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   Vol. 14  No. 29
Tuesday March 31, 2015

Keeping Up With FlyingTypers At PVG

Keeping Up With FlyingTypers At PVG

     The late Mayor of New York City Ed Koch loved to say to his constituents:
     “How Am I Doing As Mayor?”
     Sometimes hizzoner would get a glowing comment. Other times he might be damned to hell.

     We often get letters about various topics we have covered, opinions expressed and even, at times, heavy criticism of articles we have presented.
     But rarely do we get a reality check like this one.
     J. Patrick Murray is someone we are quite certain stands tall as the top IT guru in air cargo today.
     Smart, well spoken and able to translate his thoughts in a manner instantly comprehensible by all, Patrick, who heads up fast-growing CALOGI in Dubai, is a first-class mind when it comes to attending, digesting and then regurgitating air cargo session events.
     IATA WCS Reality CheckBut for IATA WCS, which took place in Shanghai early this month, Patrick tried a different approach.
     You see, for many of us—Patrick included—the event was too far away, too expensive, or just too tough to juggle in terms of schedules.
     So we asked Patrick to read up on the four exclusive articles we wrote and published about the event, which centered on the meetings and sessions, and then share his evaluation (good and bad).
     Here is the result.

Multilingual Tracks

     “I think that this is a great idea. We all tend to take it for granted that business is generally done in English. There are over 955 million Mandarin speakers in the world and only 360 million English speakers, so one could argue that the default should be that the proceedings are in Chinese with one or two tracks in English. An interesting thought.”

Dangerous Goods And The Threat To Air Safety

Patrick Murray     “We spend billions of dollars every year to ensure that passengers do not inadvertently bring dangerous goods onto the aircraft through baggage and carry on luggage screening. Thus, it is very difficult to inadvertently carry dangerous goods onto an aircraft. Contrast and compare this to the cargo industry, for instance:
     “He (Peter Hunt, Airline Ground Safety manager for Cathay Pacific Airlines) did not fail to emphasize at the very beginning of his presentation that ‘Lithium batteries are everywhere’—and, especially in the case of Hong Kong, this means they’re also in the mail, mostly undeclared, and often counterfeit.
     “The issue of intentionally undeclared or mis-declared shipments by wilfully non-compliant shippers was addressed by Mr. Hunt in no unclear words.
     “I recently read an article by Marie-Louise Morley on the AMSAFE website entitled ‘Playing with fire: Undeclared dangerous goods.’
     “Written in October 2011, it highlights that after nearly four years, the industry still has some way to go to address the problem of undeclared dangerous goods.
     “The article explains that goods sold via online auction and retail websites, such as eBay, raise concerns that frequently neither the seller nor the buyer has any understanding these are considered dangerous goods. These items are then not declared as dangerous goods, are not properly identified, are not safely packaged, and are not positioned in the aircraft in accordance with dangerous goods regulations. Today, these goods represent the biggest risk of fire in air cargo transportation, a risk that is increasing year-on-year as the popularity of Internet trading grows.
     “The article continues that to compound matters further, there is no general consensus within the industry on how to properly tackle the issue. While some advocate educating consumers via the auction websites on the safe packaging of dangerous goods, others believe in educating the actual shippers of the products. There are others still who believe in a program combining increased awareness and education, and stiffer penalties for those who do not adhere to regulations.
     “In the article, Chris Wren, sales and marketing director of AMSAFE, agrees appropriate training and education can help to address this problem. He also believes the industry is running out of time.
     “Following the Boeing 747 freighter airplane accident on September 3, 2010, at Dubai International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration, Transport Canada, and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority initiated a study to assess the magnitude of the potential threat to freighter airplanes from onboard cargo fires. The report made for sober reading, revealing that over the period 2011-2020 the predicted average number of cargo fire accidents would be in excess of six per year.
     “The good news is there are solutions in the marketplace, as FedEx ably demonstrated with the development of their pioneering main deck fire-suppression system in 2009. This system is the industry’s first onboard automatic fire-suppression system and is designed to provide heightened levels of safety during international over-water flights.
     “The highly sophisticated fire suppression system features a network of infrared thermal sensors, foaming agent generators and an overhead cargo-container injector that can control and extinguish a fire in a container in minutes. Fire blankets are also used to protect palletized loads. Current FAA regulations require that aircraft depressurize, divert to the closest airport and land immediately after any in-flight fire situation. This means the flight crew has about 30 minutes to safely land the aircraft. With the new FedEx safety system, aircraft on lengthy international flights, which can be up to three hours from land, are able to safely divert and land.
     “No doubt the rise of undeclared dangerous goods is a frightening prospect, but it has put safety high on many agendas. In some circles, safety is even considered more serious than security issues, and now is the time to act. If we don’t the potential consequences are unthinkable.”

Self Service Kiosks

     “This is a feature that Calogi is currently developing. The target audience are the many walk-in customers who deliver the one-off shipments here at Dubai Airport. The aim is to avoid the need for walk-in customers to visit the dnata counters, reduce the waiting times, increase the efficiency of the service, and offer a variety of payment options. We are still in the requirements stage and will delighted to share more information once it is operational.”

Putting The iPad On The Forklift

     “I’m very much in favor of utilizing tablets (iPads) in industrial areas of the air cargo business. Imagine conducting build up and breakdown activities from a full manifest view and recording delivery and acceptance while being able to add charges for additional/specialized services at the same time.
     “These devices can be powered from the forklift battery with no need to keep replacing and recharging the batteries. If they are detachable then all the better, since they can be used to scan bar codes. Needless to say, if they are detachable a good drop-resistance rating and crack-resistant screen are advantageous. Tablets for use in warehouses and other forklift environments should be rated to withstand repeated drops to concrete. Power management is another important consideration. When computers are detached from forklifts they run on their internal battery instead of the vehicle power supply. It’s also worth looking at the total cost of ownership. Tablets appear to be a lower-cost option, which is driving interest in the category. When used on forklifts, the list price of a tablet can be significantly different from its initial cost as it may be necessary to purchase Vehicle mounts, AC-DC power converter and cables, battery chargers and extra or replacement batteries, and a specialized dock with required interface ports (serial, USB, power).
     “An example is the ePic Mobile Warehouse Management System, used by Cargo Airline Services in the U.S., which uses an Apple iPad mounted on the forklift to optimize the process between the documentation department and the warehouse. The tablets are being used to electronically update cargo handling information at the warehouse level and make it available, in real-time, to every party in the logistic chain. While it can be argued the traditional handheld terminals can be used to do the same, the screens have limited screen size and can only be used for basic tasks, normally at a shipment rather than flight or consolidation level. It’s time for the industry to move forward.”

More Calls For Airfreight To Change

     “Once again a general consensus amongst participants and stakeholders regarding the fact that airfreight needs to change, with the best solution being technological innovation.
     “Comments from attendees included:
     “‘It is a fragmented and bureaucratic value chain,’ said Leif Rasmussen, president and CEO of SAS Cargo. ‘If we don’t try to free ourselves from this we will be in trouble.’
     “‘There is much more we can do,’ said Michael Steen, CCO of Atlas Air. ‘There is lots of obsolescence in the supply chain and several areas need to be addressed. Once we’ve done that we can increase market share.’
     “‘The only thing we can do is a total reinvention of processes. The mindset needs to change. We need more radical thinking,’ said Oliver Evans, chairman of TIACA.
     “‘If we can get the information to flow, weaknesses in air cargo would turn into opportunities,’ Robert Mellin, the head of distribution logistics for Ericsson, said. ‘But I don’t think you need to put in more money. It’s a self-paying process. I don’t see this transformation as something that will drive costs up, it will drive costs down.’
     “Thilo Schäfer, Vice-President Global Handling for Lufthansa Cargo, agreed that a cargo cloud would be ‘the next step.’ He added, ‘I don’t believe in messaging anymore.’
     “[It’s] interesting that the age-old concept of the Cargo Data Exchange, now renamed the Cargo Cloud, is still being muted by many as a potential savior for the industry. Given that airfreight shipments are around 1 percent of global trade, a Cargo Cloud would need to host and disseminate information relating to rail, sea, road (and drone?) shipments for this to become an attractive proposition for the industry. It is not entirely clear how this would really benefit airfreight versus other modes of transport. Meanwhile, I imagine the integrators are looking at the traditional air cargo industry with bemusement as another year passes.”

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