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Airlink Highlights Critical Role of Logistics in Meeting Humanitarian Needs

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Airlink Highlights Critical Role of Logistics in Meeting Humanitarian Needs

Air carriers and logistics specialists are increasingly vital in addressing the rising demand for humanitarian emergency response, according to Airlink, an international aid organization. The growing frequency of global conflicts and climate change-induced disasters has amplified the need for efficient humanitarian aid delivery.

Read also: Logistics Planning Information For Key U.S. Seaports

Data from Airlink shows that approximately 73% of an aid program’s costs are tied to supply chain management, including transport logistics. “Humanitarian logistics is often a blind spot, even within the logistics and humanitarian sectors,” said Steve Smith, CEO of Airlink. Many small NGOs lack the budgets and logistical expertise needed to manage the transport of donated aid, resulting in unbudgeted costs that Airlink helps cover through its network of donor airlines, freight forwarders, and financial contributors.

The pandemic and the Ukraine war have fundamentally transformed Airlink’s operational model, shifting its focus from moving responders to prioritizing cargo transport for NGO partners. Last year, Airlink facilitated aid deliveries to crisis zones including Haiti, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Tigray, and Iraq, leveraging partnerships with major airlines and freight forwarders.

Currently, Airlink is responding to the severe floods in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, despite limitations due to the lack of an international assistance call from the Brazilian government. Airlink has provided flights for humanitarian aid non-profit Cadena and is coordinating shipments for six other NGOs to meet immediate needs such as medical supplies, clean water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter.

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Airlink transported four “hospitainers”—mobile hospitals designed for disaster zones—from the Netherlands to Egypt for the International Medical Corps. Accessibility issues in regions like Afghanistan are addressed by flying aid to the nearest entry point and trucking it to the final destination. Financial support from corporate donors enables Airlink to arrange charter flights, filling connectivity gaps for its partners.

Beyond airlines and logistics firms, Airlink collaborates with diverse organizations for additional support. For instance, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provides pro-bono legal work, and American Express Global Business Travel is developing a flight management system for responders. Key cash donors include ACI Europe, BOC Aviation, ISTAT, Alton Aviation, and SMBC Capital.

Smith emphasizes that every business can contribute to humanitarian efforts, whether through in-kind support or integrating Airlink into their corporate giving programs. “The need for humanitarian aid is growing globally, and every player in the logistics, cargo, and aviation sectors can make a significant impact. Airlink’s mission is to facilitate this involvement as seamlessly and effectively as possible,” he stated.

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EU and US Drive Forward with Major Rail Freight Initiatives

EU Approves €1.7bn German State Aid to Boost Rail Freight

The European Commission (EC) has greenlit a €1.7 billion German state aid scheme to support rail freight operators, aiming to shift more cargo from road to rail and promote greener transportation methods. This initiative will subsidize the high operating costs faced by rail operators handling single and group wagon transport, which often struggle with economic viability due to their complex and less scalable nature.

Read also: Freight Train Derailment Sparks Fire Near US-Mexico Border

Single wagon load transport involves bundling individual or small groups of wagons from different consignors into one train, while group wagon transport maintains the same composition from origin to destination. Both methods face high costs due to switching, shunting, and lack of economies of scale. The EC emphasized that this state aid is environmentally beneficial and will not negatively impact competition and trade within the EU, as it merely aims to level the playing field between rail and road freight transport.

The approved financial aid will be dispensed as direct grants, with a maximum of €320 million annually, totaling €1.7 billion over five years.

US Intermodal Rail Transport Gains Momentum

In the US, intermodal rail transport from West Coast ports has been gaining significant traction. Rail operators BNSF and Union Pacific report increased volumes, partly due to the successful ‘Quantum intermodal service’ launched by BNSF and trucking company JB Hunt. This service, which began in November, targets highway freight that has traditionally never been transported by rail, aiming to convert it to rail transport.

Darren Field, JB Hunt’s intermodal president, highlighted the success of this initiative at an investor conference, noting the positive reception and long-term growth potential for the intermodal business through the Quantum product.

Rising transloading activities have also bolstered optimism about the future of intermodal transport in the US. This optimism is reflected in BNSF’s $1.5 billion Barstow International Gateway project proposal. This 4,500-acre complex will feature a block-swap yard, support yard, warehouses, and transload centers, facilitating the transfer of goods from international containers to domestic ones for eastbound rail transport. The project, which aims to reduce congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and eliminate the need for an 80-mile drayage to Southern California intermodal terminals, is expected to begin the permitting process by late 2027.

These initiatives in both the EU and US mark significant steps towards enhancing rail freight infrastructure and capacity, aiming to create more efficient, sustainable, and competitive logistics networks.

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Panama Canal Crossings Resume, Full Normalization Still Pending

Liner services impacted by recent restrictions on Panama Canal transits have returned to regular operation this month. The affected services include THE Alliance’s Asia-US East Coast routes, MSC’s Santana service, and the Asia-US East Coast service managed by Hapag-Lloyd and Wan Hai Lines.

Read also: Panama Canal Water Levels to impact Westbound Trade Well Into 2024

These services were forced to reroute through the Suez Canal and then the Cape of Good Hope following the Red Sea crisis at the end of 2023. However, with the increase in Neo-Panamax transit slots at the Panama Canal from May, carriers are restoring these routes to Panama, reducing overall round-trip transit times by one to two weeks.

THE Alliance had to omit 37 sailings since the end of 2023, while MSC resumed westbound sailings for the Santana service on May 9, with a new rotation bypassing the US East Coast to prioritize Central America. Hapag-Lloyd and Wan Hai restarted westbound transits on May 7.

Peter Sand, Xeneta’s chief analyst, noted that although the increased canal transits have not fully resolved the tonnage shortage caused by vessel diversions, the situation is improving. He stated, “On June 15, another slot opens for Neo-Panamax transits, which is another step in the right direction. More importantly, it’s about bringing the draught restrictions back to 50 feet, allowing fully laden boxships to transit.”

Simon Heaney, senior manager of container research at Drewry, pointed out that while canal transits hit a six-month high of 26.3 in April, daily boxship transits averaged seven in April, down from 8.4 in October. Heaney explained, “The easing of restrictions to the Panamax locks hasn’t significantly changed container ship flows through the canal since the sector typically uses the Neo-Panamax locks. Currently, the maximum draught is 44 feet, whereas normal conditions allow for 50 feet. It’s estimated that container ships lose approximately 350 TEU for every foot of lost draught.”

While the situation at the Panama Canal is improving, it will take more time and adjustments, including lifting draught restrictions, for full normalization of operations.

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Boeing Cargo Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Istanbul Without Front Landing Gear

A Boeing 767 cargo plane operated by FedEx was compelled to execute an emergency landing at Istanbul airport after its front landing gear malfunctioned, marking yet another setback for the troubled aircraft manufacturer.

Read also: UPS to Replace FedEx as U.S. Postal Service’s Primary Air Cargo Provider

Thankfully, no injuries were reported in the incident, confirmed by Turkey’s transport ministry. Departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the flight encountered difficulties when its landing gear failed to deploy upon approach to Istanbul airport on Wednesday. With guidance from the air traffic control tower, the aircraft successfully landed, albeit without its front landing gear.

Emergency services were on standby as the plane made its dramatic descent. Following the landing, authorities initiated an investigation to determine the cause of the landing gear failure, conducting thorough examinations at the scene.

Video footage captured the tense moments as the plane’s back wheels made contact with the runway, followed by its fuselage, emitting sparks and smoke from its underside. Despite the harrowing scene, the aircraft managed to skid to a halt, remaining on the runway.

In response to the incident, the affected runway was temporarily closed to air traffic. However, operations on other runways at the airport continued uninterrupted, as confirmed by the airport operator IGA.

This incident amplifies concerns over Boeing’s safety record, amidst a series of crises and safety issues. Just one day prior, Boeing disclosed potential lapses in mandatory safety inspections on its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, prompting an investigation by the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

These revelations follow recent allegations by a whistleblower engineer accusing Boeing of cutting corners to alleviate production bottlenecks during the manufacturing of the 787. Boeing had previously pledged to overhaul its safety culture, particularly after an alarming incident in January involving an Alaska Airlines 737 Max plane, where a door panel blew out mid-flight.

The aerospace giant had been striving to recover from the fallout of two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019, which led to the global grounding of the model for nearly two years.

As investigations into Wednesday’s incident unfold, FedEx and Boeing have been approached for comment, though Boeing has declined to provide any statements at this time.

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Redwood Logistics and American Tire Distributors to Showcase Innovative Supply Chain Orchestration at Gartner Symposium

Redwood Logistics, a leading fourth-party logistics (4PL) provider in North America, is set to sponsor the highly anticipated 2024 Gartner Supply Chain Symposium in Orlando, Florida from May 6–8, 2024. This event will serve as a platform for Redwood to spotlight its groundbreaking partnership with American Tire Distributors (ATD) and demonstrate the transformative power of modern 4PL services in optimizing supply chain operations.

On May 6, 2024, attendees of the Gartner Symposium will have the opportunity to witness firsthand the success story of ATD and Redwood’s collaboration at Stage 2 on the expo floor at 1:10 P.M. EDT. Through this session, participants will gain insights into ATD’s journey towards enhancing supply chain efficiency and visibility, driven by Redwood’s innovative 4PL strategies. The discussion will delve into ATD’s adoption of centralized freight decision-making and the strategic advantages derived from consolidation, automation, and refined less-than-truckload (LTL) procurement strategies.

Read also: Redwood Logistics Acquires Rockfarm Supply Chain Solutions, Fortifying Redwood’s Modern 4PL Services

Eric Rempel, Chief Innovation Officer of Redwood Logistics, emphasized the company’s commitment to simplifying integration for its customers through a modern 4PL approach. By leveraging Redwood’s integration platform, clients can seamlessly orchestrate their supply chain solutions, optimizing processes and driving measurable enhancements.

The collaboration between ATD and Redwood has yielded impressive results, including a rapid implementation of a new Transportation Management System (TMS) with a go-live timeline of just 6 weeks. Additionally, the establishment of a fully connected procurement and carrier network strategy, alongside automated processes, has significantly reduced LTL costs by 37%.

Rempel highlighted Redwood’s dedication to fostering value-driven partnerships with its clients, translating into tangible competitive advantages across various business domains. Redwood’s modern 4PL strategy has garnered industry recognition, with the company named as a Representative Vendor in the 2023 Gartner® Market Guide for 4PLs.

Symposium attendees are encouraged to visit Redwood’s booth, number 202, to engage with logistics experts and participate in Redwood’s logistics health assessment, offering valuable insights to unlock optimization opportunities within their logistics strategies.

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Synergy North America Teams Up with Supply Chain BEST to Enhance WMS Implementation Capabilities

Synergy North America Inc. has forged a strategic partnership with Supply Chain BEST, a leading industry solutions adviser, aimed at bolstering their capabilities in WMS implementation.

In this collaboration as preferred channel partners, Synergy will tap into the extensive system implementation and project management expertise of Supply Chain BEST, based in Florida. This partnership marks the latest addition to Synergy’s rapidly growing network of partners, vendors, and integrations for SnapFulfil, further leveraging Supply Chain BEST’s resources across the US, Canada, UK, and Hong Kong.

Joe Huss, President of Supply Chain BEST, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing their shared commitment to delivering top-notch customer supply chain solutions. He praised SnapFulfil for its advanced rules engine, flexibility, and configurability, highlighting its streamlined build process that minimizes additional development and coding for each deployment, thus reducing complexity and cost.

With over 40 companies in its partnership network spanning various integration categories, including ERP, iPaaS, Marketplace, Robotics, and Shipping, Synergy is poised to enhance its offerings significantly.

Brian Kirst, Chief Commercial Officer of Synergy Logistics, echoed the sentiment of mutual benefit, emphasizing Supply Chain BEST’s alignment with their domain expertise and approach to implementation. He emphasized the shared focus on rapid time-to-value and strong return on investment in integrated software solutions, paving the way for scalable growth opportunities and the development of mutually beneficial business ventures.

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Haelixa Strengthens Leadership Team to Drive Supply Chain Innovation and Growth

Haelixa, a leading provider of physical traceability solutions, is pleased to announce strategic appointments aimed at fueling innovation and accelerating growth in the supply chain industry. Patrick Strumpf has been appointed as the new CEO, while Stefan Karlen joins the Board of Directors, marking significant milestones in Haelixa’s journey towards advancing supply chain transparency solutions and fostering positive industry change.

Bringing over 20 years of experience in business building and scaling, Patrick Strumpf assumes the role of CEO with a strong entrepreneurial background across manufacturing, distribution, and retail sectors. His leadership prowess, commercial acumen, and customer-centric approach position Haelixa for continued success and innovation. Strumpf expresses enthusiasm for Haelixa’s traceability solution, emphasizing its potential to set high standards and deliver significant advantages to brands and manufacturers, particularly in compliance and credibility realms.

Joining Haelixa’s Board of Directors, Stefan Karlen contributes over 30 years of supply chain industry expertise, having served as the Group CEO of Panalpina, a global freight forwarding and logistics leader. With a deep understanding of global supply chains and a track record of driving innovation, Karlen’s insights will be invaluable in shaping Haelixa’s strategic direction. Passionate about environmental responsibility, Karlen aligns with Haelixa’s values and is eager to leverage his skills to support the company’s sustainability-focused mission.

Dr. Gediminas Mikutis, Haelixa’s co-founder and CTO, expresses excitement about the new appointments, highlighting their extensive knowledge as key assets that will propel Haelixa to new heights. With the addition of Karlen and Strumpf to the team, Haelixa aims to achieve its mission of providing transparent and sustainable solutions to address supply chain challenges.

The appointments of Stefan Karlen and Patrick Strumpf mark a significant milestone in Haelixa’s global pursuit of becoming a benchmark in physical traceability. Leveraging their expertise, Haelixa is poised to drive innovation and tackle supply chain transparency challenges to create a positive impact in the industry.


Nexterus Marks 78 Years of Supply Chain Excellence with Four Generations of Innovation

Nexterus, a leading supply chain management and 3PL services provider, celebrates its 78th anniversary with four generations of the Polakoff family steering the company. Sam Polakoff, CEO and Chairman, acknowledges the company’s success, emphasizing the contributions of dedicated employees, clients, and partners. Nexterus has solidified its position as an industry leader, providing innovative freight management and supply chain services to small and mid-size companies, fostering efficiency, and driving profit growth.

Throughout its history, Nexterus has seen transformative leadership:

1. Abraham Allan Polakoff (1946-1967)

Founded the company to address distribution needs, focusing on U.S motor and rail transportation. The company, initially known as Transportation Bureau of Baltimore (TBB), aimed to support small to mid-sized companies.

2. Jay Polakoff (1967-2000)

Moved the company to northern Baltimore County, introduced a subscriber service, developed an early Transportation Management System (TMS), and specialized in LTL as a niche. TBB became a major 3PL customer for U.S LTL carriers.

3. Sam Polakoff (1999-Present)

Spearheaded exponential growth, rebranded to TBB Global Logistics, expanded services, acquired customs brokerage/international freight forwarding firms, and relocated to South Central Pennsylvania. In 2016, led the rebranding to Nexterus and founded BrillDog in 2022 for supply chain management system development.

4. Ryan Polakoff (2022-Present)

Ascended to leadership after years in sales and operations, collaborated on Nexterus’ rebranding, and expanded services to include supply chain design, contract network warehousing, and parcel contract engineering.

Nexterus, remaining industry agnostic, serves diverse verticals and received accolades in 2023, including Top Software & Tech Award, Great Partner Award, Top 100 Logistics IT Provider, Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers Award, Top Supply Chain Projects Award, and Women in Supply Chain Award for Lisa Flohr, Director of Operations.


AIT Worldwide Logistics Europe Facilities Achieve Environmental, Quality Management ISO Certifications

AIT Worldwide Logistics, a prominent global logistics and freight forwarding services provider, has achieved ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications for over a dozen of its locations across eight European countries. These certifications, internationally recognized, underscore AIT’s dedication to maintaining the highest standards in environmental management (ISO 14001) and quality management (ISO 9001).

The successful certification process, which involved rigorous system audits and process optimizations, reflects AIT’s unwavering commitment to industry-leading quality and sustainable practices. Mario Cavallucci, AIT’s Vice President for Europe, emphasized the significance of these certifications, noting their affirmation of AIT’s commitment to service excellence and continuous improvement.

Cavallucci highlighted that the ISO 14001 certification’s emphasis on environmental management not only supports waste reduction but also contributes to lowering network costs. Meanwhile, the ISO 9001 requirements promote increased efficiency and enhanced customer satisfaction, aligning with AIT’s dedication to operational excellence.

These certifications are valid until November 22, 2026, and AIT plans to apply for re-certification at that time. The certified AIT offices in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy (Milan, Turin only), the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (Exeter, London, Manchester only) demonstrate the company’s commitment to meeting these high-quality and environmental management standards.

AIT-Asia offices are slated to obtain ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification by the end of 2024, while the remaining locations across AIT’s global network are expected to achieve these certifications in 2025. The certifications underscore AIT’s proactive approach to optimizing operational efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and delivering top-notch service quality to its customers.

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Trax Technologies Secures Recognition as a Leading Software and Tech Provider in Supply Chain Visibility

Trax Technologies, a global leader in Transportation Spend Management (TSM) solutions, has been honored with the Top Software & Tech Award for 2023 in the Supply Chain Visibility category. Presented by Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics, this accolade highlights Trax’s innovative contribution to the supply chain space with its Transportation Spend Management platform.

Steve Beda, Executive Vice President of Customer Success at Trax, emphasized how the company’s cloud-based technology is revolutionizing transportation management and sustainability. Trax’s Freight Audit and Payment (FAP) solution uniquely positions it to offer data-driven tools and expert advice on supply chain sustainability.

Trax’s Carbon Emissions Manager, an add-on solution within the platform, provides industry leaders with crucial data related to emissions factors, travel distances, and insights into CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This platform empowers transportation leaders to calculate and address scope 3 emissions, meeting global standards like EN 16258 in Europe. The Carbon Emissions Manager also facilitates compliance with upcoming SEC climate reporting requirements in the United States, starting in 2025.

Beda expressed pride in Trax’s role as a SaaS plus service-based technology company, enabling customers to focus on key priorities, including climate considerations. The recognition as a Top Software & Tech Provider underscores Trax’s commitment to delivering comprehensive solutions that drive end-to-end visibility, efficiency, cost savings, and environmental responsibility in the transportation spend management realm.

The Top Software and Tech Provider award features distinct categories for Small Business (<$50 million) and Enterprise (>$49 million), with sub-categories including Procurement/ERP Software, WMS/TMS Software, Warehouse Automation, Robotics, and Supply Chain Visibility Solutions. Trax’s acknowledgment in the Supply Chain Visibility category reflects its impactful contributions to enhancing transparency and efficiency in the global supply chain.