-value products from the region both to/from Switzerland and to/from Africa & other destinations throughout the world.
The Americas continues to be a major market for us, and we offer daily services to Miami, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago year-round. We are focused on a variety of shipments that cover this region, and further destinations can be reached via a dedicated trucking route, which complements our network.