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   Vol. 17 No. 66
Monday October 8, 2018

Kicking The Cans With ULD Care

There is a great if not slightly unknown and perhaps overlooked industry event that began today Monday in Asia. On October 8, ULD CARE opens its 31st Annual ULD CARE Conference in Guangzhou, China.

A Joyful Obsession

     If you think a 45-minute dissertation on air cargo straps is a bit much, you will get no argument from us.
     But for Urs Wiesendanger, (above right) President, ULD CARE, and Bob Rogers, (above left) VP & Treasurer, ULD CARE, kicking the cans has been a joyful lifelong obsession.
     To Urs and Bob, the devices are eye candy on the hardstand. It’s always a beautiful thing to see them trail around behind tugs and move up from the ramp into the bellies and main decks of waiting aircraft.

Love Your ULD

     Urs and Bob love ULDs with an uncommon passion heard and felt in the way this charming duo fly off on the subject.
     So as a taste of today’s event, expect that the aforementioned China gathering will include some dialogue that goes something like this.

The Blockchain Proposition

     “OK,” declares Bob Rogers, getting right down to business, “so BLE (bluetooth low energy) tells you where your ULD is, but it doesn’t tell you who has it!”
     “This,” Urs states, “is where Blockchain comes on board!”

Just For Instance

     “Can you imagine the Fedex delivery man coming to your office, handing over a package, and not collecting a signature?
     “Or a handover process that relied on a piece of paper?” Urs says.
     “Basically,” Bob chimes in, “ULD handover processes have not advanced since the 70s, and until recently seemed likely to remain that way for the next millennium.”

The Name Says It All

     ULD CARE, as the name implies, gets in and out and all around ULD devices that are seen but often not heard from in the air cargo business.

IULDUG To Blockchain

     “But,” Bob Rogers insists, “ULD CARE has for over 40 years run the IULDUG system, which our member airlines use to record and manage the transfer of ULD between airlines (Interlining).
     “This system has never been adopted beyond airline to airline transfer, although it’s always been a ULD CARE ambition to somehow bring all ULD transfers, regardless of the parties concerned, onto a single industry neutral platform,” Urs insists.
     “Enter Blockchain,” Bob Rogers smiles, “and we are not talking Bitcoin, or even Cryptocurrency here.
     “Blockchain has a clear applicability to asset transfer in logistics. See our Blockchain Trend Report as just one example.”
     “Already both SQ and CX (Asia Miles) run their loyalty programs on Blockchain,” Bob said. A recent report in Asia Miles outlines the process.

So Why Not?

     “So ULD and Blockchain . . . why not?” Bob says.
     “Indeed one major airline here in Asia has already done proof of concept on a blockchain-based system using a handheld app for data input.
     “ULD CARE is deeply engaged in evaluating why and how Blockchain can replace our current central server-based IULDUG system that has handled airline to airline ULD transfers (Interlining) for decades,” Bob Rogers concludes.

Fair Play For ULDs

     “The IATA RP 1654,” Urs says, “defines the ULD Control receipt which records the transfer of a ULD between parties and which signifies a transfer of responsibility for that ULD between the parties.
     “But as we all know,” Urs said, “ULD don’t get the treatment they require, and as a result end up on the aircraft in an unserviceable condition.”
     “Blockchain and BLE, can, between them, undo this Gordian Knot, freeing ULD from its current status near the very bottom of the food chain and putting it fair and square where it deserves to be, as a responsibly controlled and handled item of aircraft equipment.”

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