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February 28, 2024

CargoTech: Paving the way for a more sustainable future in air cargo

Sustainability is not an objective, but a tangible reality for CargoTech’s member companies. Wiremind, CargoAi, Rotate, and CharterSync illustrate their solutions, the industry’s challenges, and what is planned for 2024.

“The CargoTech range of digital solutions have a fundamental role to play in the sustainability strategies of all companies focused on achieving Net Zero and other Sustainable Development Goals,” says Cédric Millet, President of CargoTech. “Why? Because all our CargoTech members offer products that enhance visibility, process efficiency and awareness of improvement areas. And they naturally apply the same sustainability focus to their own operations.”

A broad palette of digital solutions

From measuring carbon emissions, to optimising capacity, or reducing the need for paper documents, CargoTech’s members share a common interest in developing smart, tailored solutions for the air cargo industry in close collaboration with its stakeholders and each other. Magali Beauregard, CCO of CargoAi, states: “CargoAi is committed to sustainability and has released multiple products to support the sustainability transition for the air cargo industry.” CargoAi’s pioneering Cargo2ZERO CO2 footprint reporting product, launched in September 2022, is one such example, and earned CargoAi a sustainability award at the TIACA conference in Miami later that year. “We are always open to develop and push joint products with other industry peers, highlighted by our strategic partnership with Neste,” she continues, referring to the tool’s enhancement that enables freight forwarders and their clients to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of their cargo transport through the voluntary purchase of Neste’s SAF using the MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel function when booking a cargo transport in Cargo2ZERO.

Price versus Planet

Sustainability requires investment and change. An in-depth CharterSync research paper which examined several carbon offset initiatives, also found that one major challenge still today, is that the ultimate shipper of the goods may often insist on the cheapest price rather than the most sustainable option. Forwarders, on the other hand, are increasingly including sustainability evaluation metrics in their procurement processes, which will promote a re-evaluation of airline fleets, replacing aging freighters with more fuel-economic modern aircraft and cleaner fuel alternatives.
“What is the largest sustainability challenge facing the air cargo industry, today?” Nathanaël de Tarade, asks and answers: “The blunt but realistic answer is simply ‘to find ways to keep flying’. If you look at the current emissions, they aren’t sustainable on the long term. Whether you are optimistic and think that technology (electric aircraft, more sustainable fuel, etc.) will be a big part of the solution, or more pessimistic and you think we’ll have to cut a part of what is currently flying, the answer is possibly a blend of both solutions. Wiremind’s contribution is to ensure that load efficiencies are maximised so that every flight is used to full capacity for a better emissions to impact ratio.”

Education and innovation

CargoAi also views short-term price thinking without considering its long-term impact as one of the major challenges faced by the air cargo industry and seeks to educate the industry to bring about more sustainable procurement decisions. “Without tools enabling you to understand your CO2 footprint, it becomes harder to make a more environmentally conscious decision when it comes to procuring cargo capacity for daily shipments,” says Magali Beauregard.
CharterSync’s Sustainability Officer, James Hymers, too, sees the need for greater awareness and understanding in the industry: “I am committed to leading the way in promoting environmental consciousness within the aviation industry. My primary focus will be on developing and implementing innovative strategies to reduce our carbon footprint, while also educating our team and partners about sustainable practices. By integrating green initiatives into our core operations, CharterSync aims to set a new standard for eco-friendly practices in air charter services, paving the way for a more sustainable future in aviation.”

Sustainability highlights to come this year

Wiremind is aiming to release its SkyPallet 2.0 before the summer. The new software, which has been developed in cooperation with many existing customers, is designed to achieve higher load factors per ULD, resulting in less wasted capacity and more cargo on each flight. In true CargoTech spirit, Wiremind and CharterSync will be working closer together to bring about greater flight operation efficiencies through the integration of Wiremind’s loadability optimisation software in the CharterSync platform. James Hymers, explains: “CharterSync already calculates carbon offset based on aircraft type, fuel efficiency, payload carried, and distance flown. In the next phase of our platform enhancements, we will be placing significant importance on better ranking and labelling customer quotation options based upon fuel efficiency and sustainability criteria.”

Sustainability criteria increasingly play a role in business decisions, as Ryan Keyrouse, CEO of Rotate, confirms: “For many years, commercial decisions were driven by contribution or profitability metrics, but these days, sustainability metrics are becoming more and more important, and are thus fundamental elements to be included in our software. We will be adding emissions data to our Live Capacity platform, this year, to ensure that our customers have all the relevant parameters required to optimise their networks.”

Sustainability is not just a commercial objective

Within CargoTech, sustainability is a lifestyle choice, not just a commercial objective, as Magali Beauregard illustrates: “Sustainability is one of the core pillars of CargoAi. Our strategy applies simple yet powerful habits such as enabling remote teams thus saving commute CO2 emissions, shared spaces, and reusable cups to reduce each individual’s carbon footprint.” Nathanaël de Tarade concurs: “At Wiremind, we are fortunate to have employees who are very proactive in their sustainability initiatives which range from small contributions such as distributing reusable boxes for lunch, to significant ones where thorough calculations are made regarding emissions coming from our own providers. These are regular, positive signs of their commitment to both the subject matter and the company.”

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