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Dutch airfreight wholesaler gets wings

Airfreight pallet prepared for loading. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Rinaldo Vels saw a niche in the airfreight industry by offering couriers, truckers, e-commerce services and startup freight forwarders access to airline cargo capacity as a wholesaler.

Wholesalers traditionally consolidate airfreight shipments for forwarders at lower rates than if they deal directly with the airlines and secure access to the most efficient overseas flights.

Newly formed Wholesale by Vels, Amsterdam, is targeting forwarders without their International Air Transport Association (IATA) licenses.

“Forwarders who are not IATA licensed are not allowed to book directly with the airlines,” Vels told American Shipper. “Therefore, we provide these companies the option to make use of our services and [IATA] license, where we provide full transparency about the airfreight costs.”

Vels, a 20-plus-year airfreight veteran in the Netherlands, said the process to incorporate the company, including receiving its IATA accreditation, took more time than expected due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company currently has a staff of three and an automated platform to manage its service.

Wholesale by Vels will initially provide outbound services from the Amsterdam airport to destinations in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the U.S. and inbound capacity from Asia-Pacific and the U.S.

“Our goal [in the beginning] is to establish a few key routes to and from the U.S. in cooperation with our partners,” Vels said.

While Wholesale by Vels manages consolidations under its own IATA license, it will work with appointed cargo-handling agents to provide physical cargo handling, including labeling, weighing and conducting dimensional checks. Vels said his company will also handle dangerous goods, if requested.

“The future of air cargo is clearly digital, but we have a new generation of companies and staff whose digital competence and capabilities are not matched by practical knowledge and experience. To be successful, you need both,” he said.

The ongoing global pandemic in many trade routes made access to airfreight capacity costly and limited. Yet Wholesale by Vels has pulled through with securing airfreight capacity for some of its large forwarder clients. “We operated three full charters out of China, even before we received our IATA accreditation,” Vels said.

“Airlines are open to the wholesale business, which in our case, it is all about the relationships we have with the airlines at Amsterdam airport,” he said. “We have a serious amount of different airlines with which we have long-lasting, personal relationships.”

Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.