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Air cargo essential to fight against COVID-19

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Air cargo essential to fight against COVID-19. Image: Wikimedia/ Jonnyknoxville1
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its members continue to support governments in their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Since the crisis began, air cargo has been a vital partner in delivering much-needed medicines, medical equipment (including spare parts/repair components), and in keeping global supply chains functioning for the most time-sensitive materials. This has been done through dedicated cargo freighter operations, utilization of cargo capacity in passenger aircraft and with relief flights to affected areas.

Air cargo is also instrumental in transporting food and other products purchased online in support of quarantine and social distancing policies implemented by states.

The dramatic travel restrictions and collapse of passenger demand have severely limited cargo capacity. IATA calls on governments to take urgent measures to ensure that air cargo will be available to support the global fight against COVID-19.

“Over 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January in response to government travel restrictions. With this, vital cargo capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19. The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilized to make up this capacity shortfall. Governments must take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Governments must see air cargo as an essential part of the fight against COVID-19 and take the following actions:

  • Exclude air cargo operations from any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, to ensure life-saving medical products can be transported without disruptions
  • Ensure that standardized measures are in place so that air cargo can continue to move around the world with minimal disruptions
  • Exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements
  • Support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply
  • Remove economic impediments, such as overfly charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations during these unprecedented times

“Air cargo carriers are working closely with governments and health organizations around the world to safeguard public health while also keeping the global economy moving. Today, as we fight a global health war against COVID-19, governments must take urgent action to facilitate air cargo. Keeping cargo flowing will save lives,” said de Juniac.

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Air Freight

JAL and Matternet to launch drone delivery business partnership in Japan

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JAL and Matternet to launch drone delivery business partnership in Japan. Image: JAL
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Matternet M2 drone system to be deployed in Tokyo’s new drone logistics project and utilized to assess drone delivery healthcare opportunities in Japan

Japan Airlines and Matternet signed an MOU to assess drone delivery healthcare opportunities and develop a future drone healthcare delivery business in Japan utilizing Matternet’s world-leading M2 urban drone logistics platform.

Due to the lack of delivery personnel and the impact of the global pandemic, the necessity to respond to changes in the logistics industry has become more urgent than ever before and the use of drones may help realize automatic, contactless delivery services on remote islands, mountainous areas and even within the city.

Since last year, JAL has been conducting demonstrations on transporting relief supplies through various trials within Japan. Currently, in order to develop logistics services using drones, JAL is studying the feasibility for the commercialization of such services with various companies and hospitals. Through this partnership, Matternet will conduct a joint research project with JAL in Japan, as the company continues to expand its commercial business globally. Further, JAL will consider to deploy the Matternet M2 drone system in the drone logistics business development project of Tokyo to possibly develop a sustainable business model.

Matternet is the leading developer of on-demand, autonomous, urban drone logistics systems for transporting medical items across distributed healthcare networks, providing its technology platform-as-a-service to healthcare and logistics organizations. Matternet has launched successful drone networks around the world and received regulatory approval from the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to conduct fully-autonomous Beyond Line of Sight operations and Flights Over People to transport critical, high-value medical items. To date, Matternet technology has enabled 10,000+ commercial revenue drone flights.

“We are very excited to expand our operations to Asia and partner with JAL to show the incredible impact of drone delivery to Japan’s cities, starting with the Tokyo metropolitan area,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet. “Matternet’s drone delivery platform enables extremely fast and predictable transport of urgent items and stands to revolutionize how healthcare and e-commerce are delivered in cities and megacities around the world.”

“Japan Airlines is eager to explore the future of its air logistics business with the implementation of drone delivery,” said Tomohiro Nishihata, Japan Airlines’ Managing Executive Officer of Innovation. “We aim to contribute to improving healthcare and solving logistics issues through our partnership with Matternet.”

JAL aims to develop a new type of service in the air transportation industry, utilizing new UAV technology, by delivering the operational platform in New Air mobility and achieve key sustainable development goals.

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Air Freight

DHL Global Forwarding connects three continents with dedicated flight

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DHL Global Forwarding connects three continents with dedicated flight. Image: DHL
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DHL Global Forwarding, the freight forwarding specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has launched an air freight charter connecting Asia Pacific to Europe and the U.S. to meet demand from customers in the technology, manufacturing and life science and healthcare sectors. Managed by StarBroker, DHL Global Forwarding’s in-house charter team, the twice-weekly charter originates from Chongqing, China and flies to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Chicago, United States; Incheon, South Korea before returning to China.

Thomas Mack, Head of Global Air Freight DHL Global Forwarding said, “While some passenger airlines have resumed operations, the situation in the air freight market remains volatile — especially as belly capacity is still tight As the leader in the air freight market, DHL Global Forwarding’s top priority is to provide our customers with sufficient and reliable air freight capacity. Not only are the resilient, agile and reliable supply chains of highest importance for an economic recovery, but also in preparation for the availability of vaccines and other essential medical supplies during the pandemic.”

South Korea has seen its export of healthcare products rise year-on-year by 26.7% in the first half of 2020, with pharmaceutical goods in particular increasing by 52.5%. China has exported 28.5% more medical devices in the first five months of the year as compared to a year ago. In 2019, China, the Netherlands and the United States were among the top ten importers and exporters of medical goods.

“Over the years, DHL has built up its expertise from globally certified facilities and staff to technologies that track shipments in real-time in addition to ensuring the integrity of such products throughout their journey. Getting the much-needed air capacity is the last piece in the value chain puzzle, so to speak, that ensures temperature sensitive products such as life-saving vaccines reach the communities-in-need,” added Mack.

In a recently published white paper DHL together with McKinsey & Company as analytics partner explores the logistics challenges for vaccines and medical goods during COVID-19. To provide global coverage of COVID-19 vaccines, up to ~200,000 pallet shipments and ~15 million deliveries in cooling boxes as well as ~15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain set-ups.

DHL Global Forwarding has a global network of facilities that meet the European Union’s Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines for life science and healthcare supply chains. The leading international provider of air, sea and road freight services has a suite of temperature-controlled freight solutions such as DHL Air Thermonet and DHL LifeConEx that allows real-time visibility and active monitoring for the movement of goods that could include medicines, supplements, vaccines, medical devices and diagnostic equipment.

To meet growing demand for imports of temperature-controlled and high-technology goods into Australia, DHL Global Forwarding will also launch a new airfreight charter on September 23. Flying four times a week, the charter will consolidate goods from Europe, China and Singapore in Hong Kong before transporting them to Sydney, Australia.

In April 2020, DHL Global Forwarding tapped on its network of life science and healthcare facilities, temperature-controlled solutions and customs clearance expertise to fly more than 1.3 million Covid-19 test kits from South Korea to Brazil, Ecuador, India, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The freight forwarder also launched a dedicated 100-ton weekly air freight service for organizations and governments shipping health and medical-related items and other goods from China to Middle East and Africa.

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Air Freight

From prescription drugs to vaccines, Delta Cargo has the pharmaceutical shipment service for you

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From prescription drugs to vaccines, Delta Cargo has the pharmaceutical shipment service for you. Image: Delta Cargo
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Delta Cargo was the first U.S. passenger carrier to receive IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma Logistics Certification in 2017. This certification recognizes that we are compliant, in our Atlanta warehouse and at over 50 specialized Pharma approved airports across the globe provided through our handling partners, with the highest industry standards for the shipment of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and life sciences.

We know that the difference in a few degrees can save lives when it comes to delivering temperature-sensitive shipments. As part of this, we have expanded our cooler facilities at the Atlanta warehouse. Our priority boarding and quick connection times also minimize exposure to outside temperatures ensuring the integrity of the product. We offer four tailored options which come with a variety of containers and coolers designed to meet specific temperature requirements. Plus, we can transport Pharma shipments containing dry ice to support the transportation of vaccines.

As our current flight network is reduced due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our cargo charters team can assist with any pharmaceutical transportation needs if they are outside of our existing network, ensuring peace of mind for our customers.

“Pharmaceutical and medical supplies are in high demand and we historically transport more than 5,500 pharma shipments each year, in fact it is in the top three most shipped commodities,” said Shawn Cole, Vice President-Cargo. “The safe and efficient transportation of Pharma products for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is a key priority for us. We continue to invest in our facilities, equipment, operations and staff to ensure that we comply with all applicable standards, regulations and guidelines expected from pharmaceutical manufacturers.”

From drug research and development, to transporting vital medicine to patients who rely on us to maintain product integrity, Delta Cargo is making a difference to the communities we serve. Our partner airlines also have Pharma certification which provides significant opportunities for shipping pharmaceuticals across the Pacific and Atlantic. Air France-KLM Cargo and Korean Air Cargo are both CEIV certified, while Virgin Atlantic Cargo has Wholesale Distribution Authorization (WDA) enabling true end-to-end compliance and assurance for customers across a broad network of flights across the globe.

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