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February 22, 2023

CargoTech: The Digital Future

Paris-based ECS Group’s Cargo Digital Factory, Wiremind Cargo and CargoAi, have co-ordinated their digital expertise under a new technology-focused and autono- mous company – CargoTech.
CargoTech also supports one of the four pillars of ECS Group’s new Augment- ed GSA concept, comprising Commercial, Technology, Sustainability and New Abilities.
We catch up with Cedric Millet, CargoTech president, in a relaxed but busi- ness-like manner as he spells out his thoughts on the future of air cargo.
Launching CargoTech at a time when many major global problems, such as the Ukraine emergency and a global pandemic that stubbornly refuses to surrender, are taking the headlines may not seem to have been a sensible move. However, Millet prides himself on a pragmatism that is bolstered by a confidence that turns the question as to timing of the launch on its head.
He says: “Of course there are problems in the world. If you looked at what hap- pened, some people would have been scared and would have decided not to launch. On the contrary, I believe it is even more important that we launched CargoTech at the beginning of the year. This will increase productivity, increase revenues and foster innovation in an industry that is lagging behind.”
While others in the IT and airfreight industries may have taken a negative per- spective, Millet and his team bought into the CargoTech idea and went ahead regardless to launch the operation.

The key driver to the launch of CargoTech, despite the headwinds, considers Millet, was his belief that it is now the time for digitalisation in the airfreight supply chain to come to the fore. At this moment, more than ever, the advantages of digitalisa- tion will work to strengthen airfreight and its supply chain activities.
He says: “Digitalisation was key during Covid. Forwarders did not know which airlines were flying, what capacity would be available on those aircraft that were flying. They had to resort to old school methods of calling on the telephone or sending an email which won’t do nowadays.”
He is convinced that the experience of using old school techniques will have increased awareness that they are no longer viable in a forward-facing industry. There will be a greater welcome to digitalisation in all areas of airfreight, he believes.

Human factors
While IT-based companies can seem to be based solely on the twin pillars of com- puter hardware and software programmes, to Millet there is a third pillar of equal, or possibly greater, importance: the people in the company.
The human touch in the workplace is so important to the businessman as he navigates the new workplace post-Covid. He accepts that there are hiring pres- sures at present that can hinder the recruitment of the talent he needs. “The hiring situation is very difficult at the present,” he admits.
Another change that Covid has prompted is mass working-from-home (WFH) in many countries around the globe. “The hybrid model of working is here to stay,” he says, confirming he is fully aware of the implications for the future of work.
Another key factor in the human resources at CargoTech is Millet’s understand- ing of the importance of the gender balance in his workforce. He points to the Cargo Digital Factory’s 50:50 male:female ratio, shared with recent acquisition Car- goAi which also has a fifty:fifty ratio, as models of how the workplace might look.
Hiring is always important to a company to bring in new talent and to deal with the inevitable churn of staff. People with cargo expertise married with technology knowledge are just the type that Millet seeks. In terms of cargo specialists, Millet seeks “business people, cargo business experts from the industry. In terms of tech- nology people, I seek scientists, IT school graduates and IT professionals,” he says.

Artificial intelligence
Millet is well aware of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has, and will, shape the air- freight business. It is not something to be worried about though, he considers.
“AI adds value in the way it brings an insight much more quickly than a human brain,” he says. In many people’s opinion, there are two roads to consider getting into AI use in the airfreight supply chain. You can automate everything in the chain and decimate jobs or use the technology to make better decisions. Millet is confi- dent that the positive aspects of the introduction will prevail as the industry gains better decision-making abilities.
“Digitisalisation is not about killing jobs,” he states. “digitisalisation is looking at automating things indeed, but is also and mainly about revenue optimisation.”
CargoTech’s goal is to bring cargo business experts together with technology experts to fast track the air cargo industry’s digitisalisation efforts. Millet is fully be- hind this mission.

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