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such as Chicago, Houston,


York, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo, and the Norfolk Islands,” Larsen says. Swiss Cargo has a workgroup

that is analyzing how Swiss International support

Air customers

Lines in

can the

transport of vaccines. “We are looking at the best

ways we can successfully maintain shipment integrity for the entire chain and what further measurements we need to implement at our stations,” says Ashwin Bhat, Head of Cargo, Swiss International Air Lines.

Issue 7 2020 - FBJNA

traditional Swiss WorldCargo network and which offer more capacity than previously.


Like other carriers, KLM has found the B777-300 extremely well equipped to assist in maintaining freighter operations. Consequently, early in April and May, the Dutch airline established a belly passenger- cargo network. “We started in March with an

intercontinental network with 50 flights. Today we have 250,” says Adriaan den Jeijer, executive

shippers, pharma producers, forwarders, airlines, ground handlers and trucking companies have met to start work on up to four possible ‘vaccine scenarios’, based on different temperature ranges. Ferry van der Ent, Director of

Business Development, Schiphol Cargo adds: “The most important thing is to provide a safe, secure, and reliable trade lane, especially when there is a peak in demand, so that we can guarantee the vaccines are tamper-free, with no temperature excursions and handled properly.” The

Dutch Civil Aviation

Authority is supportive in granting permissions for COVID-19 related ad-hoc flights. “We are now focusing on a fast

and swiſt handling process on the tarmac, getting the vaccines as soon as possible to the end- customer via the distribution channels, rather than storing them at the airport,” van der Ent says. “As a back-up option we have to be prepared to collaborate across

all modes Since the onset of the COVID

crisis, Swiss has already begun to operate some “cargo-only” flights, thereby making it possible to carry a higher amount of cargo than previously. “This has helped us to keep

up with increasing customer demand amidst decreasing belly capacity in the marketplace,” Bhat says. “Likewise, the introduction of

our ‘charter’

concept allows us to operate flights on behalf of specific customers, if requested to do so.” The airline continues to

transport an array of goods within its network. “For instance, we recently began operating flights between Zurich and Buenos Aires (EZE); on the return leg, we frequently carry foods such as meats and berries,” he says. “We also continue to find opportunities to transport perishables from different destinations worldwide, such as limes from South America.” The challenge has been to

meet the transport demand despite reduced capacity. “Specifically, in the case of perishables, limited capacity throughout the market affects connections to our gateways from our airline/interline partners,” Bhat says. Swiss has met this challenge

by operating some cargo-only flights, many of which have flown to places outside of the

Air New Zealand has maintained flights to its primary export destinations. (Air New Zealand photo.)

vice president of Air France-KLM Cargo and managing director of Martinair Holland NV. KLM continued service to

South America. “Whereas we saw a lot of carriers shiſting to Asia, we decided to be loyal to the South America markets,” he says.

its two B747

In April, KLM also reactivated combi aircraſt

scheduled for retirement to add to operate as a cargo air bridge between China and the Netherlands to transport essential medical supplies. KLM continues to invest

in procedures that work in accordance with Schipol Airport facilities and those in the surrounding area. “There has been a lot of

building given the strong focus on the pharma business,” den Jeijer points out. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s

Pharma Cargo Community is collaborating to ensure the temperature-controlled supply chain is ready for the safe and efficient transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. A taskforce led by Air Cargo

Netherlands (ACN), Schiphol Cargo and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo that


and with everyone in the supply chain and explore all options. That could mean collaborating with other Good Distribution Practices

(GDP) centers and

facilities and connecting with our colleagues in ocean, for example at the nearby Amsterdam and Rotterdam harbors where they have GDP-certified cooling areas and lots of capacity.” Luſthansa is also poised handle

to of

large COVID-19 vaccines.

shipments Its

31 pharmaceutical stations worldwide are to be CEIV Pharma-certified by the end of 2021. Last year, its home base of Frankfurt Airport (FRA), which is CEIV Pharma certified, handled approximately 120,000 tons of vaccines, medications, and other pharmaceutical products, thereby making it the European leader. Currently, around 12,000

square meters of temperature- controlled handling capacity with direct apron access are available at Frankfurt Airport. A good two thirds are in the Luſthansa Cargo Pharma Hub. An additional

2,000 square

meters of space on the further airport grounds are about to be taken into operation. In addition, Fraport currently uses 20 ultra- modern thermal transporters to

ensure the necessary

temperature of the goods on their way across the apron as well.

MIA leads way for perishables; takes precautions for pharma

Due to Miami International Airport’s extensive air route network with connections in many major perishable- producing nations in the Americas, perishables cargo is an integral part of that airport’s operations, particularly for imports. Historically, MIA has been the No. 1 US airport for perishables air imports entering the country. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2019, 62% of all US

air imports of perishables entered through MIA. And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, MIA is experiencing continued growth in its cargo operations. “Our overall freight

volumes were up almost 4% in July 2020 compared to July 2019 (pre-pandemic),” reports Dimitrios “Jimmy” Nares, Section Chief

for Marketing

in the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

“And, with

regards to perishables freight, our volumes are up .2% CYTD July 2020 compared to CYTD July 2019 -- approximately 305.4 million kilograms versus 304.9 million kilograms, respectively.” Imports of perishables

account for almost all MIA’s total trade of perishables (99.3%). Imports through July 2020 totaled 303.3 million kg with a value of $1.86 billion (up .5% in volume compared to CYTD July 2019), and Exports through July 2020 were approximately 2.09 million kg (down 35% from CYTD July 2019). According to US Census Data, the perishables subcategories making up the highest freight volumes (in order from highest to lowest) were flowers, fish, vegetables, and fruits. As was the case at most

airports, MIA’s operations were significantly impacted by COVID-19. In March and April, the airport saw the grounding of many passenger aircraſt with associated reduction in belly cargo. “Consequently, we saw a

shiſt of some cargo capacity towards freighter aircraſt starting in April, and this trend has continued to date,”

says Nares. “For the month of August 2020, we had 34.78% higher daily all cargo flights (an average of 38 more cargo flights per day) than we did during August 2019. We also saw the development of new “preighters” (pax aircraſt being used as cargo flights), which American Airlines, Avianca and Latam Airlines have introduced in Latin America markets.” American is now flying this

type of aircraſt to five markets in Latin America: Ministro Pistarini

International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Guarulhos - Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (GRU) in São

Paulo, (SJU), Brazil; San Luis

Munoz Marin International Airport


Puerto Rico; Carrasco International /General C L Berisso Airport (MVD), Montevideo, Uruguay; and Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, Chile. “As we saw supply chains shiſt due to COVID-19 and increased freighter operations, we

have also

seen increased cargo charter flights,” says Nares. Since the pandemic started

to impact MIA operations in March, the airport has had increases in the volume of pharma shipments starting in April 2020 and growing each subsequent month through July (latest figures available). Per US Census

Data, in July 2020, the airport weighed in 1.356 million kilos of pharma through MIA, which was 16.4% higher than July 2019 (pre-pandemic). While MIA does not have

statistics for PPE freight, specifically, since the pandemic began, Nares notes that statistics for the pharma trade should closely mirror PPE. Trade lanes showing the activity for CYTD


July 2020 are Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru in terms of total trade by volume. “Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, in particular, were


at the top of these rankings due to the large volumes of perishables imports we receive

from there,” Nares

says. “In terms of pharma, 94% of our trade activity in July 2020 was exports. Our top-5 trade lanes for pharma during that month were: Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Canada (in order 1 to 5).” To ensure perishables are

safe during these “COVID-19” times, MIA, in coordination with its multiple tenants (airlines, ground handling companies, forwarders, etc.) have all implemented and follow CDC/Florida Department of Health guidelines. “As you know, the logistics

industry really never stopped working during the crisis, so they were one of the first to implement the use of masks by all employees, cleaning of equipment and high contact areas, social distancing in breakrooms and bathrooms,” Nares emphasizes. “These, along with other measures, were taken to ensure the cargo/perishables handled were always kept secure during transportation/ handling at the airport.” MIA was recently also

awarded ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) Program, which focused on the entire airport

and its facilities

along with the organization’s dedication to a healthy environment for all staff, travelers, and workers. “The major concern

revolves around reducing the contact points as much as possible during the handling of perishables/pharma/dry cargo,” Nares says. “Several airlines have implemented contact-less procedures to avoid contamination where possible. MIA is also analyzing the introduction of Cargo Community System (CCS), a common platform for

the airport community

that will reduce or eliminate the use of paper documents, enabling contact-less procedures to go into effect, thus reducing the potential for spreading COVID19.” – Karen E. Thuermer.

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