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Strike Aviation Group

Strike Aviation Group

 

Ai Logistics Network

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 300Virgin Atlantic will increase its cargo-only flights by 35% to nearly 600 in June with the launch of new routes including Beijing and Brussels following the success of its May programme.

June will see a total of 601 flights – 597 cargo-only services and 4 repatriation flights for the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). As the airline continues to extend its network to support demand for export and import cargoes as UK and international businesses continue their recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak, this month’s schedule highlights for customers include:

The launch of daily flights connecting London Heathrow and Beijing
Virgin Atlantic’s first-ever flights to Brussels, arriving from New York JFK before connecting directly to London twice-a-week
Three flights a week to Chicago, starting on 4 June
Increased Mumbai services to three a week, with UK departures every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from June 6
Three-times weekly London-Atlanta flights from June 9
A return to Nigeria with weekly Lagos flights to and from London
Increase to daily flights to and from Hong Kong

The airline’s growing schedule means cargo customers now have access to direct cargo capacity connecting London, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Lagos, Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels. Kales Airline Services, Virgin general sales agency in Brussels will market its increased direct capacity in Belgium.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “I want to personally thank all of our cargo customers who have supported our cargo-only flying. We’re proud to be increasing the number of frequencies and routes we can offer in June as international trade steps us its recovery and lockdowns are eased around the world. While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to restrict passenger flying, our cargo operation has never been more important both to our business and in keeping vital global supply chains running.”

In May, Virgin Atlantic operated 446 cargo-only flights, including 66 charters for customers, averaging 52 weekly departures from the UK. The airline carried 4.4 million kilos of cargo into the UK and 5.3 million kilos of exports, producing the highest monthly cargo revenues in the airline’s 36-year history.

The airline also looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department for Health and the NHS, working with them on 17 cargo charters per week from Shanghai and Beijing throughout June and July, bringing in the supplies that the teams here in the UK urgently need to care for patients. To date the airline has carried over 44 million items of PPE from China to the UK, including over 33 million isolation and medical masks, as well as millions of disposable aprons and gloves, and protective coveralls. Other PPE shipments to date include eye protection covers, ventilators, isolation gowns, injection and infusion pumps, and disposable samplers and swabs.

Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, added: “May was an historic month for our cargo business, which is a quite remarkable achievement given the current trading environment. As well as demonstrating our customers’ confidence in Virgin Atlantic, this is a tribute to everyone in the airline who remains so committed to maintaining our customer offering despite the uncertainties which persist in the market. June will see this offering grow again and we are hoping for similar customer support now we have proven the resilience of our cargo-only flying programme.”

savannah port handlingThe deepening of the Savannah harbor has set a new precedent with four dredges working simultaneously, the Army Corps of Engineers announced.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) includes two dredges keeping the channel at its current authorized depth of 42 feet followed by two dredges taking the channel to its new depth of 47 feet. The dredges work without disrupting the flow of commercial traffic to or from the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal and other facilities along the river.

The entire deepening project is approximately 62 percent complete. The inner harbor constitutes the final portion. The outer harbor, a roughly 20-mile channel extending into the Atlantic Ocean, has already been deepened to 49 feet at low tide.

"The Savannah District continues to manage the intensely complicated task of coordinating dredge actions and placement of dredged material to ensure safety, compliance with contract requirements and timeliness to reach our goal of completing this major deepening in January 2022," Col. Daniel H. Hibner, commander of the Corps' Savannah District said. "This effort ensures the harbor will improve the ability of Savannah to meet the demands of today and tomorrow."

With finely tuned coordination, each dredge and its associated support vessels must be at the right place at the right time. The two smaller maintenance dredges remove built up shoaling and sediment, then move on followed by the larger deepening dredges. All vessels must move aside whenever commercial vessels enter their area. In addition, workers must move pipelines leading from the dredges to the dredge material disposal areas. After commercial traffic passes, everything must return to continue the routine. All dredges work 24 hours a day, every day.

"The cooperation we receive from GPA, our dredging contractors, the harbor pilots, the Coast Guard and others demonstrates the dedication this community has for deepening the Savannah harbor," Hibner said.

The federal government and the state of Georgia share the cost of the deepening. Georgia's Department of Transportation and the Georgia Ports Authority serve as the state sponsors for the project.

"Georgia's ports are among our greatest economic development assets and play a critical role in creating jobs and investment opportunities across the state," said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. "Through the Port of Savannah, we feed the world with Georgia Grown products, and support manufacturing and retail activity across the country. The improvements we are making today through the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will help ensure Georgia's economic vitality for decades to come."

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said the progress surging ahead on SHEP is good news for port users: "With the challenges our economy is facing, the savings a deeper harbor will mean for our customers can't come soon enough," Lynch said. "We're excited to see so much work getting done as the Corps of Engineers coordinates these efforts."

The project will allow today's larger container vessels to enter and leave the harbor during a longer tide window and with more cargo aboard. According to a Corps of Engineers feasibility study, lower container slot costs on the larger vessels accommodated by the deeper harbor will save U.S. producers and retailers $282 million per year in transportation expenses. The study found that every dollar spent on construction will yield $7.30 in benefits.

Because the project will have such a large positive effect on the nation's economy, SHEP has received significant federal support. In the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2020, $130.3 million is devoted to SHEP, while another $28.6 million in maintenance and operations funding is going toward Savannah River maintenance dredging.

"I would like to thank Sen. David Perdue, Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Buddy Carter for their work to ensure sufficient funding to improve this vital federal waterway," said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. "I would also like to thank the many staff members across the Corps of Engineers, and particularly at the Savannah District. Their efforts are recognized and appreciated by Savannah's entire maritime community."

AIPUTAberdeen Standard Investments’ AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust) has secured a lease extension to 2030 with Kuehne+Nagel for its Heathrow South Cargo Centre warehouse at Heathrow Airport, securing the site’s pivotal role as a nationally-important facility for the movement and storage of imported/exported pharmaceuticals and other medical products, such as life science-related IT equipment.

Heathrow South Cargo Centre is one of a number of AIPUT’s locations working to boost the nation’s resilience in the fight against Covid-19.

Kuehne+Nagel - the world’s second largest airfreight forwarder - is an established customer of AIPUT, having operated out of the 208,000 sq ft Heathrow South Cargo Centre since 2014. GlaxoSmithKline is the leading customer of the warehouse facility, which represents a significant share of the UK’s pharmaceutical imports and exports. Kuehne+Nagel is joined at the Heathrow South Cargo centre by Do&Co Catering and GE Aviation.

Heathrow Airport is the largest UK import hub for pharmaceuticals and medical products, handling up to 41% by value of the UK’s total pharmaceutical imports. AIPUT has supported the business growth of Kuehne+Nagel’s specialist air-cargo divisions on a number of occasions in recent years. The company also operates AIPUT’s Perishables Handling Centre at Hatton Cross, a 72,500 sq on-airport temperature-controlled warehouse facility specifically designed to process imported food airfreight from all over the world.

Heathrow has been repurposed in recent weeks to focus mainly on importing essential airfreight products to feed and support the UK’s recovery. The gateway airport is currently handling up to 95 dedicated cargo flights each day - 14 times the number in normal times. Overall cargo volumes passing through the airport have been significantly lower than usual due to the dramatic reduction in belly-freight usually carried in long-haul passenger aircraft.

Nick Smith, Fund Manager for AIPUT said: “Kuehne+Nagel is one of a number of AIPUT customers and commercial partners at Heathrow that have responded magnificently in ramping up their business operations to help support the nation’s health - in particular our NHS - in the most challenging circumstances. It’s hugely inspiring to see businesses vital to the operations of our leading airports, stepping up to the mark and proving the importance of the UK’s aviation industry to our national wellbeing, as well as to the future economic recovery of UK plc.

WFS Lana Marks US Ambassador to South Africa with the newly arrived ventillators in the WFS cargo terminal in Johhanesburg Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) welcomed Lana Marks, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, to its cargo terminal at Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo International Airport to personally oversee the arrival of 600kg of respirators donated by the United States to support the recovery of Covid-19 patients.

The Ambassador was joined by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Manager for Cargo Security, Andrew Dhlakama, and USAID Mission Director, John Groarke, to witness the first shipment of US-made ventilators. The U.S. government is supplying up to 1,000 much-needed ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa to assist with its national response to the coronavirus as part of a $40 million donation.

The ventilators are highly specialised medical equipment used in intensive care units to support individuals whose lungs are not working adequately despite receiving oxygen, assisting them with their breathing as they recover. The ventilator donation is in addition to previously announced U.S. support to South Africa for its COVID-19 response, which has also included additional multi-million dollar funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAid, as well as donations of personal protective equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Malcolm Tonkin, General Manager Cargo South Africa at WFS said: “We were honoured to welcome the U.S. Ambassador to see this vital equipment being handled by our team in Johannesburg. This is a tremendous response from the U.S. to South Africa’s call for more ventilator capacity and WFS is proud to have been able to offer its expertise to ensure the equipment was handled securely and sent to intensive care units in hospitals as quickly as possible, where it will be able to save many lives.”

Qatar freighter unloading copyWorldwide Flight Services’ (WFS) cargo handling team in Paris has been working tirelessly to rapidly process shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) delivered by customer Qatar Airways Cargo for hospitals across France treating patients with Covid-19.

WFS has been the airline’s cargo handling partner at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport since 2000, providing warehouse handling and ramp handling for Qatar Airways Cargo services as well as trucking.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Qatar Airways Cargo has been one of the main airlines carrying supplies of medical equipment to France, including surgical gloves, face masks, aprons and medical kits. So far, WFS has handled 12 Boeing 777X freighter flights operated by the airline, including charters organised by two of France’s leading freight forwarding companies, Bolloré Logistics and Geodis. Most flights have originated in China and Vietnam.

Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways said, “Paris is one of our biggest cargo stations in Europe and, in these very challenging times, we have been able to deliver millions of items of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to help the coronavirus recovery programme in France. Our ability to do this quickly and efficiently has been possible thanks to the support of the WFS team in Paris, who have been highly efficient in handling both the inbound shipments as well as the general cargo we have carried for our customers on the outbound flights. We value this partnership.”

Laurent Bernard, Managing Director Cargo France at WFS, commented: “One of the most positive aspects of the coronavirus response is the way the entire air cargo industry is pulling together and playing such a vital role in transporting and delivering PPE supplies to help medical professionals across the globe. We are very proud of the role we are playing in France, working alongside major customers like Qatar Airways Cargo, to help make a positive difference. The airline’s words of encouragement mean a great deal to our team in Paris.”

cargo partner new warehouse office BUD City copyright cargo partner 01Cargo-partner broadening its service offering in Western Europe and has opened two new locations in Belgium and the Netherlands. A new warehouse including office space in Roermond, Netherlands, as well as an office at the airport in Liège, Belgium, mark the expansion of cargo-partner’s regional network.

With the opening of the new Sales and Customer Service office at the Liège airport (LGG), cargo-partner is highlighting its strength in air freight and establishing direct representation at this important air freight hub. The airport in Liège has stood out recently with strong volume growth, a complete absence of flight restrictions and customer-friendly solutions while other European air freight transshipment sites have stagnated. Numerous companies from the pharmaceutical and automotive industry have moved into the region and are benefiting from the favorable geographic and economic situation with a broad catchment area. Thanks to the many carriers active at the Liège airport, it has developed into a significant e-commerce hub. As the cargo-partner shipping volumes at LGG have grown continuously, the decision was finally made to establish a new branch office, which went into operation already in April.

Just a little more than an hour’s drive away, cargo-partner opened a new office and warehouse site in Roermond, The Netherlands, at the start of May. The convenient transportation connections of this location in southeastern Netherlands, right on the border with Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, were decisive for the site selection. Three capital cities and the German Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with 10 million residents are all located within 250 kilometers of this logistics hotspot. In addition, 60 percent of the purchasing power of the European Union is situated within 500 km. The most important airports of the region are also close by.

The office in Roermond will be responsible for processing numerous national and international overland shipments by cargo-partner, while the new warehouse will function as a consolidation center for the regional logistics business when it opens at the beginning of June. The first regular truck routes between Western Europe and South- and Northeastern Europe already commenced operation on May 11th with the first connection out of Vienna. Moreover, cargo-partner offers combined road and rail transportation solutions from and to China via numerous rail transportation nodes in Europe.

The new warehouse has 7,000 m² of storage area as well as a cross-docking area and eight truck docks. The site is under continuous video surveillance and is equipped with a CO₂ gas extinguishing system and state-of-the-art fire safety equipment. Hazardous goods can be stored in IBC containers, in drums and on pallets. The site is also suitable for the storage of hazardous goods packages of classes 2.3, 4.1, 6.1, 8 and 9.

Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, on the decision to open the two cargo-partner locations: “The positive business developments of our branches in the Benelux countries led to the decision to expand our network in this dynamic region with its important hubs. We are certain that the outstanding work of our local colleagues will add tremendous value and enhance the service quality of our entire company.”

cargo-partner has been present in the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Roermond) since 2006 and in Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp, Liège) since 2007. In Rotterdam, cargo-partner also operates its “Project Cargo Competence Center”, which is specialized in the transport of extra-large and heavy cargo.

ACS AntonovAir Charter Service claims that its offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong have proved invaluable in helping to arrange the hundreds of flights the company has booked to carry more than 20,000 tonnes of personal protective equipment around the world to over 60 different countries.

Justin Lancaster, ACS’s Group Commercial Director, commented: “We have been booking aircraft carrying protective equipment around the world since the first week of February, initially flying into China and other parts of Asia but, due the spread of the virus, we have now flown aid to all parts of the globe – more than 60 countries.
“Whilst the cargoes have been a variety of personal protective equipment, 20,000 tonnes would be equivalent to almost five billion face masks!

“We’ve used all types of aircraft including the huge Antonov AN-225, AN-124s, Boeing B747s and Boeing B777s. Due to passenger aircraft not flying on their usual routes at the moment, we have been able to source carriers willing to fill them up with cargo packed securely onto the seats and in the belly hold space.

“Every one of our 27 offices has been involved in this incredible effort, and having our Asian offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where almost all of the cargo is now originating, has ensured smooth operations at the airports and enabled us to be up to speed with the latest airport situations and requirements. Being able to deal with local agents, local shippers and local airports all in the local language and with local currency has meant our charters have run as smoothly as is possible through airports dealing with unprecedented pressure and demand.

“Much of our regular work disappeared overnight, but a re-footing of the business means that these charters are going someway to replacing some of the charters we would usually be doing, as well as some project charters that have had to be cancelled.

“Now is one of those times where our industry really can make a difference and we feel like we are truly playing our part in helping the world fight this pandemic.”

DHL express germanyDHL Express has acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce, the UK-based e-commerce firm that helped the logistics company develop its hugely successful DHL Africa eShop platform (www.Africa-eShop.dhl).

Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, says that the acquisition demonstrates the company’s commitment to growing e-commerce on the continent. “Acquiring a stake in Link Commerce – the company behind the MallforAfrica.com platform – shows our tremendous support of e-commerce in Africa. It also positions us to realize our ambitions of growing the eShop offering globally, and work on the scalability of the platform when the opportunity arises.”

”DHL’s investment in Link Commerce is a perfect fit. With the DHL investment we are now able to grow faster by leveraging the amazing shipping network DHL has built globally. This will help us expand our white-label turnkey B2B eCommerce platform and provide online shoppers with the ability to shop more and get more at great shipping rates fast.” said Chris Folayan Founder and CEO of Link Commerce and Mall for Africa.

Just over one year on from its initial launch, the DHL Africa eShop (www.Africa-eShop.dhl) continues to see massive growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Heymans notes that the DHL Africa eShop has consistently outperformed expectations since its launch. “The platform was developed in partnership with Link Commerce and initially launched in 11 African countries in April 2019. It was an immediate success, gaining around 5,000 subscribers within the first six weeks. Today, DHL Africa eShop is live in 34 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa with tens of thousands of users across the continent.”

The DHL Africa eShop offers African consumers unprecedented access to international retailers via an easy-to-use platform, with great convenience, speed and reliability. “DHL Africa eShop enables African customers to shop directly from over 200 US- and UK-based online retailers, with purchases delivered directly to their door, by DHL Express.”

Heymans adds, “Online buying behaviours and product mixes have evolved quite significantly since the onset of COVID-19. Some of the most popular items on the platform now include productivity and communications devices to support remote working, home and kitchen appliances, entertainment gadgets and health related products, in addition to the historic orders of fashion and beauty products. Consumer interests have shifted towards goods that are harder to source locally. With brick-and-mortar retailers in many regions operating at reduced capacity, consumers have turned to online shopping to acquire the goods they need. It’s been great to see eShop providing vital online shopping access during this time, with impressive growth coming from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda and Kenya during the various stages of lockdowns, and with South Africa back on board to access e-commerce, we are thrilled for our users to be able to use service offering once more.

Assurance for delivery has become a top priority for consumers,” says Heymans. “ Basket sizes have also increased, as shoppers seek to get all of what they need immediately, rather than to space out their orders. Online shopping supports the ultimate level of social distancing – connecting consumers to everything they need at a click of a button.

Heymans explains that while the e-commerce market in Sub-Saharan Africa has been largely overlooked by international retailers in the past, it currently offers some of the biggest opportunities for rapid growth in the world.

E-commerce is proving to be one of the most important and fastest-growing market sectors in Africa. A report published by Rapid B2C forecasts that Africa’s online retail market will reach an 11-digit dollar value in 2020, while another report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that this value could potentially reach $75 billion by 2025.

“These growth predictions, coupled with the incredible demand and quick uptake of the DHL Africa eShop offering, confirm that this acquisition is the right move to ensure DHL Express is geared for continued growth,” adds Heymans.

As part of the acquisition, Heymans has been made a board member of London-based Link Commerce Ltd. “We have no doubt that deepening our partnership with Link Commerce in this way will take both companies, as well as e-commerce on the continent and new markets across the globe, to new heights. I am honoured to take on this new role as part of DHL’s growth strategy.”

“ At Link Commerce our strategy is to help businesses grow and provide shoppers globally with access to US and UK online retailers like never before. DHL’s investment in the company gives us that edge we need to expand rapidly globally and access to products like never before,” said Chris Folayan, Founder and CEO of Link Commerce Ltd.

With operations across 51 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, servicing customers, efficient delivery is an important factor for DHL Express. “Our strategic investments in innovative technology and connectivity across the region, are all aimed at promoting global trade and ensuring that businesses and individuals across the continent can leverage global opportunities,” Heymans concludes.

Wilhelmsen CrewWilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) is crowdfunding to support Mission to Seafarers (MtS), one of the largest maritime charities serving merchant crews around the world in addressing the hardships faced by the affected seafarers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption on crew change operations. The fall out effect of this has impacted approximately 150,000 seafarers onboard unable to be signed off and another 150,000 seafarers onshore unable to sign on. This disruption has impacted the affected seafarers’ welfare. For those onboard, the mental distress and anxiety to get home can be overwhelming. For those onshore, the pressure to generate income for their love ones can become overbearing.

Funds raised by employees, supporters, friends, and the wider industry will be used by MtS to further amplify their existing programs that have been helping numerous seafarers in this difficult period. Their existing program includes provision of mental health support and food aid for the affected seafarers and families globally.

GOTHENBURG RoRoPort of Gothenburg has increased its container volume, there have been no cancelled direct calls, and none are planned.

Figures published by the port authorities reveal that container volumes at the 10 largest ports in Europe fell by an average of five per cent during the first quarter compared with last year. In contrast, container volumes at the Port of Gothenburg increased by eight per cent during the same period.

“The European trend is striking although at the same time we are particularly proud that thanks to our consistently high level of customer service and a flexible and developed product offering we have emerged unscathed,” said Dennis Olesen, chief executive of the container terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg.

According to Elvir Dzanic, Port of Gothenburg chief executive, the open approach adopted by Sweden to the world, and the fact that Swedish industry has continued to export during the Covid-19 pandemic, are further factors that make the Port of Gothenburg the exception in the European port statistics table.

“We offer a wide range of services, a highly efficient rail infrastructure, and the capacity to remain sustainable even more testing times. Freight flows from all over the country are being concentrated increasingly on Gothenburg as companies reassess their logistics concepts," he said.

No direct calls cancelled in Gothenburg

Large numbers of calls by ocean-going vessels have been cancelled at European ports during the first quarter, disrupting freight flows. In Gothenburg, no direct calls have been cancelled – services to and from Asia using the world’s largest vessels have continued, week in, week out.

“Weekly services between Gothenburg and Asia have proved to be the most important lifeline for Swedish imports and exports. Ensuring traffic continues without disruption is vital. And we also see more goods able to become rail born and move through Gothenburg, which is reassuring as it brings continuity to Swedish trade with the world,” said Dennis Olesen.

Despite the difficulty of predicting when the Covid-19 pandemic might end, Elvir Dzanic is upbeat about the future, both for the port in general and for container traffic in particular.

“As we were among the first to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, with quick, decisive measures early on, we were able to assure access to this major freight hub, allowing us to stay focused on the road ahead. Together with the other companies at the port we are working ceaselessly to satisfy the needs of the market through a series of key initiatives, including deepening of the fairway, enhancing transshipment potential, and expanding the port’s rail concept, which is already one of the most successful in the world,” said Elvir Dzanic.

APMT Buenos AiresAPM Terminals Buenos Aires has commissioned a new cold-store chamber. The chamber can maintain constant temperatures as low as -35°C, making suitable to handle a variety of cargos including fruit, frozen produce and meat which require strict temperature control throughout the supply chain.

“With the current COVID-19 pandemic, our cooling chamber may have arrived at a vital moment, given that cargo often have to be stored at specific temperatures to maintain their quality,” said Marcelo Siminet, Head of Operations in APM Terminals Buenos Aires.

The chamber is located within the customers bonded area of the terminal, reducing the need for additional transport costs, inconvenience, risk and paperwork associated with off-terminal facilities. It is fully approved by SENASA, the Argentinian government ministry responsible for executing national policies on animal and plant health and quality, and food safety.

The 60 cubic meter chamber, measuring 11.84m long, 1.96m wide and 2.55 high, can store up to 11 standard pallets or 14 Euro pallets simultaneously. The innovative chamber is operated by a specially trained team, who understand the importance of maintaining quality from origin to destination. In addition to storage the chamber can be used to maintain constant temperatures during the stuffing process.

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