Bigger isn’t always better, but it certainly helps when it comes to air cargo terminals. Modern hubs must be able to meet the relentless global demand for quick processing and transport, and that requires a lot of space.
However, size isn’t everything. Air cargo terminal operators must also make the most efficient use of that space, and often that means implementing new technologies and innovations. In our cover feature, we get the inside track on six of the world’s best air cargo terminals, finding out what makes them work and how they are going digital to position themselves for the future.
Innovating for a digital future is a theme that runs throughout this issue. In The International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) regular column, director general Glyn Hughes takes a broad view of how the Covid-19 crisis has spurred the implementation of new innovations to enable the industry to flourish. The topic is also raised in our regular Industry Voices section, which also looks at changing market dynamics in the narrowbody freighter conversion sector and the convergence of air cargo’s healthcare and humanitarian sectors.
The logistics industry is also quickening its adoption of new technologies in response to customer demand. Our writer Chris Kjelgaard has even coined the term ‘technologistics’ to describe this wave of innovation in the sector, as leading logistics providers reveal their major technological and business developments.
Delta Cargo – which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year – is also on a digitisation path. The company is working toward becoming a “best-in-class e-commerce provider to the markets” that it serves, according to vice president Rob Walpole, who in an extensive interview to mark the anniversary discusses Delta Cargo’s history, growth, longevity and future outlook.
In one interesting insight, Walpole notes that the cargo business is now having a stronger involvement in steering the broader Delta entity. When assessing where and how the airline flies, particularly on long-haul, the “decision criteria” is now somewhat different. “There’s more of a view that we may or may not fly certain routes depending on what we can contribute from a cargo perspective,” he says. “That’s not how the organisation would have thought pre-Covid.”
The air cargo industry is experiencing a lot of change. And while bigger may not always be better, growth is (almost) always welcome.