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IAG rules on the ground, and in the air

The North East is the European airline industry’s prime gateway to the whole US. Not only does it contain the largest metropolitan area – New York and a string of other major cities stretching the length of the eastern seaboard down to the federal capital, Washington, but the region is a springboard for a whole swathe of the rest of the US. “It’s our prime market,” affirms

Joe LeBeau, regional commercial manager for North America at IAG cargo. “We have the bulk of our US capacity there.” No fewer than 25 planes a day

fly IAG’s transatlantic corridor in the US – British Airways from London Heathrow and Iberia from Madrid. There are no fewer than 12 flights a day into New York JFK plus two into nearby Newark, two a day to Philadelphia, two to Washington DC, five to Boston and one to Baltimore. Iberia, too, “has a great

presence in New York JFK and Boston,” LeBeau adds. Iberia even handles some US-

Latin America cargo via Madrid. Good connections and a slick change between planes onto a Iberia flight direct to a central of South American city mean that it is oſten quicker and more reliable than the long road haul to Miami and flying from there, he says. Around half the eastbound

cargo originates in and around those cities with the other half coming from the rest of the US; in the other direction, slightly under half is destined for the east coast metropolitan areas and just over half for other places in the US. IAG runs a massive trucking

operation in the US, explains LeBeau. This provides capacity on legs where there are no flights and helps distribute cargo around the various gateways, ensuring that flights are well- loaded with high yield cargo as far as possible and helping to keep IAG’s estimated 850 tonnes a week of US capacity well filled. One of the issues that

combination carriers like IAG face is that, whereas the north- east cities, and especially New York, remain a major passenger draw, “there is no longer an industrial base,” says LeBeau. “We used to have the Ohio Valley, but that industry has shiſted to the centre and south-east of

the US, and it’s much more of a service economy now.” That means that cargo needs to be redistributed to and from the rest of the country. As a foreign carrier, IAG isn’t

allowed to fly its own domestic connecting services in the US, and whereas passengers can book a seat on one of IAG’s interline US partners, truck is the best option for cargo. Domestic US airlines carry little cargo nowadays. IAG Cargo has a network of 94

trucking stations across North America, most of them operated by its main road freight partner, Towne Air Freight, with the latest highest spec, specialised roller- bed and air-suspension vehicles. The network is highly efficient and operates with near-perfect punctuality and reliability, says LeBeau. The trucking network also

helps smooth out the peaks and troughs that come with the seasonality of the market. It is also a boon in getting cargo to and from planes on the odd occasions when planes have to be diverted because of weather problems. As well as the long-haul

services, IAG also operates its own smaller trucks on its Cargo Connector service in the regions of major US airports, including New York JFK. These IAG-branded vehicles pick up consignments of up to 300kg from forwarders’ premises in the hinterlands of major gateways and

deliver them, security

screened, to IAG. Having a dense network of forwarders is essential to making the concept work, LeBeau considers, and New York JFK fills this criteria. Other cities where the Cargo Connector service is now offered include Atlanta and Houston but it could be extended to more of the 20 IAG US air gateways in future, says LeBeau. “It’s increased IAG’s market share in the smaller size consignment segment,” he says. For the future, the addition of

more 787 Dreamliners into the fleet, replacing 767s, will add more capacity especially to the smaller cities like Philadelphia. But more important than extra space is the newer aircraſt’s superior temperature-controlled capabilities. While industry as a whole may have declined in

the North-East, the pharma and biotech sectors are booming and are now one of the main sources of business. “Pharma, both in and out, is the real growth industry now,” says LeBeau who points out that IAG now has 96 Constant Climate-certified stations around the world.

Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal

Virginia prospers in tough market

The Port of Virginia has just completed the implementation of the Navis N4 terminal operating system at its Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), “a significant project that is already yielding benefits,” says the authority. The port adds: “Additionally, we added 32 ‘hustlers’ – also known as yard tractors or bomb carts - to dray containers to and from the rail operation at NIT to give us greater flexibility with our other methods of cargo conveyance at that terminal.” MSC’s Indus Express Service just began

calling here in June; in March, ZIM began offering bills of lading to the Port of Richmond. The US east coast market remains highly

competitive but, based on available figures ports are prospering simply because the US economy continues to improve. The competition is attract large port-users with convenient water, rail and highway facilities. For the future, Port of Virginia sees “continued

slow steady growth” with ports “nibbling at the edges of markets’ of peer ports to grow their business and expand their markets.”


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