Challenge accepted

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Challenge Group, which consists of CAL Cargo Airlines, Challenge Airlines, Challenge Handling and Challenge Air Cargo and the recently launched Belgian AOC, are not shy of a challenge when it comes to difficult shipments.

“The group specialises in special services and vertical products, one of which is oversized shipments, from a 45 tonne power plant turbine to 24 tonne drilling pipes and helicopters to a family of rhinos for the Safari zoo,” said Doron Laufer, Group procurement & global performance manager.

Drive to digital

Like the rest of the air cargo industry, Challenge Group is moving to digitalise processes to streamline operations.

“The company frequently uses automation at various stages of the process, from air way bill handling instructions to reports from the aircraft via ACARS messages which creates automatic purchase orders to suppliers,” said Laufer.

Last month, TIACA highlighted the key challenges that the industry faces and the calls to action, one main focus being digitalisation. “Efficient and effective solutions require harnessing the power of data to modernise processes and provide transparent quality services,” the TIACA statement read.

“Great moves forward have been experienced during the past 12 months as the industry was forced to find new ways of working. We must now take this even further and we urge all parties to establish and implement digital transformation plans.”

Communication

“The key to success in transporting difficult and heavy lift cargo is communication,” Laufer explained. “CAL has developed a network of internal key positions to ensure an adequate communication flow throughout the chain and the group:

  • A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is responsible for the group policy in their field as well as any process, procedure, training and supplier relationships in this field, and Trustees located in each station, who are locally responsible for their field according to the policy established by the SME.
  • The group also has local operational supervision teams in every station including warehouse handlers and TACs (Manage the full turnaround of aircraft), who are responsible for the supervision of complex time-critical shipments during the loading and off-loading processes to ensure that they are handled in accordance with SOPs.”

Overcoming challenges

The Group operates four B747-400 freighters for their complex shipments.

“As a company specialising in oversized cargo, we come across a lot of special requirements to overcome problems,” explained Laufer.

“We perform risk management for special oversized cargo. We also have a dedicated procedure (Standard Operating Measures -SOPs) for every type of Vertical shipment, from the booking to the delivery of the shipment, to ensure the validity of the information and compliance with IATA regulations.

“The company operates high loaders which can carry more than 30 tonnes at its main hubs, located in LGG, TLV, and JFK, a fleet of open nose and door 747 400s.”