The arrival of COVID 19 and its catastrophic impact on the aviation and tourist sectors, has caused an almost total collapse of airlines and airports. The feeling within the industry is that cargo must now be recognised for its importance and that many of its traditional and somewhat old-fashioned methodology should be put aside in favour of new thinking and the intelligent use of technology. No part of the process is more important than road transfers of aircargo to and from airports.
The time taken to transport goods internationally by traditional airfreight, is very uncompetitive compared to integrators and e-commerce operators. In the case of Europe, much time could be saved by streamlining the ground process. At the bigger airports, especially during peak times, long lines of waiting vehicles are causing higher costs for the hauliers, increasing emissions and delays in delivering cargo. In order to improve and streamline this process, better liaison in exchanging of data between road feeders, handlers and airlines is essential.
For road feeders, real-time data on shipment availability combined with a reliable slot allocation plan would accelerate and improve performance. Amongst various technical solutions being trialled, the collaborative decision making (CDM) data sharing platform from CargoHub is proving popular with airlines, handlers and road feeder operators.
”The Trucking CDM platform can help our road feeder and handling business partners to minimize the (un)loading time and congestion. At the same time we benefit from the full visibility on our truck movements and handling status of our shipments. A successful role out of CDM will enable us to promise our customers on time arrival” comments Keesjan de Vries, cargo manager Europe of Malaysia Airlines, which joined the system in June. On time delivery for every airline is vital in this highly competitive business.
“Waiting hours at handlers’ warehouses are mostly due to lack of communication and transparency. There is often no contractual relations between the road feeder and handling company although both parties work on behalf of the airline” comments Stephan Pieters of Netherlands haulage giant Jan De Rijk.
“System integration by data sharing through the trucking CDM platform allows all parties to access real-time information is essential to eliminate congestion at airports. The only way forward is to work together as one community to support connectivity between stakeholders resulting in an increased speed of cargo transportation.”
The need to adopt new ideas and technology for the air cargo industry is greatly enhanced by the participation of InHolland University of Applied Sciences which has conducted in depth research into the Trucking CDM platform.
Giovanni Douven Project Manager and Research Fellow states:
“the Trucking CDM platform is the starting point for future research into a comprehensive Cross Chain Control Center (4C) project for air cargo. The complexity of connections between parties involved provides extensive research and education possibilities for us. The 4C project forms a ‘living laboratory’ or eco system to further examine and educate. We believe that all players in the air cargo industry should be connected in the cloud, where each player should share relevant data with other parties involved.”
A Schiphol based steering group has been set up which includes-ACN the Netherlands trade organisation, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, CargoHub, dnata, Fast Forward freight and InHolland plus Jan de Rijk, Menzies World Cargo, Swissport and Wallenborn. The link between education and air cargo practice is very valuable.”
Raoul Paul, head of CargoHub feels that the cooperation with InHolland is an important factor in technical development for the industry.” This cooperation has accelerated the development of trucking CDM, and the first phase has resulted in an advanced door capacity management system for handling agents, including a KPI dashboard for all participants. But we are taking things further. As a consequence of the Covid 19 social distancing economy, further digitalisation has been necessary, so we have expanded our mobile app suite to incorporate slot booking with all relevant data. Handling agents can accept and deliver shipments by using the app with a digital handshake protocol. This will support forwarders to push digital transformation and to improve their service to shippers by providing full supply chain visibility”.