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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

Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub

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Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
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Emirates SkyCargo is stepping up its readiness to handle the logistical complexities of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally by creating the world’s first dedicated airside cargo hub for the vaccine in Dubai. The air cargo carrier is taking a global leadership position by announcing that it will be re-opening its Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.

The freight division of Emirates has also set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the various partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world. We have the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour flying radius. Over the years, through our continuous investment in capabilities and processes for the transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, Emirates SkyCargo has managed to position Dubai amongst major global pharmaceutical customers as the year-round preferred point of transit for their valuable cargo. Setting up a dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccines is a keystone project harnessing our network, reach and competencies to positively impact the lives of people around the world.”

World’s first dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccine

Emirates SkyCargo’s vaccine hub in Dubai South will be the largest dedicated airside facility in the world for COVID-19 vaccines. The Dubai hub will allow the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution.

Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled GDP certified dedicated pharma storage area allowing for large scale storage and distribution of the potential COVID-19 vaccines. Overall, it is estimated that the facility can hold around 10 million vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point of time.

The state of the art infrastructure at Emirates SkyCentral DWC is also complemented by one of the world’s largest fleet of Cool Dollys helping protect temperature sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Additionally, the availability of a large number of temperature controlled trucking docks and the proximity of the terminal to the aircraft parking gates will ensure rapid and efficient clearance of cargo for further distribution.

In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for value-added services such as re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution for its customers.

The extensive size of the facility, which can potentially handle millions of vaccine doses, along with the creation of a dedicated team to handle and execute requests will allow Emirates SkyCargo to be able to effectively handle the large volume of time critical requests for cross-border vaccine movement that will follow the successful introduction of a vaccine.

Through a combination of scheduled and charter flights, the cargo carrier will then be able to fly the vaccines to markets where they will be most needed.

Emirates’ pharma transportation capabilities

Emirates SkyCargo is harnessing decades of experience gained from transporting temperature controlled pharmaceutical products and vaccines for global manufacturers to develop innovative solutions that will meet the challenge of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally within a short timeframe.

Since 2016, the air cargo carrier has invested substantially in its capabilities for the transportation of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. This included the introduction of a specialised product – Emirates Pharma – and the development of dedicated GDP certified ‘fit for purpose’ infrastructure pharma both at Dubai as well as at major origin and destination points under its pharma corridors programme that currently covers more than 30 cities. Emirates SkyCargo has moved more than a quarter million tonnes of pharmaceutical cargo in the last four years.

With its fleet of modern and efficient all wide-body aircraft and a network that currently spans more than 130 destinations across six continents, combined with the strategic geographic location of its Dubai hub, Emirates SkyCargo will be able to rapidly move vaccine shipments from manufacturing sites to the vaccine hub and then onwards to the rest of the world on a combination of scheduled and passenger flights.

Over the last few months, however, Emirates SkyCargo has worked on restoring its worldwide network and cargo connectivity with flight services restored to 75 destinations by May, 100 by July and nearly 135 destinations by early October. Emirates SkyCargo’s network covers all major pharmaceutical clusters and manufacturing locations, facilitating the eventual transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine once manufacturing commences.

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Air Freight

Bengaluru Airport to record positive growth in cargo volumes

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Bengaluru Airport to record positive growth in cargo volumes. Image: KIAB
Bengaluru Airport to record positive growth in cargo volumes. Image: KIAB
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Bengaluru Airport, Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru cargo volumes are gathering momentum with international cargo leading the recovery, following a prolonged slump due to the pandemic. 

This resurgence in cargo movement powered BLR Airport to become the first metro airport in India to record growth in freight in September 2020,  compared to the same period last year.

Improved connectivity and increase in Passenger to Cargo (P2C) aircraft, combined with proactive measures by Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) — operator of BLR Airport — to enable seamless processing to have pushed cargo volumes into positive territory. 

In the first first two quarters of FY2020-21, between April and September, BLR Airport cargo terminals processed 131,603 MT of freight. The cargo processed in September was 32,449 MT, a growth of +0.3%, against same period last year. September 2020 witnessed a +4.5% growth in international cargo, of which export cargo grew by +7.6%. Meanwhile, domestic cargo is showing a slower recovery at -5.2% lower than the same period in the previous year. 

Perishable cargo has been one of the major growth drivers, with BLR Airport having processed 17,212 MT during this period. The Airport accounted for highest exports of perishables among Indian Airports till June 2020 (source: APEDA website). It also processed 180,745 kgs of pomegranate from April to August 2020, to emerge as the leading Airport for pomegranate exports from India. The other segments driving growth are readymade garments, engineering goods, pharma and medical supplies.   

The introduction of our road feeder service – LOGI Connect – to link cities like Tirupur, Coimbatore, Ambur, Salem, Erode, Hyderabad and Chennai further augmented growth, powering BLR Airport’s all-India market share of air cargo from 11% to 14%.

Before the pandemic, around 60% of domestic and international freight was being carried in belly space of passenger aircraft and the remainder in freighters. With the reduction in passenger flights due to restrictions, several airlines – both domestic and international – converted P2C aircraft , enabling the availability of a larger amount of cargo capacity. As a result, BLR Airport saw the growth of cargo aircraft movements by 139% against the previous year.

While Q2 witnessed a 46% growth in ATMs against Q1, the total tonnage, too, improved by 84%.

 

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Air Freight

Mearsk’s first air freight service launched 

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Mearsk's first air freight service launched . Image: Maersk
Mearsk's first air freight service launched . Image: Maersk
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With the first of the multiple chartered airplanes moved cargoes for a leading tyre manufacturer from Thailand to Japan on October 11th, Maersk’s product portfolio has been successfully expanded to air freight. This marks the concrete development after Damco’s Air services combined with Maersk’s logistics and services products as of early October, to complement Maersk’s end-to-end offering for clients around the world.

When getting the urgent shipment request from the customer, Maersk’s team quickly re-searched options and recommended movement via air charter solution. The team secured the best suitable aircraft while optimising and maximizing the load on each flight to meet its shipments transit, cost and dimensional requirements.

Rupesh Jain, Managing Director of Maersk Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore commented on this achievement,

“I’m extremely proud of the Maersk team who came together in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to mount air solution for one of our key clients needing urgent and tailor-made solution to meet its promise to their client. The team worked around the clock with the client as well as our supplier partner to ensure an effective and cost-efficient solution. The shipment was delivered to the customer in time without any issue. It also demonstrates our ambition to become the integrator of container logistics with value-added services to our customers.”

“It’s very fulfilling to be able to provide a truly integrated solution for our customers. With 11 air charters in place for this client, we are keeping its supply chain intact! We have provided our existing ocean customer with extended land-side services, and by offering this air solution, we have truly completed the transportation mode circle,” says Hean Chun Goh, Auto, Electronic and Tech Vertical Head, Maersk Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

With the new capacity in air freight services, Maersk can manage time critical, oversized or high value freight transportation dedicatedly. By combining the speed of air with the cost savings of other modes, customers will be able to reduce inventory and improve their service offerings by fast response time at an affordable price.

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