The customer is at the core of everything

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Shawn Cole, vice president of Delta Cargo

Cargo may have contributed $865 million to Delta Air Lines’ top line revenue, but it’s not all about the money, the customer is at the core of everything says vice president Shawn Cole.

Delta Cargo had a successful year in 2018, with record on-time performance and significant investments in products, processes, technology and infrastructure.

2019 should be a good year too, with Cole commenting: “There is general optimism in the industry and we expect this to continue based on economist reports and public information.”

Pharma has been a major area of growth, with 40% growth in the last three months alone.

Cole says: “We have expanded our coolers at the Atlanta warehouse and the rollout of the CSafe RAP container has been an important customer enhancement.”

The trans-Atlantic partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic also have CEIV and WDA certification, providing customers with extensive options to ship pharmaceuticals.

Cole says: “Delta Cargo and Virgin Atlantic Cargo are the first joint venture providing true end-to-end compliance and assurance for customers moving pharmaceuticals, medicines and life science shipments between the US and UK.”

Customers are demanding greater transparency so that is what Delta Cargo is offering. DASH Critical for the domestic market, which is popular for organ and cord blood movements, and Critical for international shipments have GPS technology and are marked as high-priority.

ULD Bluetooth tracking is going well, with 70% of the fleet being tagged in 10 months. Delta Cargo has installed readers at 115 locations on six continents and is working with off-airport customers to offer readers in customer warehouses.

The new look DeltaCargo.com website has been well received by customers, with Cole saying: “Since introducing the website we have seen a 20 percentage points increase in global online bookings compared to 2017, the website is now Delta Cargo’s number one global booking channel compared to other Delta booking channels.”

The website will receive further enhancements, with enhanced tracking to include real-time visibility if a shipment is within a Bluetooth equipped ULD, as well as live SMS notifications for booking changes and tracking notifications.

That’s not all, Cole says: “A dangerous goods enhancement will be launched so customers can have their shipments, at the piece level, checked against aircraft limits, station capabilities and Delta policies during the booking process.”

E-commerce is another area of growth, Cole comments: “People are increasingly shopping on-line which is driving demand to move e-commerce products in a timely manner — with air freight providing global access for online shipping.”

There are challenges ahead, such as the strong US dollar, but Cole is confident about the future of Delta Cargo, saying: “As trucking improves with in the US and the need for Just-in Time support decreases – the need for Air Service becomes challenging. This provides opportunities for more specialised products and services.”