Aircargopedia Newsblast: March 2021!
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17th March 2021  

Dear Air Cargo Professional:

Machine Learning Implications for Air Cargo. Read this article by Samrat Barari, CEO, Sunflower Technologies to understand this perspective.

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

In more World Air Cargo news, Emirates SkyCargo and DCAA sign MoU for transport of Dangerous Goods. dnata achieves special cargo milestone in UAE.

Amazon acquires nearly 20% stake in Air Transportation Services, Inc. Read this article by Kevin Pflug.
  DJ Ghosh

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


Artificial Intelligence and Air Cargo

Let’s imagine an air cargo warehouse that runs on its own with minimal human monitoring. Stock inputs would be captured with drone-fitted cameras and machine learning algorithms.

Having this type of “smart-warehouse” isn’t that far off in the future. We are on the verge of using the next evolution of artificial intelligence for air cargo supply chain management. Machine learning will enable an intelligent value chain. Read on to learn more about machine learning and the implications it has for the air cargo industry.

Analytics has been on a high evolution curve over the past few years. There has been talk around the dawn of Analytics, marked by an era where data analytics can be applied not only to internal operations but to its portfolio of offerings. This is accomplished with new techniques and methods that gather insights from big data at faster speeds than ever before.

Using machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) software can learn and predict the locations and timing of airfreight shipping each day for various supply chain operators around the world. Not only is it pragmatic, but the user-friendly design aims to lower the barrier of entry for managing AI.

That being said, none of this is inherently “new” to the air cargo industry. Recently, a large cargo company said that automation, along with standardization and digitalization have been elements of the air cargo industry for years. But what we’re moving towards is being able to culminate the total knowledge across channels and produce powerful predictive models, thanks to machine learning and AI. This will allow us to further refine the already robust nature of automation in the industry and move forward with leaps and bounds.

Machine Learning Implications for Air Cargo

Air Cargo
Machine learning algorithms can be used to predict the on-time delivery rates of packages, taking into account factors like weather at all points in the supply chain. The algorithm analyzes the company’s data to create a predictive model. By predicting shifts in delivery dates, carriers could notify customers of changes in real-time.

Air Traffic Management
Predictive analytics can help airports and air cargo carriers improve the use of runway space. Airports can predict peak traffic times and anticipate the demand for their staff and resources. Benefits can also extend to last-minute modifications to shipping routes.
Algorithms could also be used to route specialized or high-value products in the most efficient way possible. Knowing the fastest routes could allow for higher rates, as carriers could now quantify the values of each route.

Apart from improving the efficiency of the supply chain, machine learning can also help protect the chain’s growing stores of data. Algorithms can learn payment relationships and patterns, and detect when something seems off. This learning of relationships can also be helpful for detecting anomalies and suspicious activity.
This level of learning can prove invaluable for air cargo carriers. Prevention against payment issues can improve relationships between stakeholders across the supply chain. Protection from security breaches can save carriers from costs for data recovery and security system overhauls.

Moving Forward with Machine Learning
Machine learning will only continue to transform industries like air cargo over the years to come, touching processes from inventory management to warehouse management to transportation. We are sure to see a significant improvement in the accuracy and efficiency of these processes. We will also see this being taken a step forward in 2021 – and perhaps a few more years to come – to automate processes.

Samrat Barari

Samrat Barari,
CEO, Sunflower Technologies, US & Canada

Risk Management (Again!): A Happy Supply Chain is a Secure Supply Chain

It’s not just about lowest landed cost. Smart Supply Chain Managers keep an eye on Social, Macroeconomic, and Political Metrics

As we all focus on the next normal and moving forward after the pandemic, it’s no secret that the world has changed. Long, complex supply chains combined with lean inventory objectives increased exposure to delivery disruptions.

In a previous article on Risk Management, the importance of building redundancy in supply chains was discussed but the reasons for needing this redundancy were not specifically addressed. The implication of this omission was that the usual concerns about price, inventory management on the part of the supplier, and quality were the only considerations. While these considerations have been and continue to be of paramount importance, we have come to understand that they are not the only components of risk. Social, Macroeconomic, and Political forces have a great impact on the likelihood of whether a particular node in a supply chain will maintain resiliency and reliability. A brief discussion of some of these forces and their metrics follows.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP Growth
Gross Domestic Product (or “GDP”) totals how much a country produces in goods and services. It is usually quoted on an annual basis, projected throughout a given year and then ultimately reconciled by government statisticians some time after year end when all of the data from both the supply and demand side have been crunched and reconciled.

Keeping track of GDP for several years allows for trend analysis and projection with the hope of achieving steady growth in the future. World GDP has traditionally grown at about two percent (2%) annually, with wide variations among countries. Economists and politicians focus on GDP growth down to the tenth of a percentage point. This is because, owing to the arithmetic of compounding , even a small difference in GDP growth has important implications when projected many years into the future.

Healthy GDP growth, below levels likely to cause inflation, is a broad and basic indicator of a healthy economy that will promote political stability and, in turn, provide supply chain stability

Per Capita GDP
While GDP measures a country’s total output, it is far from the whole story. Dividing GDP by a country’s population yields Per Capita GDP. This metric is important because it provides a productivity measure that GDP alone doesn’t deliver. For example, the respective GDP’s of the United States and China are roughly equal but per capita GDP is much higher in the United states because China’s population is so much greater.

Accordingly, per capita GDP provides a more accurate assessment of general economic health and its concomitant effects on social and political stability

The Gini Coefficient
No, this has nothing to do with that smokey-looking guy who escapes out of a bottle. It is named for its creator, the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini.

The Gini Coefficient takes the assessment of economic health one step further by calculating the distribution of earned income across a country’s households. Its value ranges from zero to one with zero indicating perfect equality (i.e., each earner has an equal share of national income), and one indicating perfect inequality (i.e., one household possesses all of the national income).

Countries with high Gini Coefficients, indicating extreme income inequality, tend to be politically unstable and so present higher risks for supply chain resiliency and sustainability.

The World Freedom Index publishes a report card that recognizes three areas of freedom: economic, political, and freedom of the press. The most recent publicly available data is for 2017 (

Just as someone who gets good grades in math and physics will probably do the same in Chemistry, the three ratings tend to be highly correlated.

Base of Doing Business
The World Bank provides in-depth calculations using numerous criteria to arrive at rankings for ease of doing business. Again, here we see a continuing pattern of good business practices (registering a business, securing credit, contract enforcement, etc.) reinforcing one another and correlating with the other indices we are examining (

Exchange Rates
As soon as you buy and sell in more than one currency, you are exposed – like it or not – to changes in exchange rates. Accordingly, your inputs may be more or less expensive than originally estimated (i.e., relative to your national currency) and your revenues from foreign sales may be higher or lower when those foreign sales are repatriated for application to domestic financial transactions.

Exchange rates are always in flux. The issue here is whether or not they are stable and move slowly within relatively narrow ranges. This is, once more, an indicator of predictability and stability.

National Happiness
We’ve all heard the expression, “there’s an app for that”. Well, I’m here to tell you “there’s an index for that”. The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries (Finland leads the pack) with criteria that include GDP but add others like social support, expectancy for a healthy life, freedom to make life choices, and peoples’ individual generosity (

Once again, high ratings seem to be reinforcing and related to the other indicators.

Moving Forward
As we all continue to reset strategy for our economic future, careful attention to the indicators discussed herein will be beneficial to building resilient and secure supply chains.

Best to all in the months ahead!

Peter Canellis

Peter Canellis
Professor of Management
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

Airbridge banner

Amazon Acquires Nearly 20% Stake in Air Transportation Services, Inc., as Online Retailer Continues to Invest in Air Cargo Industry

Seattle, Washington, USA

Online retailing behemoth Amazon continues to invest heavily in the air cargo industry, as the company announced earlier this month that it would pay approximately $131 million for a 19.5% stake in Air Transportation Services Group, Inc. (“ATSG”).

Based in Wilmington, Ohio, ATSG operates approximately 33 aircraft leased by Amazon and that number is expected to grow to 42 by the end of the year.

In 2020, ATSG had $1.57 billion in revenues. The company’s shares trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker ATSG and the company currently has a market capitalization of approximately $1.78 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, Amazon has the right to appoint its own person as a member of the company’s Board of Directors. In addition, Amazon may purchase an additional 20% stake in ATSG down the road, if Amazon leases additional aircraft from ATSG.

Amazon has a similar investment arrangement in place with Atlas Air. To that end, Amazon announced earlier this year that it would trim its holdings in Atlas to 5% to avoid making certain financial disclosures that financial regulators require from large shareholders.

Amazon is in the process of spending $1.9 billion to expand its Amazon Air Hub in Hebron, Kentucky, located approximately 69 miles from Cincinnitti / Northern Kentucky International Airport (“CVG”).

Moreover, Amazon recently purchased 11 used Boeing 767-300s from Delta and WestJet and converted the passenger jets into cargo carriers, demonstrating Amazon’s keen interest in investing in air cargo infrastructure.

Peter Canellis
Kevin Pflug

Air Canada Cargo

Emirates SkyCargo and DCAA sign MoU for transport of Dangerous Goods

Dubai, UAE, 14 March 2021
Emirates SkyCargo and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority have signed an MoU to streamline processes for the transportation of Dangerous Goods (DGs). The MoU was signed by Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, Executive Director, Aviation Security and Accidents Investigation Sector, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Budoor Al Maazmi, Emirates Cargo Government Business Development Manager in the presence of Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two entities will work together to strengthen mechanisms to proactively share information on certain classes of DG booked for transport on Emirates SkyCargo through Dubai. This will complement the information that is already provided as part of the Dangerous Goods Declaration submitted to the DCAA as part of the approvals process for the transportation of goods classified as DG in accordance with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

The MoU also aims to develop an approval process for transporting such cargo, creating better efficiency and reducing wait-times pre transportation.


Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, said: "We are delighted to be stepping up our cooperation with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority for the coordination of information sharing and best practices around the transport of Dangerous Goods. Safety is one of the key operational pillars for Emirates and through this agreement we will work closely with the authorities to ensure that our DG operations are efficient and comply with all safety requirements."

Mr.Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, Executive Director, Aviation Security and Accident Investigation Sector, DCAA, said: "We are pleased to cooperate with Emirates SkyCargo through the signing of the MOU which will link the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority system with that of Emirates SkyCargo and contribute to streamline processes for transport of Dangerous Goods making it easier for customers including air freight agents to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for transporting the goods. We have issued over 26,090 NOCs through the DCAA system between 2018 and 2020.

"The memorandum ensures safety and a high degree of quality in the field for transporting dangerous goods, which serves various fields of work globally, as Dubai represents a strategic location and a logistical centre for air freight."

Emirates SkyCargo is the airfreight division of Emirates, transporting cargo to over 130 destinations across six continents on Emirates’ modern fleet of all wide body aircraft including 11 Boeing 777 freighters.

Dubai Civil Aviation Authority was established as an autonomous body by the decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, by proclamation of Law No. (21) of 2007 as amended by Law no. 11 of 2020, to regulate the civil aviation affairs in the Emirate of Dubai and ensure sustainability in the fields of security, safety, and environmental protection in the civil aviation sector.

South African Airways
dnata achieves special cargo milestone in UAE

Dubai, UAE, 8 March 2021

dnata, one of the world's largest air services providers, has achieved a special cargo milestone in Dubai. Since March last year, the company's highly-trained teams have handled over 5,000 cargo-in-cabin flights, safely moving 50,000 tons of shipments at Dubai International airport (DXB).

In response to the strong air cargo market demand for the rapid, reliable and efficient transportation of essential commodities, several airlines have introduced additional cargo capacity during the pandemic by using passenger aircraft with seats fully or partially removed from the cabin. To adapt to changing customer needs, dnata has enhanced services, improved processes and trained more than 500 employees to safely and efficiently handle passenger planes carrying cargo only.

dnata introduced effective procedures across a range of aircraft types. With no existing industry standards to refer to, the company built the necessary procedures from scratch in collaboration with key stakeholders, including IATA and several airline customers. To ensure the procedures were safe, trials were conducted at DXB using various loading and unloading methods across both narrow and wide-body aircraft. This allowed dnata to identify the best and safest procedures to serve cargo-in-cabin flights.


Paul Littlejohn, dnata's Divisional Vice President for Airside Operations, said: "We are proud to reach this memorable milestone in such a short space of time.

"There was intense demand for airlines to recoup revenue through cargo-in-cabin operations and we needed to be in a position to provide safe and effective ground handling services quickly. Our teams delivered innovative, efficient solutions at great speed while never letting our safety standards drop.

"We continue to work hard to consistently provide the highest level of service and safety to all of our airline customers, every day."

Although passenger flights have been significantly reduced globally during the pandemic, air cargo demand has remained stable and dnata has been working closely with government authorities, customers and suppliers to maintain global trade and the flow of essential goods.

Most recently, dnata has been focussed on enhancing its pharma handling capabilities. The company has been using the latest technologies and global best practices to ensure that every pharma and vaccine shipment is handled in compliance with the highest international standards. dnata's certified warehouses are capable of handling large volumes and can be further expanded to handle the COVID-19 vaccine when demand increases. The company recently announced that it joined forces with Dubai Airports and GMR Hyderabad International Airport to support them in creating a focussed COVID-19 vaccine distribution corridor.

dnata provides quality and reliable ground handling and cargo services at two airports, Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), in the UAE. In the financial year 2019-20, the dnata team handled over 188,000 flights and moved 700,000 tonnes of cargo in the country.

Besides its ground handling and cargo services, dnata also provides a comprehensive range of airport lounge, meet and greet and baggage delivery services through its airport hospitality brand, marhaba, ensuring a swift, smooth and safe journey for passengers.

Turkish Cargo

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