Focus on pharma for Swiss WorldCargo in 2016

Swiss WorldCargo

Swiss WorldCargo is looking to grow its pharmaceuticals offering and plans on launching new products and service to meet the needs of the sector.

The Swiss carrier is also planning on improving the handling of pharma cargo through various lanes to improve the quality and standards.

Swiss WorldCargo head of cargo, Ashwin Bhat tells Air Cargo Week it is looking into how it can improve and develop business in the segment, but it is not just about the product or service as he aims to develop a knowledge-based organisation.

He explains: “It is not just good enough to throw a new product or service to the customer as pharma is so specialised and knowledge based – you need the right people.

“I cannot ask the reservation guys to suddenly start selling pharma as the customers demand a certain knowledge so I need to upgrade – we are looking into training in this sphere.”

Swiss WorldCargo gained the International Air Transport Association’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) in Pharmaceutical Logistics certificate at Zurich Airport, and is looking to attain this at other stations.

Bhat says: “We went for CEIV in Zurich and have that and in Zurich are aiming as an airline to be certified soon and are looking into CEIV for our whole network wherever there is a big flow and I would like to create ‘quality corridors’. We are talking about a chain and you cannot have the Zurich hub great and other destinations not at the same standard. I would like to elevate my same standards across the network.

“As an example of this could be Singapore – a quality alliance we created with SATS and the cargo handler. Both the lanes are certified and we have created with partners a quality corridor – where customers get the same level of quality.

“I want to create quality corridors across the network – where there is a value for these services. India would be one, the US would be another and so on, this is something we are working towards. So one is the product and services, the second is the people part, and the third is quality part – for me it is all about customer experience.”

Bhat feels Swiss WorldCargo is in good shape generally, but it needs to branch out, as he believes “you cannot have the same pony with the same trick” and must always evolve and grow as a business.

The carrier introduced its first Boeing 777 to its fleet in January and will add six more in 2016 and three in 2017/18, giving it 15 per cent  more cargo capacity this year.

Swiss WorldCargo is also planning to invest further in technology and e-freight as Bhat says it improves efficiency and the transferring of data boosts transparency. He feels the amount of time spent giving out information is “phenomenal” and is reducing the speed of service.

E-commerce is another possible target segment, and Bhat says the Swiss airline is looking to see “if there is space for us” and is aiming to find partners it can work with for the first and last miles of the supply chain.

Bhat concludes: “It is going to be tough in 2016. January and February were tough, China and Asia are soft, but I am confident and want to focus on my own strengths and success factor.

“The capacity we have as a medium sized carrier – the focus should be how I fill that. It is all about positive mindsets and delivering on the ground and on your promises to your customers – it is about continuous improvements.”