Ready For Take Off: The World’s Biggest Air Cargo Trade Fair

Considered the largest air cargo trade fair in the world, air cargo Europe is taking place during the leading trade fair transport logistic in Munich. Over 220 companies from more than 40 countries will be exhibiting on around 15,000 square meters from 4 to 7 June 2019. Fraport AG is also on board.

Fraport AG at transport logistic 2019:
Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, Halle B 1.113

The exhibitors and events at air cargo Europe cover a broad range of topics, from ever-increasing climate protection requirements to the growing importance of online trade and the shortage of specialists in the global air cargo industry. Automation, alternative drives, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer solutions.

“The subject of artificial intelligence can only be brought down to earth by discussing concrete applications.”

Dr Joachim Ehrenthal, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Basel

“The use of AI is the logical consequence of the progressive digitization of air freight”, explains Dr Joachim Ehrenthal from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland. He is a co-organizer of the open discussion group “Artificial Intelligence: Next Level Air Cargo?” at the industry meeting. Ehrenthal would like to bring the topic of artificial intelligence “down to earth” by discussing concrete applications. AI is already used in aviation for forecasts, optical process monitoring, vehicle maintenance, packing containers and fraud detection.

Computational Intelligence processes – nature-inspired processes such as artificial neural networks and swarm intelligence – often meet the requirements for air freight. The focus is always on data and its automated use. “We have to get data to take off. This means that existing data cemeteries must be activated and transformed into operational decision-making systems,” Ehrenthal stresses.

“Up to five percent of air freight will be eliminated by 3D printing.”

Dr Harald Sieke, Head Of Department, Air Traffic Logistics, Fraunhofer IML

Dr. Harald Sieke, Head of Air Traffic Logistics at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML), confirms this view: “AI will be used along the entire air freight transport chain. The most promising possibilities are booking, reservations, and setting up cargo for aircraft loading.” AI will also lead to shifts in the market, as individual players will reposition themselves and others will disappear.

A further trend is that, for years, the strong growth in online trade has led to ever smaller consignments, right down to individual items. “This trend towards small-scale delivery will increase, especially in cross-border e-commerce – a very important segment for air freight,” Sieke predicts. In addition, customers want to track shipments as seamlessly as possible. Cargo iQ, an initiative of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), therefore aims to support process control, quality monitoring and service improvement.

Emirates SkyCargo received Cargo iQ certification in March 2018. “We proactively interact with our customers on the status of their shipments,” says Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo. “We monitor shipments around the clock in real time on the basis of defined milestones and take corrective action in the event of deviations or delays.”

“We proactively interact with our customers on the status of their shipments.”

Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, Dubai

The shortage of skilled workers is also accelerating the trend towards automated systems for both the handling and transport of air freight. At the same time, “up to five percent of air freight will become superfluous due to 3D printing,” says Sieke. However, if one compares this figure with the expected annual growth of air freight, then “the effects of these technologies can be regarded as negligible”. On the other hand, the Internet of Things will have a much greater influence. “In the future, consignments will find their own way through the air freight network,” he says. He believes that in five to ten years’ time, the intensive research currently being undertaken will already be evident in practice.

transport logistic, the international trade fair for logistics, mobility, IT and supply chain management, is regarded as the world’s largest trade fair for freight transport by road, rail, water and air. air cargo Europe is part of transport logistic. It is both an exhibition and a meeting place for the global air freight industry. In 2017, 60,726 visitors from 123 countries and 2,162 exhibitors from 62 countries came to the Munich Exhibition Centre. transport logistic takes place every two years.

Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos by Messe München AG, Fraunhofer Institut, University of Basel, Emirates, pixelio

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