After a unique year in 2017, 2018 was a slower year and this year has been below expectations so far, Lorenzo Schettini Gheradini, CEO of Alha Group tells Air Cargo Week.
He says that with the market demand and record volumes, 2017 was a unique year, not comparable with any other year in history. Last year was more regular, with lower performance in the second half.
Schettini says: “First quarter of 2019 was below expectations, in particular with regard to Italian exports. Political and economic international variables make it difficult to make projections for the current year. It seems that 2019 will be a year of transition, not particularly productive.”
Some products have done well, particularly fashion and pharma, with the latter benefitting from Alha Group having earnt IATA CEIV Pharma certification at its Milan Malpensa cargo terminal in September 2015.
Alha Group also joined Pharma.Aero in October 2017, a platform for the air cargo community to foster collaboration between CEIV Pharma certified stakeholders.
Since gaining certification, Alha Group has developed and invested in infrastructure to handle pharmaceutical products at both Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino.
Schettini says: “We are working closely with airlines companies to study new solutions and technological developments to ensure compliance and improvement of the cool chain management processes.”
Alha is the first Italian ground handler to introduce the CoolBox to its fleet, a refrigerated dolly for pharma transportation on tarmac. The new CoolBox will be presented at air cargo Europe in Munich in June.
Schettini says: “The larger version CoolBox2, that can transport two main deck pallets with independent temperature settings, will be at the exhibition centre, just few steps away from our booth, and we look forward to introducing it to all our visitors.”
Looking to the future, Schettini says the Italian airfreight market will become increasingly competitive, with the need to provide high quality service and ability to react being essential to remain competitive.
He is confident that Alha is in a strong position, saying: “We believe we have all the possibilities to continue being a top Italian player.”
Schettini admits that Italy is a “complicated country” to do business in, and that other European countries are more competitive due to their job security and tax incentives.
He says: “For this reason I think that if you can do business in Italy successfully, you could probably succeed anywhere else in the world.”