Tag Archives: heathrow

How CCS-UK will help Heathrow cargo to speed up

A new module is currently being developed by the user group for the CCS-UK airfreight system. The addition will aim to speed up collections and deliveries at Heathrow Airport’s transit hubs.

The module, which is called CCS-UK Advanced Info, will allow transport companies working for freight agents to alert handling agents to their deliveries. It will also submit Electronic Consignment Security Declarations (eCSDs).

Advanced information

Information, submitted through a web portal (for occasional use) or from the forwarder’s own system (for frequent use), will include driver information, vehicle details, the cargo under delivery, the handling agent’s details and the time the cargo will arrive.

This information will then be available to all involved parties. Deliveries heading to multiple shed operators will be split automatically by the system, so that only data that is directly applicable to the handler will go to them.

Benefits of new module

Queueing will be reduced for agents using the new system as there will be pre-allocated truck doors assigned.

Ignazio Coraci says: “The new module will have many benefits for the whole cargo system at Heathrow. As the handling agents will get the information they need about the cargo directly to their systems, there will be less retyping of information. This will speed up the vehicle processing and make the entire operation more efficient.”

As data stores will capture pertinent information on all drivers, vehicles, transit sheds and users, there will be a cut in the need to re-input data at a later date. A certain amount of documentation will also become null and void, in line with the IATA e-Freight move.

Future of the system

Eventually, it’s planned that External Temporary Storage Facility day sheets and import release documentation will also be replaced by online messages. There are also plans to communicate with forwarders and their transport businesses of their truck statuses.

The new module will initially launch at Heathrow, but will then be implemented in all of the UK’s airport communities. Adds Ignazio Coraci: “This is a major step forward for eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, minimising inefficiency and lowering costs across the air cargo industry is a welcome one.”

Follow up to CCS-UK Fallback

The announcement of CCS-UK Advanced comes hot on the heels of the launch of CCS-UK Fallback. This improvement to the system provides an electronic safety net should there be an outage of HM Revenue and Custom’s computer system.

As with Fallback, the benefits of CCS UK Advanced are tangible for all parties. Both modules are free extras available to all members of CCS UK.

CCS-UK Advanced Info already in play

Trialling the new module are a handling agent, three air cargo forwarders and an airfreight haulier. The system has proved successful so far and is being rolled out to the whole industry in stages.

How a ‘visionary’ new development will increase cargo volumes at Heathrow

In a step forward for a cargo warehousing project near to Heathrow Airport, the local authority has approved the plans.

The project’s backer, Formal Investments, describes the project as ‘visionary’. It will see an underground warehouse, with a public park constructed above ground. This park represents the largest new park area in West London for more than a century, and will be constructed using the minerals extracted from beneath the land, which is currently not in use.

Major link to Heathrow

Situated alongside the A4 (Bath Road), which is also a major road link to Heathrow Airport, the site (known as Rectory Farm) will house up to 177,500 square metres of subterranean warehousing space.

After work begins in 2019, the first area of the park should open sometime in 2020, and the warehouse space will be available for use from 2022. In total, there will be a 15-year period of mineral extraction, construction and landscaping to complete the project in its entirety.

Cargo operation expansion

Ignazio Coraci explains: “It’s extremely likely that Heathrow Airport will utilise a fair amount of the warehousing space in order to expand its cargo operation. If the third runway goes ahead then Heathrow will be able to expand much further with resources like Rectory Farm available.

“There is a lack of industrial storage space near the airport, and this development is a pioneering project that will provide a much-needed urban logistics resource.”

Football pitches, parkland and public space will be constructed above the warehouse, to maximise the use of the land. Adds the director of Formal Investments, Nicholas King: “It is hugely exciting to know these ambitious and visionary plans, overwhelmingly supported by local residents, have taken a massive step towards going ahead.

“With increasing worldwide demand for warehousing space close to and within cities, we believe Rectory Farm’s creative solution of putting such infrastructure underground whilst enhancing the surface environment could inspire similar approaches elsewhere.”

Innovative use of space

The innovative underground approach of Rectory Farm’s warehousing is a pioneering design that aims to fully utilise the urban environment. It’s a model that is in use in other parts of the world and will be the largest development of its kind within the M25.

Alongside the news of the approval of this storage space, there has been an alternative development submitted to construct a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The plan has been put forward by the hotel group Arora, which state that it is projected to save up to £6.7 billion on the current proposal. The existing proposal is now under public consultation after being approved by the government in 2016.

Whether or not the third runway does go ahead, the development of Rectory Farm will provide Heathrow Airport with more scope to expand cargo air freight over the next decade.

Cargo demand reaches 2017 high

Airports have seen cargo demand increase throughout May 2017 to a high for this year so far. Statistics released by Airports Council International (ACI) show the high level of growth for cargo demand at an increase of 11.1% for May.

The ACI equates this stabilisation and growth of the cargo industry with the relatively calm economy following a prolonged period of uncertainty due to trade policy from the US and the risks of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. They have said that: “… global commerce is no longer sidelined.”

Highest growth found in Europe

Europe is the region with the fastest growth rate, with an increase of 12%. Coming up close behind with a growth rate of 11.9% is North America. However, there were also improvements in double figures from airports located in the Asia Pacific region, as well as Latin American Caribbean. This latter region has suffered in recent years due to the weak Brazilian economy, but have had an upturn with these results.

Ignazio Coraci says: “It appears that confidence has returned to the global business market, which is illustrated with the recovery in air freight figures. The fact that all regions demonstrated high levels of growth year on year in May 2017, seems to show that recovery is worldwide.”

North America figures due to large freight hubs

According to the ACI, North America posted such a high growth in May due to the traffic at their biggest freight hubs. An impressive 80% of the top five airports in North America (by volume of cargo), posted growth in double digits.

Louisville, Los Angeles, Anchorage and Miami all showed increases in cargo of between 11 and 13%, while the largest hub in the region posted an increase of 1.3%. It also appears that these increases are at least partly down to a surge in domestic freight, which is up 9.1% in May after a lengthy period of slow growth (at just 1.7% year to date).

European recovery underway

Istanbul Airport led the European results, posting a huge 21.1% increase in freight traffic (total). Others, including Amsterdam (12.3%), Heathrow (10.6%) and Leipzig (9.1%) also posted high growth results.

International traffic has contributed to these improved numbers when it comes to cargo freight transport. This was up 13% when compared to May 2016, with domestic cargo trailing behind but still registering an increase at 6.3%.

Overall, the figures show that the demand for cargo has increased by 8.3% overall during the first five months of 2017, when compared with the same time period of 2016.

How cargo consolidation app will reduce emissions at Heathrow

Freight forwarders and trucking businesses are invited to use Heathrow Airport’s brand-new load consolidation app. Launched as part of Heathrow CargoCloud, the app will allow cargo operators to consolidate loads coming through Heathrow.

The aim is to improve efficiency for cargo coming in and out of the airport, but also to reduce the number of vehicles and trucks on the roads around the airport. This reduction in trucks in the surrounding areas will reduce emissions and improve the local environment.

Information sharing

Freight companies that subscribe to Heathrow CargoCloud will be able to share information about any space they may have on their vehicles. Similarly, if they need to transport a load they can enquire about spare room on other vehicles.

The app will then match them with suitable companies, leaving them to contact each other offline to organise the load swaps.

Cleaner and more efficient

Of course, efficiency is part of the drive to develop apps like this, but operating a cleaner operation is also key for Heathrow Airport. Nick Platts is head of cargo at Heathrow. He says:Operating a cleaner, leaner and more efficient freight operation is an essential part of delivering on our ambition to be the best airport in Europe for cargo. CargoCloud offers benefits to the whole industry.”

The app is designed to work for everyone involved. Heathrow’s cargo partners can reduce their costs, help the cargo operation at the airport become more efficient and spare the local area excess traffic. Less congestion means better air quality for those who live in and around Heathrow Airport, something that the airport have referenced as a priority a number of times in the past.

It’s also part of Heathrow Airport’s continuing drive to maintain and improve its reputation as a top airport for cargo transportation.

Future proofing cross company processes

Heathrow worked with data sharing experts Nallian to develop and produce the app. While the data from the app is being used to reduce traffic congestion and emissions, in the future it could be used to synchronise other processes.

Ignazio Coraci comments: “These kinds of data sharing apps can be scaled up, eventually allowing groups of independent companies to work together to reach levels of efficiency previously only available to huge, integrated businesses. While that’s something for the future, for now the app is helping Heathrow Airport’s cargo operation work faster, better and more efficiently.”

One user of the app is DHL Global Forwarding. CEO BELUX Luc Jacobs says, in support of the new app: “As a driver of innovation in our industry, we fully support initiatives that allow us to do our job a little bit better every day. We are big supporters of cloud based community systems because when done well, they have the potential to enable substantial efficiencies and eliminate waste in the supply chain at the same time.”

How global warming could impact air cargo flights

We’re all too aware of the many disastrous implications of global climate change – from the impact on coastal communities of rising sea levels through to the dangers of increasingly unpredictable seasons on agricultural cycles. But what about our own industry? A recent report in Climatic Change suggests that the implications could be serious for air transportation, and are well worth considering as the effects of climate change become more evident.


Serious impact

The report points to the way in which steadily rising temperatures will have an effect on the density of the air in the atmosphere. This has a direct impact on the amount of lift that our planes can generate – with serious consequences in terms of the amount of cargo that the aircraft would be able to carry. In extreme situations it could lead to aircraft being grounded during the hottest periods – with the experts suggesting that up to a third of flights might be prevented from taking off.  If true, the impact of increasing air temperatures would be particularly serious for air cargo operators – especially those who use larger aircraft such as the 777-300. The answer for the air cargo industry could lie in weight restrictions below their maximum take off weight – but the costs could be substantial.


A worrying pattern of evidence

“As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, air density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft wing at a given airspeed and potentially imposing a weight restriction on departing aircraft,” says the report by Coffel, Thompson and Horton. “Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airlines and impact aviation operations around the world.”


Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is troubling news for the industry, because it builds on previous research from 2015 – a compelling pattern is emerging that suggests that climate change could have very serious implications for our industry – not just in terms of cost but also in the quality of the service that we can offer our customers. As an industry we must do everything we can to make sure that the impact of climate change on our industry and the customers we serve is kept to a minimum.”

What the industry can learn from BRUcloud, the open community technology platform used at Brussels airport

Could a new app be a taste of the way our industry uses technology in the future?


Brussels airport has already had a great deal of success with its BRUcloud open community platform in recent years – and it seems that freight forwarders at the airport are now embracing the cutting edge data-sharing technology to develop new solutions to old problems.


Industry backing

The Customs Export Application was strongly supported by Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) – who represent the country’s air cargo community – and with the advantages it delivers it’s clear to see why the technology has been given the industry body’s backing. The app matches collected manifest data (both from the freight forwarders themselves and existing data that is available within the BRUcloud system) and then automatically reports complete and accurate information to customs. The new technology saves time on all sides – particularly in terms of the amount of time processing air waybills. Customs have also agreed to clear shipments handled via the app first, providing yet another opportunity to speed up processes for all stakeholders.


A shared approach

A real key to the success of the app has been the collaborative approach taken by all parties – both in terms of the development of the Customs Export Application and its subsequent roll out.


“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties,” says Bart Vleugels, who is advisory general at the Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties. “Digitization within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times.”


Freight forwarders have certainly bought in to the new technology, with 90 per cent of the air freight passing through BRUcargo now using the app.


Industry best practice

Ignazio Coraci comments: “The industry can learn a huge amount from the great work done at BRUcargo, not just in terms of the technology itself and its application, but also in the collaborative approach taken to its development by everyone involved. This kind of open cooperation between stakeholders is a model for similar projects.”

What can the industry learn from KLM’s new air cargo e-commerce strategy?

The pace at which we all respond to the demands of our customers is critical – and recent investments made by some of the world’s leading air cargo operators suggest that the industry is finally getting the message about e-commerce.

Prime position

The sector is booming within the air cargo industry and KLM Cargo have now invested in a combination-carrier-operated sorting system at its Amsterdam Schiphol airport site that is able to handle package-level air freight. It’s been designed specifically to handle post, express and pharmaceutical cargo.

That means that KLM Cargo should now have the systems in place to fully take advantage of the growth in e-commerce traffic. Marcel de Nooijer, executive vice president of KLM Cargo explains: “E-commerce is a fast-growing branch in the cargo industry. This innovative system allows us to keep pace with the rapid increase in post and express consignments. The system is faster and smarter, allowing us to offer better service to our customers.”

Same-day revolution

KLM Cargo have described the new facility as a world first, and it’s clear that it should now allow the business to make more use of its air freight capacity. KLM Cargo have teamed up with Netherlands-based Parcel International to run 12Send, a new same-day delivery service for Europe. They’ve already piloted the service on routes between Amsterdam and Barcelona, and have held successful trials in London, Madrid and Stockholm.

A lesson for the sector

Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is a sign of things to come. No industry can afford to ignore their customers. The investment made at Amsterdam Schiphol is an indication that businesses are slowly beginning to listen to changing customer needs, and I feel that we are starting to move in the right direction. This kind of investment is essential if carriers want to survive as new markets develop.”

Hong Kong sees a surge in growth for first half of 2017

It has been a truly impressive start to the year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with growth in traffic right across the board. In terms of air cargo business, HKIA has handled an impressive 2.3 million tonnes of cargo already this year in the first six months to June – that’s up a remarkable 11.3% on the same period last year.

Booming exports

So what has been behind HKIA’s great start to the year – and more importantly, do the experts think it will be sustained? Well, in the latest figures from June, 410,000 tonnes of cargo passed through the airport, up 11.4% on 2016 – and there are indications that a 17% year-on-year increase in June exports from the airport led to the high growth in cargo tonnage for that period. That bump in export figures has certainly contributed then to the airport’s positive performance in the first half of 2017, but HKIA has also benefited from an improved global outlook. And with the Asian markets leading the way in air cargo growth, HKIA is in prime position to take advantage of a global economic performance that is looking positive in terms of consumer and business confidence.

Investing for the future

HKIA isn’t standing still, with work starting last August on a third runway to help accommodate future growth. The airport is also making further investments to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

“On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling,” says an airport spokesperson. “The airport authority and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017.”

A sustainable future

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Clearly Hong Kong is an important site for both our ASC Cargo and SW Italia businesses, and so the news that air freight handling is continuing to grow there is great to hear. I’m also really encouraged by the investment in infrastructure that is being made at HKIA – it will go a long way towards making sure that the performance we’ve seen so far this year is sustained.”

Poor weather and volcanic ash are affecting flights

Bogoslof Island might be small, but the impact it’s having on transpacific air freight operations has been significant in recent months.

A major impact

The volcano is located in Alaska and is a part of the Aleutian island chain that arcs between the Asian and American landmasses. It first erupted back in May, and has remained active ever since – with serious implications for the many transpacific routes whose flight paths cross the region. Eruptions in late June sent a huge amount of ash and steam into the atmosphere to a height of around 36,000ft – right into the path of many crucial air freight routes.

Experts say that the disruption could continue for a while yet.

“The volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition,” says the Alaska Volcano Observatory “Additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds could occur at any time.”

Major disruption

The volcanic activity at Bogoslof has led many air freight operators in the region to adjust their schedules, with a number of flights being cancelled as a result of the ash cloud. It’s a situation that puts increased pressure on a region already suffering as a result of poor weather in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It means that space is tight and that capacity is down for some companies.

Bad weather in China has also affected flights to the EU, once again seriously impacting the amount of space available. “Airlines are increasing rates to the EU, and bad weather meant about 20 flights in and out of Hong Kong have been cancelled,” one forwarder told The Loadstar, “So space to the EU is really affected.”

Hard to predict

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Natural events are hard – if not impossible – to see coming. However I believe that we can all try to build the capacity into our business models to ensure that the impact of these events is lessened in the future. Unfortunately the pressure that these situations put on our industry mean that it’s likely to have an impact not just on capacity, but prices as well.”

Heathrow Sees Further Air Cargo Growth in March 2017

Fresh figures indicate that British-based air hubs are seeing their air freight rates climb right now, with Heathrow leading the charge. Ignazio Coraci comments on Heathrow’s continued growth.

Prosperous airport

Heathrow is the main gateway into the thriving London economy, and as this is one of the most prosperous cities on earth, it is a major hub for global air-cargo carriers. Companies such as ASC Cargo, which is based in Heathrow, transport goods all over the world, from the US to Hong Kong, from the hub and with e-commerce driving air cargo volumes, the airport is seeing strong freight growth.

The airport’s air freight volumes reached new heights in 2016, with its cargo shipments growing at a faster pace than its passenger expansion. This growth continued during the first few months of 2017, as figures indicate Heathrow’s air cargo volumes expanded by a further 4% during February this year, ensuring that the London-based airport got off to a “flying start” across the opening period of 2017.

Continued growth

ignazio coraci heathrowAccording to Air Cargo News, an industry portal, Heathrow registered more impressive growth in March 2017. The airport has released figures showing that it racked up its most impressive monthly expansion rate ever in March 2017, with its air cargo volume growing by 13%, to hit 148,000 tonnes. The main driver of this growth was long-haul markets such as Mexico (+28%) and Brazil (+13%).

Other key long-haul destinations for Heathrow in March included India (+9%) and China (+5%), while it also saw “impressive growth” for air cargo volumes in the Indonesian market. Expanding, a Heathrow spokesperson said that some lucrative new routes will be launched from the London-based airport this year, suggesting that Heathrow will see continued growth throughout the rest of 2017.

Prime air hub

In terms of total volumes, Heathrow is still the biggest air freight hub in the UK by a long way. However, Manchester airport saw a slightly larger rate of monthly growth in March, with its air cargo volumes expanding by 14.9% to reach just under 10,000 tonnes, due mainly to the hub’s increased long-haul capacity. No other British airport came close to recording this kind of growth in March 2017, however.

Statistics indicate that across March 2017, Heathrow’s rival Stanstead – another airport based in London, saw its air freight volumes climb by 10.2%, reaching 24,250 tonnes. Meanwhile the East Midlands airport’s air cargo volumes picked up by 5.5%, coming in at 30,300 tonnes shipped, in March 2017, proving that Heathrow is the most important air freight hub throughout the whole UK.

Expert commentary

Speaking out on this news, Ignazio Coraci noted: “It is clear that Heathrow is set to see a successful 2017, as it has posted impressive air cargo growth figures for the first three months of this year now. Cementing its status as the primary air freight hub in the UK, Heathrow should provide carriers with amazing new growth opportunities in 2017, strengthening the sector so it expands in future.”