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Air CargoNews

Swissport launches self-service air cargo service

Swissport has launched a global initiative to speed up air cargo handling processes at its cargo warehouses by introducing newly developed self-service via kiosks. 

Swissport’s cargo business at Brussels Airport was the front-runner, followed by Amsterdam Airport, in launching the new service, which Swissport will roll out across all core cargo stations within the next 24 months. With this digital innovation, Swissport plans to reduce waiting times, increase the quality of air cargo documentation and ultimately raise customer satisfaction.

“Our new kiosks support the paperless eFreight initiative by IATA (International Air Transport Association) and at the same time accelerate the import and export processes for our customers significantly,” according to Hendrik Leyssens, vice president for global cargo operations at Swissport International. “Truck drivers benefit from minimal wait times and faster turnarounds.” 

After drivers register and identify at the kiosk with an official identification document or passport, they can scan all relevant air cargo documentation. Drivers then receive a text message alerting them which gate must be used for dropping the cargo. Shipping information also can be entered directly via a kiosk web portal by freight forwarders. And customers may link their IT systems via an API interface to Swissport’s database.

Swissport maintains that the new system increases efficiency and security. During the documents check, the kiosk system, which is connected to the EU Regulated Agent database, also checks the security status of every shipment. 

Separately, Swissport International has been awarded a license for 15 airports in a global tender for airport ground handling services by Moroccan airport operator ONDA. The new license has a seven-year term and is valid for airports in Agadir, Al Hoceima, Casablanca, Dakhla, Errachidia, Essaouira, Fès, Laâyoune, Marrakech, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat, Tangier and Tetouan.

The company currently is preparing the implementation of a group-wide environmental management system to be ready in 2020. By 2021, Swissport plans to convert most of its fleet of ground support equipment at Marrakech airport to electric propulsion. Under the new airport concessions, Swissport will invest more than MAD200 million ($20.7 million) to renew equipment, including baggage carts, aircraft tow tractors and cargo loaders. 

Swissport recently announced ambitious plans to increase the share of electrically powered vehicles in its global fleet to at least 50% by 2025. Between 2016 and 2018, Swissport increased the number of electrically powered vehicles in its fleet from 925 to 2,420, including electric cargo lifters and battery-powered aircraft pushback tractors. Part of the total investment in state-of-the-art electrically powered vehicles is related to introduction of telematic systems into the global fleet. Telematics optimize equipment utilization and contribute to a reduction in fuel consumption. The use of electrically powered vehicles is estimated to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and carbon footprint by up to 40% at some airports.

Swissport is the second-largest airport ground services company in Morocco after state-owned flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and serves 22 airline customers, including Air Arabia, Air Canada, British Airways, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Ryanair and TAP Air Portugal.

In addition to its general airport ground services business, Swissport maintains fixed base operations (FBO) for business and executive aviation customers at four airports in Morocco: Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier.

Swissport recently won a five-year contract from Swiss International Air Lines, covering load control services for the airline‘s entire continental operation in Europe from its central load control (CLC) center in Casablanca, excluding outbound flights from Zurich and Geneva.

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