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   Vol. 17 No. 23
Tuesday April 17, 2018

Talk To Geoffrey




RE: ULDs Get No Respect

Dear Geoffrey,

     Great to see you shine a well-deserved spotlight on the work of Urs Wiesendanger and Bob Rogers. (FlyingTypers, April 10, 2018) They really deserve some recognition for their ongoing devotion to the safe and better handling of ULDs.
     Your article brought back many memories of the numerous meetings where I used to run into Urs and Bob.
     Some memorable meetings come to mind: IATA Vancouver and Bangkok, TIACA Amsterdam, ACE in Munich, etc., etc. I first participated with the IATA ULD Interline group at a meeting in Tokyo in 1982 where I met the famous (and sadly, since deceased) Fred Flückiger of Swissair. Fred was the main force behind an early and excellent ULD control system, which was later sold to SITA Cargo.
     I like to think that I had some influence over SITA purchasing this system.
     When SITA came to try and sell me their Cargo management system in Bahrain, I asked "What about a ULD control module? They did not have it at the time, but within a very short time the IATA/Swissair ULD control system was added to the Cargo Management suite of solutions.
     Talking about Unloved Devices, from my experience nobody at a station cares about ULDs until they are out of stock. I recall a carrier, which I shall not name that had to stop passenger check in at Heathrow Terminal 3 because of a lack of cans.
     Of course the flight suffered a delay.
     They had to wait until the inbound containers had been unloaded before they could accept more passengers.
     Does that still happen today, I wonder?
     Keeping ULD stock balanced was a major headache but made much easier with the former SITA (now CHAMP Cargosystems) ULD Manager system.
     I also recall the heartache of brand new pallets, which I had managed with great difficulty to purchase for the carrier, returning from India and Pakistan with the nets cut off.
     Or watching cargo-handling staff using a forklift to pick up containers by the roof, and watching all the rivets pop.
     The quality and condition of the ULD equipment is a good indicator of the quality of the airline.
     Of course nowadays most carriers lease units and they look worse than ever.
     Please relay my very best wishes to Urs and Bob and all the others from the "ULD World."
     Loved the Rodney Dangerfield clip. Brings back even more Memories :-)
     Keep up the great work.

Best regards,
Peter Walter
Champ Cargosystems (ret.)

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