Data released in the first quarter by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows the Middle East to be one of the few bright spots in a global airfreight market largely defined by slowing growth or contraction.
In 2014, it registered the strongest cargo growth of any region with airlines increasing their capacity by over 11 per cent to facilitate a market expansion of 11 per cent. Calogi, an air cargo services portal and part of Dubai-based dnata, continues to support Dubai’s robust airfreight growth. Its first two months of 2015 brought a rise in transactions of over five per cent and a customer base increase of nearly 10 per cent.
“We are re-focussing efforts on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market,” says Calogi head, Patrick Murray. “Our objective is to make dnata an easier company to do business with and to identify new products that benefit the UAE market.” To combat capacity constraints in Dubai, Calogi has developed a dock booking module. “This feature allows the forwarder to book terminal docks for export delivery and import collection, enabling a more streamlined acceptance and delivery process. Off-peak, normal or peak rates for each acceptance and delivery dock workloads to be spread,” he tells Air Cargo Week (ACW).
Dubai freight forwarders subscribing to Calogi automatically have the opportunity to book docks at the dnata freight gate facilities. Based on historical data and the type of dock, Calogi calculates the loading and unloading times required for one or more shipments and automatically allocates the time required to complete the acceptance or delivery process.
“The Dubai cargo business is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate and this is putting pressure on local stakeholders to do things smarter,” says Murray. “The Calogi dock booking feature is one of our many responses to the growth challenge. In the last month we processed over 10,500 export dock bookings for over 18,000 tonnes of cargo.”
Calogi’s ad hoc air waybill (AWB) release feature enables airlines and ground service agents (GSA) to do business with over 600 forwarders in Dubai without the need for the traditional stock release and associated payment delays and credit risks.
“The airline makes a pool of air waybill stock available to the community and each forwarder has the option to assign an air waybill, from that pool, to a particular job,” explains Murray. “On execution of the air waybill, the monies are deducted from the forwarder’s Calogi credit account with guaranteed payment to the relevant airline every month end. The airline charges a fee, currently set at 50 per cent of the local AWB fee, for this type of flexible release, which is a source of income that did not exist prior to the Calogi implementation.”
Airlines can use Calogi to set up their own credit accounts with forwarders or use the agent’s Calogi credit account for collection of the airfreight charges. The balance of the accounts is visible to both. Airlines can distribute air waybill stock in a secure environment to their customers and can make rack rates available to the entire community. Rapid market growth and ensuring innovative solutions are on offer to customers remain key challenges for Calogi and others. “Our industry is very traditional and in many ways reluctant to embrace change,” says Murray. “Current [electronic air waybill] e-AWB penetration reached its highest ever level in May at 27.9 per cent, reversing two months of decline, but the growth rate is not enough to see it hit the IATA target for 2015. There is still much to be done if penetration is to reach the IATA target of 45 per cent by the end of the year. If growth continues at the rate it has since the start of the year, when the figure stood at 24.9 per cent, penetration will reach just over 32 per cent by the end of December.” According to Murray, in Dubai Calogi is working with some large airlines to increase the e-AWB penetration before the end of the year.
Calogi is planning to develop a number of self-service modules which will be rolled out across the dnata cargo terminals in 2016 and target walk-in customers who deliver one-off shipments at Dubai. “The aim is to avoid the need for walk-in customers to visit the dnata counters which will reduce waiting times, increase the efficiency of the service and offer a variety of payment options,” says Murray. “We are also looking at how we can speed up the acceptance and delivery process.”