ACL Airshop targets more stations, contracts and growth

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Last year was a significant 12 months for ACL Airshop as it significantly grew its global presence.

The US-based firm added six new unit load device (ULD) stations at Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Bogota, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and is now located at 37 locations on six continents.

ACL also won an additional four ULD airline management contracts and added ULD tracking to its portfolio of services.

President and chief executive officer, Anthony Morgan says 2016 was a “phenomenal” year with 60 per cent growth of ULD leasing. “We surpassed what we were aiming for and blew away our goals and for 2017 we have set similar lofty goals,” he adds.

One of the biggest achievements in 2016 Morgan feels was in helping the US-based world’s biggest online retailer launch its own air service as it seeks to grow its e-commerce service and ACL worked throughout the set-up process.

The second one of note was setting up a service repair and maintenance station at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, which he explains the company is proud of achieving as it came with its challenges. Morgan says: “There are barriers to entry in Japan in setting up your own facility especially at Narita where 60 per cent of Japan’s air cargo goes through, but it has been a success and is running very well.”

Another major achievement was that ACL manufactured 1.3 million high quality cargo straps, used across the industry.

Morgan feels the partnership it has with Ranger Aerospace gives the business the “rocket fuel” needed to grow and Ranger’s plan is to enhance and expand ACL through strategic investments and organic growth and global expansion.

In 2017, he says ACL is aiming to add 11 more stations giving it 45-50 global locations, have full service repair stations in Hong Kong and Bogota and also add five new ULD tracking customers.

The company wants to be located in the majority of the world’s top 100 air cargo hubs within 72 months or faster, as it says it is what its customers want.

Morgan notes it also wants to grow its leasing business and expand it by 42 per cent, which would mean 100 per cent growth in two years. He adds: “We are firmly confident that we will achieve that or exceed it.”

The reason Morgan is so sure is as not a lot of companies do what ACL does in covering everything ULD related from manufacturing, to selling, repairing, managing and leasing.

He says: “There are a couple that do a bit of some, but we do the full array so when an airline is looking for one solution service provider 24/7 365 days a year, then that is what we do – so when the airline looks we are the only one.

“Our growth is global and we go to the areas where the cargo is moving and where there is shortages of ULDs. Our growth is dictated by the airlines and our customers’ networks.”

And Morgan says the future of ULDs is firmly lightweight to save airline’s weight and cost: “Everything is going lightweight and in the future there will also be collapsible ULDs, which will come in and e-commerce is driving this. There are opportunities in this in the future.”