TURKISH CARGO - Connecting the world 24/7 in the new normal

Published: Monday, October 19, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic knocked down the whole world in unimaginable proportions. Uncertainties still abound with global infections rising to nearly 36 million and the new normal requiring new protocols to live and do business.

But thanks to a global concerted effort and strong support from certain industries like the healthcare, medical supply manufacturers, air transport, among many others, more lives are saved and economies have begun moving albeit slowly in the midst of the pandemic.

Progressive, proactive and agile, Turkish Cargo was among the world’s most dependable air cargo carriers that courageously fought the threat of the virus to ensure the fast and efficient delivery of vital medical and other basic essential supplies across the globe, enabling hospitals and healthcare facilities to treat patients, as well as sustain lives, jobs and businesses, struggling in an unchartered territory.

Fatih Ciğal, Senior Vice President of Cargo Marketing, Turkish Cargo, said Turkey’s national air freight carrier immediately took interim safety measures to protect their staff while adopting to the new market dynamics to meet the needs of their customers and sector counterparts.

“Apart from the transition of our office personnel to home-working,” Ciğal told Air Cargo Update in an interview, “we took actions with respect to mask supply and maintenance of social distancing for our operation personnel who continued to work devotedly, especially to safely transport and deliver food, aid materials, masks, medical equipment and other supplies, across the world to maintain the flow of the supply chain.”

“In addition, the required disinfection processes were and are still carried out regularly in the cargo terminal by applying fogging method through the solution approved by the Ministry of Health of Republic of Turkey, which has an action duration of one month. Throughout the pandemic, Turkish Cargo has been committed to transport health and aid worldwide, handling global operations 24/7 devotedly,” he added.

Global Air Bridge

Turkish Cargo’s market share in the global air transport industry grows each year. It now accounts for 1 out of 20 cargo carried worldwide.

Its success comes from Turkey’s continued push to further strengthen its aviation and air transport industry to support local businesses complemented by Turkish Cargo’s growing fleet & network, competitive rates and a reliable team of cargo and logistics experts who deliver the best service to customers.

Ciğal described Turkish Cargo’s role as a “global air bridge” with untiring commitment to ensure that the flow of goods remain uninterrupted despite these difficult times.

“We at Turkish Cargo continues our operations uninterruptedly by establishing a global air bridge,” said Ciğal explaining that this is achieved through adequate staff safety measures they have adopted in carrying out their duties.

“Our flight crews use masks, gloves, goggles and protective overalls when necessary. All of our aircraft are carefully disinfected before and after the flight. Mask distribution and temperature measurement are made to our staff and all visitors at the entrance to our facilities. Our personnel are supplied with personal disinfectants. Disinfectants have been placed at various areas of the facility.

“Our personnel and each person visiting our facility are subjected to body temperature check. Whole of our facility and cargo vehicles are disinfected periodically. The radios and similar common equipment are put into use after disinfection. The number of personnel was reduced and the social distance was increased. Waste bins were placed for used masks in our facility. As a global brand, Turkish Cargo is committed to take all preventive measures and prioritize human health.”

Global Logistics Ally

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) underscored how the air cargo industry has been an essential partner in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 transporting not only vital medical equipment, medicines and supplies but other basic essentials  as well.

But the industry is facing difficulty addressing increasing demand for air cargo with most passenger planes still not flying, reducing significantly its belly capacity.

Belly capacity for international air cargo was 67% below the levels of August 2019 owing to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, IATA noted. This was partially offset by a 28.1% increase in dedicated freighter capacity using passenger planes. Daily widebody freighter utilization is close to 11 hours per day, the highest levels since these figures have been tracked in 2012, it added.

Ciğal said the pandemic has essentially revealed how important the air transport industry and assured that Turkish Cargo stands ready to face the challenges.

“The pandemic has revealed how vital the airline transportation industry is, and Turkish Cargo’s role was critical in this process. We worked without slowing down, even more intensively, taking all the precautions,” he said.

“In this difficult period of time, Turkish Cargo’s key source of motivation was to be a part of the logistics solutions that meet the pharmaceutical, masks, medical equipment, humanitarian aid and food needs of the world. During this period of time, in which logistics is of vital importance, we keep working by being aware of our responsibility in maintaining the global supply chain, while we touch the lives of people in another part of the world and write different stories,” he continued.

2 Modern Tech-Driven Hubs

Apart from its vast global network and modern fleet, Turkish Cargo’s advantage is its two tech-driven hubs with modern facilities—one at Ataturk International Airport, the other at the newly-opened Istanbul Airport, currently the world’s biggest and most modern airport.

Both can handle large volumes of cargo safely, fast and efficiently. Last year, Turkish Cargo transported more than 1.5 million tons of cargo and despite the pandemic, it grew its global market share to 5.4 percent, carrying 1 out of 20 cargo hauled worldwide.

Ciğal said the company plans to fully move at Istanbul Airport by the first quarter of 2021, which would essentially boost its capacity to handle as much as 4 million tons of cargo and efficiency by adopting new technologies on its entire operations.

“Turkish Cargo has been investing in a brand-new hub at Istanbul Airport with the “SmartIST” facility, which is still under construction and has an area of 340 thousand m2 and where we plan to move in the first quarter of 2021. Our SmartIST facility with a capacity to carry 4 million tons of air cargo is being designed so as to be in conformity with the operational process, dominated by the industry 4.0, artificial intelligence technologies and digitalized processes,” said Ciğal, an industrial engineering graduate of Istanbul Technical University.

Investing heavily on technology, Turkish Cargo’s new hub at Istanbul Airport features the latest automated systems in warehousing and logistics that saves space, time and resources.

“We equip our SmartIST facility with Industry 4.0, Logistics R&D, Innovative studies and technological infrastructure. We will use two different systems, namely Pchs (Pallet Control Handling System) and Asrs (Automatic Storage and Retrieval System), for automation of the processes. Pchs system will be used to store the ULDs, which are unloaded from the aircraft or ready to be loaded on board the aircraft, and to transfer the same to the intended location automatically,” Ciğal explained.

“Asrs system will be used to store the smaller cargo packages, comprising the contents of the ULDs, and to transfer them to the intended location automatically, if and when so needed.  These brand-new systems use their own artificial intelligence to optimize their movements, resulting in minimization of any intervention by employees, and therefore, enhancing quality of service,” he added.

Ready for COVID Vaccines

The world is eagerly awaiting the release of the COVID vaccines to prevent the spread of the virus and finally bring some normalcy to our disrupted lives that not only brought great sadness for those who lost their loved ones but for the living as well who lost their jobs, their businesses or were infected.

Equally important to the vaccine’s discovery is how it’s distributed across all corners of the world, both for the rich and the poor.

At least 8,000 747 freighters would be needed to transport a single dose of COVID-19 vaccines for some 7.8 billion people across the world, according to IATA as it warned of potentially severe capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.

IATA described the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines as “the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry” that requires careful advance planning and cooperation across the logistics chains, across borders, to accomplish this task.

Turkish Cargo, with its hubs ideally positioned in between continents, and with its unparalleled access to routes is crucial to this mission.

Ciğal said Turkish Cargo is closely monitoring the situation and has taken all precautionary measures to do its part which would have a huge impact on humanity’s future.

“We closely follow the activities carried out for Covid-19 vaccine, and hope to get good news in this regard as soon as possible for the sake of all humanity…. We, as Turkish Cargo brand, are ready to do our share in the delivery of the vaccine across the world through our wide flight network, fleet and specialized teams,” he said.

Turkish Cargo carried nearly 30,000 tons of medicines and 10,000 tons of medical equipment, in addition to carrying special cargo such as human blood, organs and tissues, between February 1 to August 31, 2020.

“Between February 1 to August 31, 2020, when the maintenance flow of air cargo was of critical importance for human health and the pandemic’s impact was experienced heavily, we carried almost 30,000 tons of medicines and 10,000 tons of medical equipment, and we continued transporting other vital health supplies such as human blood, organs and tissues, as well as masks, humanitarian aid and food, uninterruptedly,” Ciğal pointed out.

Turkish Cargo, which has access to more than 300 destinations in 127 countries across the world, is globally recognized for its world-class expertise and facilities in handling shipments related to pharmaceuticals and life sciences.

It’s the first cargo brand to concurrently hold all three international industry certificates under the IATA CEIV (Center of Excellence for Independent Validators) program namely: the CEIV Pharma, CEIV FRESH and CEIV Live Animals.

“We are going through days when we noticed how vital the air cargo industry is, not only for world trade, but also in supporting a healthy global population, especially in these difficult times,” said Ciğal, adding, “The IATA CEIV certificates prove Turkish Cargo’s commitment to international standards in terms of special cargo operations, during such vulnerable and critical period.”

“And we proceed with due diligence in all processes. The IATA CEIV program is intended to ensure that any vulnerable cargo is transported and delivered at the highest standards, meticulously and punctiliously. Therefore, certificates stand out as more valuable than their usual importance and as proof of quality standards,” he added.

Turkish Cargo also strictly follow international protocols in carrying highly-sensitive products, apart from using sophisticated containers and facilities to protect them throughout the process.

“In our operations, we implement handling procedures that are in harmony with each other. We make use of active temperature-controlled Envirotainer and CSafe containers, the electrical air-conditioning container Opticooler, Thermal Dolly and disposable thermal sheets equipped with thermal isolation features and minimize any and all risks in highly-critical medicinal products,” said Ciğal.

This practice of applying new technologies and innovations is also extended to perishables flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meat and fish, eggs, chocolates, dairy products, among many others,

Turkish Cargo is known for providing high-standard protection for these types of cargo through its sophisticated cold-chain facilities offering varying temperatures suited for each one.

Indeed, Turkish Cargo has come a long way and the future offers new opportunities and possibilities in the new normal.