Aircargopedia Newsblast: April 2021!
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16th April 2021  

Dear Air Cargo Professional:

The rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines. Read this article by Samrat Barari, CEO, Sunflower Technologies to understand this perspective.

Know more about Supply Chain Education in this article by Peter Canellis, Professor of Management, Vaughn College.

In more World Air Cargo news, DHL Express Expands Air Cargo Capacity With New Boeing 777 Freighters by Kevin Pflug.

dnata gains IATA’s ‘CEIV Fresh’ certification in Singapore. Emirates SkyCargo joins Rickenbacker airport in celebrating milestone passenger freighter flight
  DJ Ghosh

D.J. Ghosh
President & Publisher
”The Complete Encyclopedia for the Air Cargo Professional & Investor”


How did we achieve the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines?

Since coronavirus first appeared in China, researchers have looked to artificial intelligence for many different answers. In fact, machine learning (ML) systems and computational tools are why we were able to start testing potential vaccines as early as March 2020 — far sooner than humans could ever hope to create one without the help of such technologies.

Why? Because AI technologies allow scientists to rapidly draw insights from vast data sets that previously would have taken huge teams YEARS to analyze. As is the case in so many applications of AI, the best results come from human-machine collaboration.

In terms of Covid-19 vaccine development, ML and computation play their part, but there’s no substitute for human lab work. Many of these collaborations have produced vaccines showing favorable results in phase III clinical trials with several now approved for use across the world.

One of these is the mRNA vaccine designed by pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer alongside German biotech firm BioNTech. The BioNTech story is a fascinating one. Married Turkish-German scientists Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin set up in Mainz, Germany in 2008, with the aim of developing new types of immunotherapy against cancer. A mere twelve years later, BioNTech is worth over $18 billion and is leading us to the end of the coronavirus era.

After hearing about the Wuhan outbreak, the couple set about their Covid vaccine research project (Project Lightspeed) in January 2020. Sahin, who felt the development of a vaccine was a “duty,” said:

“There are not too many companies on the planet which have the capacity and the competence to do it so fast as we can do it.” Although we don’t know exactly how BioNTech developed its vaccine, we do know that in 2019 Sahin said they mixed: “biology with bioinformatics, robotics and artificial intelligence.”

Binbin Chen, at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) believes every vaccine was developed using computational models. ML tools can predict — based on training data sets from known pathogens — which pieces of the virus the immune system is most likely to recognize, giving each target a numerical score. This speeds up the process because immunologists can focus on fewer potential “targets” with the highest scores and bring those to the lab.

BioNtech’s recent partnership with London-based InstaDeep suggests the need for even greater expertise in AI. Both firms say: “The AI innovation lab will combine InstaDeep’s advanced capabilities in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digitalization along with BioNTech’s deep domain expertise in precision immunotherapies and its access to a wide variety of internal and external datasets.”

Some also think AI should be used more widely — for example, to decide who should be vaccinated first. AI models could test views like moving broad at-risk groups like the elderly to the front of the queue is “short-sighted” because it ignores the healthcare, social, and environmental complexities that place people at greater risk of catching or dying from Covid-19. The vaccine rollout is somewhat of an ethical dilemma, and I suppose AI and data-driven decision-making can help make the process appear fairer.

If it helps get us back to some sense of normalcy, I’m all for human-machine collaboration. A final word of warning though: some coronavirus AI systems were applied without first being tested or were trained on small or low-quality data sets. This was possibly justified by the horrors of the pandemic and a life-or-death timeframe, but future regulation of such systems must be tighter or they could do more harm than good!

Samrat Barari

Samrat Barari,
CEO, Sunflower Technologies, US & Canada

Supply Chain Education: Accelerating Career Development

While there’s no substitute for experience and on-the job training, future Supply Chainers will benefit from the study of selected Business Management subjects

What academic competencies and skills will the next generation of supply chain professionals need to shorten their “time-to-value” when they enter the work force?

A common-sense way to answer this question is to review descriptions of supply chain careers developed by companies in the business of recruiting supply chain talent, and break down the narrative descriptions into their component parts 1 . The output of such an exercise might look something like this and tell us that Supply Chain Managers:

1. Direct or Coordinate the activities of:
• Production
• Sourcing
• Distribution
• Financial Forecasting services or activities designed to:
  • Limit costs
  • Improve accuracy
  • Improve Customer Service
  • Improve Safety.

2. Streamline existing procedures or opportunities to meet product distribution needs

3. Direct the movement, storage, or processing of inventory.

What courses, then, prepare the future Supply Chainer to work effectively in the process areas identified above?

The Supply Chain Curriculum
The courses described below are part of a basic Supply Chain Management curriculum. While not an exhaustive list, they are the most important and provide a framework upon which others may be added.

Operations Management
Operations Management is the backbone of any business curriculum. Originally designed to study activities on the manufacturing floor when inbound and outbound logistics were still an afterthought, it has evolved and expanded to include the entire supply chain. An overview of forecasting techniques is usually part of a standard Operations Management course, as are the basics of inventory management.

Transportation and Distribution Operations
Transportation and Distribution Operations may be thought of as a “deep dive” into Operations Management. While every agricultural and manufactured product has special handling and storage requirements, the basics of distribution must be understood before going into product-specific requirements.

Project Management
We distinguish projects from operations in that, while operations include the ongoing activities of a business, projects have specific objectives and goals that must be met in a limited timeframe.

Every business in the supply chain has projects that must be staffed and managed. These vary widely from analyzing a manufacturing process to improve productivity to expanding the scope of recruitment efforts by Human Resources to reconfiguring a distribution system and so on.

The ability to move between operations and projects, adding value to an organization in both environments, is an invaluable asset for any aspiring supply chain manager.

Quality Management
Quality Management is another area of competence that, like Project Management, applies to all industries and industry segments.

While “Quality” has more than one definition, perhaps the best is also the simplest: “Quality is conformance to specifications”.

As commerce moves on relentlessly in a globalized environment, competition becomes more intense and the quality of products and services becomes more important to a growing middle class of educated consumers. Accordingly, Quality will continue to have more influence as a game changer in the international marketplace.

Contract Management
The growing importance of Contract Management arises from the increasing complexity of modern commerce. As work becomes more specialized sourcing and procurement of services from outside the organization have become more important as they contribute a greater percentage of a delivered product’s value.

Analytics and “Big Data”
Supply Chain Management is “as easy as moving product from Point A to Point B”. Well, that’s true but, as anyone reading this article knows, moving product from Point A to Point B is really, really hard: particularly if you want it done correctly.

Gathering, analyzing, synthesizing and acting on the “Big Data” that is recorded from innumerable supply chain transactions helps to meet the challenge of increasing commercial complexity; especially in the areas of Customer Service and Risk Management.

Information Technology for Business Managers
All too often, business managers don’t have the information systems support that they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. A high-level understanding of information systems architecture, the application development process, and the requirements definition phase at the beginning of that process will help to ensure that applications are functionally and technically aligned with business needs.

Conflict Resolution
Learnings from the courses in the proposed Supply Chain Curriculum discussed above are typically recognized as “hard skills”. As stated in the discussion of “Big Data”, successful execution of those learnings relies heavily on synthesizing and acting upon quantitative data. Missing from the discussion to this point is attention to the interpersonal dynamics of the people who perform the work.

Conflict resolution is a “soft skill”. As work becomes more complex and globalized, more of it is done in teams that are composed of people who are increasingly diverse in both personality and culture. While this diversity is certainly a good thing for bringing the best talents and perspectives to bear on problems that need solving, potential conflict in the group dynamics is bound to develop. Understanding how to resolve such conflicts and promote cohesion within the team is a skill that all managers should cultivate.

The courses described in this article will help to provide aspiring supply chain managers with the skills and tools needed to begin and develop a satisfying career that will fulfill many of their personal development aspirations. Academic programs that include experiential learning will add even more value to a supply chain education.

Experiential Learning: A PhD from the University of Hard Knocks

Why does the word “cliché” imply something negative? We hear clichés often. We hear them often because they’ve been around for a long time. They’ve been around a long time because, for the most part, they’re true!!

Take this one for instance: “There’s no substitute for experience”. Is anyone going to argue with that?! Any program of academic study will be immeasurably enriched if integrated with vigorous and well-promoted initiatives for student internships and work / study opportunities.

Now and in the future, supply chain will compete with other areas of commercial activity for talent. What better way to secure a fair share of that talent than to develop strong ties between the industry and academia?

Let us, industry and academia, publicize the great opportunities in supply chain management and put those leaders of tomorrow to work today! Keep well, everyone. References 1.

Peter Canellis

Peter Canellis
Professor of Management
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

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DHL Express Expands Air Cargo Capacity With New Boeing 777 Freighters


Earlier this month, DHL Express announced that it will use the new Boeing 777 freighters to expand its flight network to serve increased demand between the Asia-Pacific region and the United States and Europe.

The additional routes will offer nearly 2,350 tons of total capacity every week. In a press release, the company stated that it is offering this additional capacity in response to “an exponential growth in shipment volume.”

Operated by Kalitta Air, a partner of DHL Express, one of the aircraft will fly five times a week from the United States to the DHL Express South-Asia hub in Singapore, via Sydney. From Singapore, the aircraft will stop in Hong Kong and Japan, and then return to the United States.

In addition, Kalitta Air will operate a new flight route six times a week between Singapore and Sydney.

Moreover, AeroLogic, a joint venture between DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo, will fly six times a week from Leipzig to Hong Kong and Singapore, then stop in Bahrain, before returning to Leipzig.

The company noted that scheduling both Kalitta Air and AeroLogic flights to cross load in Singapore reflects the increased significance of the company’s South-Asia hub.

"With the new routes, businesses and consumers from Australia and New Zealand can expect the transit time for their shipments to and from the US and Europe to improve as they look to expand their reach to the rest of Asia Pacific, the US and Europe. Shipment volumes into and out of the Oceania region have grown exponentially. Our investment in the new aircraft and dedicated flight routes with increased frequency signify our confidence in the region's growth trajectory and equally demonstrate our commitment to facilitate global trade as the economy heals," stated DHL Express Asia Pacific CEO Ken Lee in announcing the additional capacity.

Peter Canellis
Kevin Pflug

Air Canada Cargo

dnata gains IATA’s ‘CEIV Fresh’ certification in Singapore

Singapore, 15 April 2021

dnata, a leading global air services provider, has been awarded IATA's Centre of Excellence for Perishable Logistics ('CEIV Fresh') certification at Singapore Changi Airport for achieving the highest quality and standards in the temperature-controlled handling of perishable products, including fresh fruits, meat, fish, dairy and flowers.

The transport of perishable goods by air increases constantly with growing consumer demand for healthy products all year round. The most important aspects of air transportation of perishables are time and temperature management to prevent food loss. The CEIV Fresh program meets these exacting requirements primarily based on the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) which combines professional regulatory and operational input from industry and government experts.

Sam Gould, dnata Singapore's Head of Cargo, said: "There is an increasing demand for safe air transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. We constantly invest in infrastructure, training and process improvement to ensure that these delicate products reach the end-customer in perfect condition. IATA's CEIV Fresh certification demonstrates the quality and reliability of our services, and supports Changi Airport's positioning as the preferred cargo hub for time-, and temperature-sensitive shipments."


dnata operates a state-of-the-art, 1,400m² pharma and perishable handling centre at Changi Airport, which is capable of processing 75,000 tonnes of temperature-sensitive goods annually. It enables dnata's cargo team to offer an uncompromised temperature-controlled handling and storage solution to airline customers in Singapore.

dnata's cool chain facility was designed and built with flexibility and unique product handling requirements in mind, taking advantage of the latest cold storage technologies and designs. The temperature-controlled areas in the facility are modular, enabling teams to manage changing handling demands with dedicated climate control capability. A web-based monitoring system is also in place to facilitate real-time management of all areas. The cool chain facility enables dnata to provide its customers at Changi with a one-stop audit trail of all consignments whilst being processed through the facility.

To ensure seamless delivery of temperature-sensitive goods between the warehouses to the aircraft, dnata has recently launched two 'cool dollies' in its operations. Providing temperature-controlled storage from -25°C up to +25°C, the cool dollies mitigate risk of temperature deviations and contamination.

dnata offers a range of solutions to fast-track time-sensitive imports. The company's services include priority clearance at its cargo centre and expedited deliveries to its customers' warehouse facilities within the Changi Airfreight Centre / Airport Logistics Park Singapore (ALPS). dnata also offers the delivery of temperature-sensitive products in an unbroken cool chain island-wide, providing live tracking and updates to customers through its logistics partners.

In addition to the CEIV Fresh certification, dnata holds IATA's Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics ('CEIV Pharma') accreditation which demonstrates its ability to move pharmaceutical products under the strictest standards across its operations.

dnata has also earned the ISO 9001:2015 certification for cargo handling services, and been awarded Halal certification by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Muis) for a special storage room in its Coolchain facility.

A global air services provider and the trusted partner of over 300 airline customers, dnata offers ground handling, cargo and catering services at 126 airports in 19 countries.

South African Airways
Emirates SkyCargo joins Rickenbacker airport in celebrating milestone passenger freighter flight

Dubai, UAE, 07 April 2021

Emirates SkyCargo has operated the 500th passenger freighter flight serviced by Rickenbacker Airport (LCK), Columbus, Ohio, on 1 April 2021. The 501st passenger flight to the airport was also operated by Emirates, EK 9909, arrived just two hours later at LCK airport. Both flights, operated by Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER mini-freighters*, were transporting PPE and other essential cargo.

Emirates SkyCargo was the first air cargo carrier to operate a passenger freighter – a passenger aircraft operating a cargo only flight – on 28 May 2020, to Rickenbacker airport. Over the last 10 months, the carrier has operated more than 200 passenger freighter cargo flights to the airport.


"Emirates would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to Rickenbacker Airport on its passenger freighter milestone and we are delighted to have operated both the first and the 500th passenger freighter flights to the airport. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of air cargo connectivity in delivering essential goods such as PPE rapidly to communities and Rickenbacker Airport has been a strategic partner for Emirates SkyCargo in North America. We are grateful to the entire team at LCK who have been extremely responsive and supportive of our requests over the last year," said Hiran Perera, Emirates Senior Vice President, Cargo Planning & Freighters.

"This significant milestone would not be possible without our strong partnership with Emirates SkyCargo, which has served the greatest number of these flights into Rickenbacker Airport," said Joseph R. Nardone, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. "We are grateful for their faith in what we call the Rickenbacker Advantage-our ability to move airfreight faster than other global gateways."

Emirates SkyCargo was one of the first air cargo carriers in the world to start using passenger aircraft for cargo only operations, addressing the critical shortfall of cargo capacity for transportation of PPE, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals around the world during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline has since then operated more than 27.800 cargo only flights on its passenger aircraft, including on 16 mini freighters. Over 100,000 tonnes of essential cargo including PPE and more recently COVID-19 vaccines have been transported on these flights to Emirates SkyCargo’s network spanning six continents.

*Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft with seats removed from Economy Class for loading cargo

Turkish Cargo

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