Air Canada Cargo is taking its operations to new heights by strategically managing its Unit Load Devices (ULDs) through a dynamic partnership with Unilode Aerospace Solutions.
Air Canada Cargo’s ULD fleet is as diverse as the cargo it handles. The airline leases its ULDs from Unilode Aerospace Solutions, a move that affords them the flexibility to promptly introduce new ULDs when necessary.
“In today’s airfreight landscape, agility is key. By partnering with Unilode, we ensure that our ULD fleet remains adaptable to the evolving demands of our cargo and passenger operations,” Janet Wallace, Air Canada Cargo’s Managing Director of Cargo Operation and Transformation, said.
“This strategic collaboration not only boosts our operational capabilities but also enhances visibility for our clients, aligning with our commitment to stay at the forefront of ULD digitisation.”
This partnership with Unilode’s expansive network also grants Air Canada Cargo access to a wide array of specialty ULDs beyond the standard cargo pallets and baggage ULDs. These include custom solutions such as horse stalls, 16-foot boards, Heavy Duty PMC, and Garment ULDs, which can be integrated seamlessly at various points within the Unilode network.
Diving into the digital
Unilode has teamed up with OnAsset to provide a ULD digitisation solution that delivers enhanced visibility and traceability for cargo items. This joint effort aligns with Air Canada’s goal of prioritising innovation and efficiency in its airfreight operations. The collaboration between Unilode and OnAsset offers a comprehensive solution that benefits not only Air Canada Cargo but also shippers and customers by providing real-time tracking and insights into the location of their shipments.
“At Air Canada, being in the forefront of ULD digitsation is crucial for us and Unilode has partnered with OnAsset to deliver a known product. This gives the asset provider, shipper and, eventually, our customers enhanced visibility on where their items are. The synergies created benefit our cargo and passenger operations,” Wallace highlighted.
Sharing and standards
Addressing the issue of ULD imbalance across the global aviation landscape, Air Canada Cargo employs a strategic pooling approach through the Unilode Global Operations Centre. This allows the airline to share ULD assets within the extensive Unilode network of customers, ensuring that ULDs are available where and when they are needed. In combination with the ongoing management of leased ULDs, this has proven to be a successful formula for maintaining operational efficiency.
Ensuring adherence to industry standards is paramount for Air Canada Cargo’s ULD operations. The airline collaborates closely with IATA, ground handlers, self-handled stations, as well as Unilode, to ensure that training and practices align with IATA standards.
Wallace emphasised, “By actively participating in ULD Care, Air Canada Cargo remains committed to upholding industry standards. This commitment not only guarantees safe operations but also contributes to the overall visibility and reliability of ULDs across our network.”
While ULD management offers numerous benefits, it’s not without its challenges. One of the foremost challenges faced by Air Canada Cargo is preventing ULD damage.
However, the airline has successfully tackled this challenge by intensifying ULD training, increasing local station support, and raising awareness about proper handling practices. “Through increased ULD training and local station support and awareness, we have lowered our damage ratio,” Wallace explained.