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   Vol. 16 No. 65
Tuesday August 15, 2017

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ATC Always Takes Care

      August’s high summer skies may elicit the desire to kick back and enjoy the hazy, crazy, lazy days of summer 2017, but business must go on.

Summer Falls Back

      For us, it is never too early to ready for a Oktoberfest in Frankfurt (September 27) hosted by CEO ATC Aviation Services Ingo Zimmer.
      The gathering with Ingo and Dagmar Hanau (ATC's Group Marketing Manager) eases the transition into autumn in the best way.
      The great company, fun & games, beer, and plates of delectable foods (especially the pfefferling mushrooms) are worth a trip.

The Tiffany Of GSSAs

      But there is much more behind the fast rising “Tiffany GSSA” known today as ATC.

Always Takes The Big Picture

      For years a tendency in air cargo has been for airlines to either get rid of their cargo business completely, or reduce staff to a minimum and employ a General Sales and Service Agent (GSSA).
      Today in 2017 only a handful of carriers dedicate their own staff and facilities to cargo.
      But as cargo continues to grow as a profit center and costs—including personnel, fuel, and security—continue to increase, no doubt continued pressure on the solo operators will draw the attention of bean counters.
      Most of air cargo already knows that matching the production cost of moving the goods versus net income has made service agents winners as well.

Zimmer Is Elite

      Frankfurt-based ATC Aviation Services is among an elite breed of GSSAs that seem able to think local and act globally at the same time.
      Chief Operating Officer Ingo Zimmer says one aspect of ATC’s global success has resulted from offering some or all of the services on his GSSA menu, which has been key to unlocking new opportunities all around.
      “Our global group offers any combination of options to airlines—including just sales in Austria, and that’s it, or all European coverage including service disciplines such as ground handling supervision, road feeder services etc.

A Global Offering

      “In fact, our portfolio ( is testimony that carriers from all over the world find utilizing our services in any number of varieties makes good sense.
      “But all of our service partners have one basic priority in common—to realize the highest possible contribution from carrying cargo, and the least possible headache.”
      Mr. Zimmer also points out that rising fees and handling charges at major airports are always a critical component of concern along with the well known other usual suspects outlined here.
      “We can always create a package as part of our agreements, offering carriers some refuge and one less thing to worry about.
      “ATC is, in reality a company that has emerged in the service quarter serving up a mix of both passenger and freighter airlines.
      “We note that all of our carriers are remarkably more cost-conscious than they were even just a few years ago.
      “In 2017 every single cargo flight is carefully scrutinized.
      “That means that in almost every case, freighters and even companies that are less efficient are disappearing.”

ATC Photos

Where ATC Gets The Job Done

      We wonder how ATC Aviation Services, which represents airlines from different continents, understands the goings on in each of the trade lanes it serves.
      “At ATC, our service teams apply their knowledge and market know-how to supply specialized expertise across our main markets.
      “Our global results from this approach have proven to be much more rewarding all around especially as compared to a ‘one size fits all,’ or ‘everyone must conduct business by our set of rules’ approach.
      “ATC people who are specialized in routes to the U.S. or Russia and Central Asia, for example, combine thorough market knowledge of the airlines serving these markets and local obstacles with a working understanding of local language.”

Ingo Began As An Agent

      “Our approach is simple, but a major benefit for ATC customers.
      “I learned a long time ago as a cargo agent that hands-on local knowledge and total communication between the parties is essential to the business of serving and keeping customers.
      “Everybody needs to know what to expect every step of the way.
      “It is this geographical dedication I think that makes us a leader in the market.”

ATC Market Force Since 1970s

      ATC’s roots date back to 1971 when ATC Air Transport Consultants Ltd. was established in Switzerland as a charter broker.
      ATC was founded in 1979 is a pioneer in the field of cargo GSA for scheduled carriers, a concept which was then introduced successfully in other European countries.
      In fact, during the 1980s ATC Group was the first GSA organization to provide coverage with dedicated offices across several European countries.
      In 1995 key management took over ATC and ATC Aviation Services Ltd. was born.

ATC – Always Takes Care

      New strategies were introduced based on the corporate slogan: ATC Always Takes Care.
      In 2004, ATC Aviation Services Ltd. became a member of the World Freight Company Group, creating a worldwide network of GSSAs.
      In 2007, Air Support Amsterdam and Brussels became full members of the ATC Aviation Group in the Benelux. Seven years later in 1978, EC Cargo Spain joined the ATC Aviation Service Group, adding offices in Madrid and Barcelona.
      In 2011, AMS France was renamed ATC Aviation Services, as well as Air Support Belgium and Air Support Holland. In 2011, TCC, The Cargo Connection in South Africa, became a full member of the ATC Aviation Group.
      Also in 2011 new ATC offices opened in Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, and Sweden.
      In 2013, ATC landed big in the U.S., acquiring Houston-based general sales agent Platinum Air Cargo USA LLC.
      In 2014 new offices were opened in South America including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela and the expansion has continued through today with more than 32 offices around the world.
      "ATC owns and operates all our offices; there are no subcontracted operations,” says Ingo.
      “What that means is consistency—same centralized state of the art IT, clear group procedure manual, and hand-selected top managers. All customer service staff at ATC has forwarder/airline backgrounds.
      “In an era of constant downward pressure, ATC does not embrace the cut-rate approach of filling our staff positions with cheap labor.
      “So far, our strategy has paid off as more than 75 airline partners have chosen ATC, realizing that in the long run our offering keeps customers and delivers not only cost savings, but also innovation to the industry.”

A Lifetime In Air Cargo

      Ingo Zimmer took the classic German apprenticeship as a freight forwarder at Danzas GmbH.
      He joined Swiss ATC and later guided Germany to the top position in the group.
      Although reserved and quite unassuming, Ingo Zimmer has risen to his current position as ATC CEO, but he remains a hands-on, customer-centric individual, available and ready for business around the clock.
      Ingo is a dynamic leader and also a caring father for a very international family.
      “As mentioned, the most important aspect of our service is our people.
      “ATC brings the full menu to the table, with all the bells and whistles, offering complete end-to-end capability in all air cargo disciplines to get the job done.
      “But our employees drive our continued success and growth into new markets.
      “ATC will be as big as it wants to be, but along the way we will never lose touch with our customers, who drive everything we do,” Ingo assures.    
      Ingo Zimmer:

Swiss Streamlines Americas

  Effective October 1, Swiss World Cargo realigns the America’s into two regions: Western, Southern USA & South America and Northeast/Midwest USA and Canada.
  Northeast/Midwest USA and Canada will continue to be led by Mr. Michael Ganz, based in New York.
  Cargo veteran Hendrik Falk (AirBridgeCargo) joins Swiss WorldCargo as new Regional Manager Western, Southern USA & South America based in Atlanta.
  Mr. René Brechbuehl, who had been successfully heading the region South-East USA & South America, retires from Swiss WorldCargo in October after a stellar career of 44 years of service with Swissair and SWISS.

  Even More Capacity . . . IAG Cargo said it is adding Nashville to its B747-8 freighter schedules beginning in May 2018 with five flights a week.
IAG also plans to increase its daily flights to Philadelphia and Phoenix to ten flights per week as it begins its summer schedules next year.

Air Berlin Goes Bust

  On Tuesday, Air Berlin said that it has filed for insolvency proceedings after its main shareholder Etihad Airways said it "would not provide any further financial support."
  Etihad had reported huge losses in 2016, and sees its two major European airline investments—Air Berlin and Alitalia on the financial rocks, with both seeking bidders for their business.
  Air Berlin reportedly has secured a bridging loan to keep operations aloft, while bidders are sought.
Jonathan Wober  Jonathan Wober, analyst at CAPA-Centre for Aviation, told Reuters"Lufthansa has played a canny waiting game over a number of years and is now well-placed to cherry pick those parts of Air Berlin's operation that suit it best without buying the whole loss-making enterprise."

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Euro Shippers Overview Summer 2017


Rogier Spoel     Air cargo should be able to guarantee shippers an efficient, high-speed, and transparent service to justify premium rates. But at the moment LSPs are frequently not able to, according to Rogier Spoel, Policy Manager for Air Freight at the European Shippers’ Council.
      He told FlyingTypers that air freight stakeholders need to improve speeds and reduce paperwork to meet the rapidly evolving requirements of multinational and SME shippers.

Same Old Song

      “What shippers are looking for is something we’ve been talking about for years,” he explained. “The major win for air freight is the time it takes to get goods from A to B. But airfreight often takes six days’ door-to-door to the U.S. or Europe from Asia even though the flight is two days, tops. That means cargo is standing still for far too long, waiting to be picked up and cleared. That process needs speeding up. This is why at the moment shippers only use air freight out of necessity for critical shipments, not as an integral part of their supply chain planning.”


Transparency Needed

      Many of the delays are due to a lack of supply chain transparency that prevents timely pick-up post-customs clearance at the destination airport. “There needs to be a more analytical process so shippers know how long it will take goods to pass through customs, security, and inspection and can plan the pick-up,” he said. “They want to know when exactly they can expect their freight.”


Pathways to Contact

      A reliance on traditional forms of communication also compounds delays. “Air freight communication systems are often very old,” he said. “There is too much paper in the system, which is very much open for errors and mistakes. We already have the capability to do a lot more digitally using datasets and exchanging data to get a closed data stream that would help with transparency so you know where freight is. This is very important for temperature-controlled cargoes such as pharma and foodstuffs, but also reduces the administrative burden and speeds clearance at customs.”


Strategies To New Markets

      Mr. Spoel believes changes in how major shippers strategize future supply chain plans will open up new markets and trade flows to air freight stakeholders—but only if they can adapt to the new demands. “Shippers want more predictability in the supply chain,” he said. “Big multinationals have distribution centers throughout Europe. They import goods that are then moved to DCs and from there they supply shops and customers. If they can cut down DCs, which are expensive, they can make huge savings. But to do that they need a floating warehouse, so their inventory is mobile. They need to be able to rely on air and ocean for this.
      “For example, at the moment a big fashion company producing shirts in China ships them to a European DC and then supplies customers and shops through ecommerce. But really, they want to go direct to the shop and customer rather than via their DC. That’s the long-term vision. They’ll still need a DC, but they can cut its size and cost. First, they need that service from the air freight industry so they control the logistics flow of goods accurately.”

Stumbling Processes

      Mr. Spoel said cargo consolidation processes were often the biggest stumbling block, not least because cargo often disappeared into internal LSP systems during the crucial period before the flight, removing transparency for the shipper. “Consolidation is how logistics service providers offer lower prices and that’s the selling point,” he explained. “But there seems to be a misconception that creating transparency will kill the golden goose. As a shipper we don’t want to know everything the LSP does, but they are protective of what they do.
      “Shippers aren’t a threat to them; they just want to see more.”


Case In Point

      He said an April workshop organized with telecommunications giant Ericsson, a member of TIACA, revealed some key findings that could illustrate to air freight service providers exactly what customers want—an air cargo data pipeline.
      “The combination of hardware, software, and services that connects trusted users to provide secure, fast, and reliable data exchange in logistics increases business efficiency, reduces margins of errors, and increases safety,” said Spoel.
      “This is a goal for all.
      “Why hasn’t this goal been achieved yet?”
      He said impediments included the incompatibility of legacy systems, strict oversight by competition authorities, cyber security and privacy rules, compliancy, and the cost of investment in new systems.
      Spoel said Ericsson told attendees it was currently losing a lot of money due to ineffective air cargo supply chains and so was currently working on ideas aimed at the creation of a digital and data backbone—in effect, a digital supply chain stream operating alongside the physical supply chain used to monitor and exchange information with the cargo and all stakeholders.
      “The idea of the Global Unique Identifier presented by Ericsson demonstrated that there are already tools available that bring the concept of the data backbone to reality,” he said. “Ericsson’s Global Unique Identifier tool allows, with one single ‘license plate’, to link shipments on a product level with the adherent data available in a cloud-based solution.”
      Using this system, the shipper provides the source data about the cargo, rather than various stakeholders copying this information across numerous paper forms along the supply chain.
      “This enables a shipper to bring all its data into the system and track and trace their goods,” said Spoel.
      “So the source data is always leading.
      “At the moment in the supply chain, information is constantly copied by different stakeholders and quite often the description changes when copied, which is inefficient and also a safety and security problem if, say, dangerous goods are re-classified by accident as general goods.
      “So if the shipper leads and is the only one who enters the goods information, then it’s easier to monitor.
      “And if the shipper gets the information wrong, it’s clear it’s their fault when it’s spotted.
      “Take these mistakes out of the supply chain and it will be leaner and meaner, which will be good for shippers and service providers.”


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