COVID-19 has caused havoc with passenger numbers and the decline looks set to continue well into 2021. But with cargo volumes rising in many parts of the world, the opportunity to offset lost revenue and create new revenue streams handling increased cargo loads is proving itself to be a popular route to market for airports worldwide.
While overall cargo capacity has decreased in 2020, this was evidently due to significant flight and border restrictions. Due to the lack of available capacity, cargo load factors actually rose 7.7% in 2020. This contributed to increased yields and revenues, providing support to airlines and airports.
According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), while air transport carries around 0.5% of the volume of world trade shipments, it is over 35% by value – meaning that goods shipped by air are very high value commodities, often times perishable or time-sensitive. This is even more crucial due to global vaccine distribution.
So, we can see that the opportunity is there but because of the expedience of the crisis and pressures on budgets, the challenge for many airports is how quickly they can start to realize the associated revenue gains of handling more cargo, while keeping any investments relatively low.
ACI World business partner AutoLogic Airports, has launched a modular cargo facility that is low-cost and can be installed within months.
iCargoTM comprises a prefabricated semi-permanent modular building, cargo hardware and software that can process from 40,000 to 3m tonnes of cargo per annum.
The prefabricated module building takes just weeks to erect, and airports can select from a wide range of leading hardware including Conveyors, X-ray and Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) and Customs zones. There are also optional UV and Fridge Freezer Solutions.
Digital twins are created to test the facility before it’s built, shortening the commissioning time even further.
The end-to-end facility can be fully operational within 6 months.
ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said
iCargoTM has been developed in response to the crisis, enabling airports to explore the development or improvement of their current cargo handling operations to support the global effort in keeping supply chains flowing and also start generating much needed revenue. This is a timely development that could be a welcome option for our members.
Dr. Alex Bradley, Director of AutoLogic Airports added:
“It can take years and significant budget to build a cargo facility so it’s fantastic to be able to offer a solution that is just as effective but can be operational within months at a fraction of the cost.”
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