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Successful first public flight of Volocopter’s VoloDrone

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Successful first public flight of Volocopter’s VoloDrone. Image: DB Schenker
Successful first public flight of Volocopter’s VoloDrone. Image: DB Schenker
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Volocopter’s electric heavy-lift drone VoloDrone conducted its first public flight at ITS World Congress 2021. Together with the international logistics leader DB Schenker, Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility, demonstrated VoloDrone’s seamless integration into the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end cargo transport demonstration. The partners showed their significant progress together since DB Schenker became a strategic investor of Volocopter in early 2020.

The 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 meters. For this delivery simulation, the electric heavy-lift utility drone was equipped with a load-box in between its landing gear. First, the demonstration teams secured a Euro-pallet sized load to the box under the VoloDrone, followed by a smooth take-off. After this, the aircraft brought the payload to a DB Schenker Cargo Bike and landed safely. Once the payload was transferred successfully, the Cargo Bike delivered its cargo to the final destination under the area’s park deck, marking the completion of the entirely electric, multimodal last-mile delivery.

“This first public VoloDrone flight is a strong sign for Volocopter´s leading position in the UAM industry. We are the only UAM company offering solutions for passengers and goods that are flying fully scaled and publicly around the world,” says Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO. “Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable. DB Schenker is an invaluable partner in our endeavor to untap the massive potential of our VoloDrone’s logistics use cases.”

Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation at DB Schenker, comments, “With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to publicly demonstrate our successful collaboration and the impressive progress on DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for cleaner logistics. Volocopter has proven again that they are the ideal partner for DB Schenker’s ambition to rethink global supply chains and bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers while saving emissions.”

The demonstration in Hamburg builds upon the foundations of the static proof of concept (PoC) the partners conducted in July this year in Stuttgart. It laid out a blueprint of how to implement VoloDrone operations in logistics facilities globally. With the first public flight of the VoloDrone, in Hamburg, Volocopter and DB Schenker demonstrated how drone operations can extend the existing logistics infrastructure for land or sea transport to create entirely new supply chains and transport routes.

The VoloDrone is an uncrewed, fully electric utility drone designed to carry any of the six International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a 40-kilometer range. This electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is aimed to serve challenging missions across diverse industries. As one member of Volocopter’s robust UAM aircraft portfolio for transporting passengers (VoloCity and VoloConnect) and goods in cities, the VoloDrone is positioned to be deployed where conventional transport options reach their limits.

UAM utilizes innovative aircraft to provide mobility solutions to metropolitan areas. In addition to developing the aircraft, Volocopter is organizing the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are set to launch in the next 2-3 years. VoloIQ serves as the digital backbone for operations. This platform will support ecosystem aspects like Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO), Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO), Flight Analytics, Vehicle Connectivity, Autonomous Operations, and more.

The VoloDrone’s first flight took place in 2019. Since then, regular flight tests have been conducted at various airfields in Germany. The drone itself is 9.15 meters in diameter, 2.15 meters tall, and has a 600-kilogram maximum take-off weight (MTOW). Future VoloDrone operations will be fully electric with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.

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Air Freight

CEVA Logistics first to receive new IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certification

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CEVA Logistics first to receive new IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certification. Image: CEVA Logistics
CEVA Logistics first to receive new IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certification. Image: CEVA Logistics
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Announced at the International Air Transport Association’s annual World Cargo Symposium in Dublin, Ireland, CEVA Logistics is the world’s first company to receive IATA’s new CEIV Lithium Battery certification after teaming with IATA to support the development of the new certification program. CEVA’s Amsterdam and Hong Kong air freight stations are now CEIV certified in the handling of lithium batteries.

The certification confirms each facility’s ability to properly handle and store lithium batteries, as well as validates the necessary training and expertise of on-site employees. CEVA Logistics has plans to extend its certifications beyond Amsterdam and Hong Kong, with additional certified locations expected in Asia, Europe and the Americas. The company is committed to providing its customers with peace of mind through a completely certified network delivering air cargo services under its CEVA Batteries Solutions.

Long-time experience in battery transport

CEVA has significant experience in transporting all types and sizes of batteries for customers in automotive, technology, healthcare, industrial and consumer & retail industries. In the automotive market, CEVA’s expertise in new electric vehicles batteries includes working with 14 of the 15 largest global automotive original equipment manufacturers.

With the new CEIV certification, CEVA is further demonstrating its regulatory and compliance expertise in transporting potentially dangerous goods through its CEVA Batteries Solutions. While the certification boosts CEVA’s air freight credentials for transporting lithium batteries, CEVA is able to support customers all along the battery lifecycle through a combination of contract logistics and freight management services in air, ground or ocean transport. CEVA Batteries Solutions are compliant, tailored, end-to-end global and local logistics services, ensuring the integrity of customers’ battery shipments.

CEVA supports IATA industry knowledge sharing

Peter Penseel, COO of air freight for CEVA Logistics, is serving as a panelist during a WCS plenary session today to discuss the challenges and opportunities for transformation in the air cargo business. The WCS is the largest and most prestigious annual event of its kind and the only one to bring together key stakeholders from the entire air cargo supply chain.

CEIV Lithium Battery is the fourth CEIV program from IATA and the first CEIV certification received by CEVA Logistics. IATA’s CEIV program portfolio includes three other specific certifications: CEIV Pharma, CEIV Live Animals and CEIV Fresh. More than 300 companies across the logistics and supply chain industry have received certification under one of the programs.

Says Penseel: “Our automotive, healthcare and technology customers appreciate our ability to seamlessly deliver responsive logistics solutions no matter the destination or cargo type, like lithium batteries. Our experience in transporting a wide range of batteries made us an ideal partner with IATA in piloting their new CEIV certification. IATA continues to lead the way in providing standards, regulations and guidelines to improve overall quality and safety in the air transport industry. This new certification gives customers even more confidence in our ability to safely and reliably transport their lithium batteries.”

Says Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, “Congratulations to CEVA for becoming the first logistics company to achieve CEIV Lithium Battery certification in their Amsterdam and Hong Kong hubs. As a pioneer in the CEIV Lithium Battery program their customers will appreciate their dedication to safely handling their shipments and the industry will benefit from the quality benchmark that they are helping to set.”

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Air Freight

Cargolux and Kuehne+Nagel pilot API connectivity for quotes & bookings

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Cargolux and Kuehne+Nagel pilot API connectivity for quotes & bookings. Image: Pixabay
Cargolux and Kuehne+Nagel pilot API connectivity for quotes & bookings. Image: Pixabay
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Cargolux has launched a set of APIs to offer customers a direct interface between their system and Cargolux’s platform to receive tailored and immediate, bookable quotes. This new and innovative approach is piloted by Cargolux’s Brussels, Milan, Frankfurt, and London offices in collaboration with long-standing customer Kuehne+Nagel.

The implementation of this interface allows customers to connect their operating system to receive quotes and book their freight onboard a Cargolux flight based on specific requirements such as weight, routing, and product. In addition to facilitating and accelerating customers’ quoting and booking processes, the interface offers dynamic pricing alternatives for clients to choose from.

“The implementation of the API is an additional step in our extensive sales digitalization project. Customer service is at the heart of Cargolux’s business model. We strive to leverage digital innovation to meet our customers’ requirements. We look forward to building on this achievement and extending our capabilities”, says Domenico Ceci, Executive Vice-President Sales & Marketing.

Thomas Puglisi, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Operations Air Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, comments: “API integration is one of the focus areas of the eTouch, Kuehne+Nagel digitalization initiative within Air Logistics. Establishing the API integration with one of our key carrier partners, Cargolux, is a leap towards seamless connectivity and enhanced reliability as we can now procure space and book directly out of our systems. We are delighted to partner with Cargolux on this transformational project and jointly shape the future of digital interaction in our industry.”

As a leader in air cargo digitalization Cargolux is committed to implementing flexible and lean processes to enhance customer experience and connect with more forwarders. By increasing its “speed to market” capabilities, the airline complements its service offering while offering the quality service customers have come to expect.

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Freight Forwarding

Zim launches Ship4wd a digital freight forwarding platform

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Zim launches Ship4wd a digital freight forwarding platform. Image: Zim Integrated shipping services
Zim launches Ship4wd a digital freight forwarding platform. Image: Zim Integrated shipping services
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ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. announced the creation of a new subsidiary, Ship4wd, a digital freight forwarding platform offering an online, simple and reliable self-service end to end shipping solution. Ship4wd will target US & Canadian small and medium-sized businesses importing and exporting from China, Vietnam and Israel.

Relying on ZIM’s vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the shipping industry, along with its proven track record in digital shipping, the new digital freight forwarding company will provide small and medium businesses, as well as entrepreneurs worldwide, a simple and direct solution for shipping cargo – through an advanced ‘one-stop-shop’ digital platform.

The digital service offered by Ship4wd is based on one-stop-shop service covering all aspects of the complex international shipping process. It enables customers without previous experience in cross-border shipping to manage their import and export business simply and efficiently, with live chat 24/7 expert support throughout the process.

The Ship4wd platform will offer each customer the optimal solution – either the most economic or the fastest option – according to the customer’s preferences. The platform offering consists of both sea and air shipping services up to the final destination, including land & rail transport, with associated logistic services, all backed up by a variety of professional vendors.

Headed by Carmit Hoshen-Glik, an entrepreneurial executive with vast experience in digital transportation and global freight forwarding solutions, Ship4wd is located in Herzliya, one of Israel’s main innovative startup hub.

Eli Glickman, ZIM President & CEO, said: “As a leader of the accelerating digitalization trend within the shipping industry, we are leveraging our expertise to launch an independent digital multi-function freight forwarder, consistent with our strategy of developing growth engines adjacent to our core business. Ship4wd undertakes to manage the entire logistic chain end to end, harnessing our core assets as a leading global carrier with a unique customer-centric approach to provide the optimal digital solution for the SMB segment, backed up by a wide network of vendors including ZIM. The global need for digital services via personal mobile phones and tablets is increasing, especially among small and medium businesses, and Ship4wd is the ultimate solution. We are confident that with Ship4wd’s excellent team it can become a significant player in the multi-billion dollars freight forwarding industry as it will meet a much-needed demand for its services in the market.”

Assaf Tiran, ZIM VP Global Customer Service, also heading Digital Innovation, added: “Similar to the way other groundbreaking platforms such as Airbnb in tourism and Uber in transportation have transformed their industries, we are aiming to enable everyone to be a self-shipper, by simplifying and streamlining the transfer of goods worldwide down to its essence – a ‘few clicks’ shipping solution.”

Carmit Hoshen-Glik, Ship4wd CEO, added: “We believe it’s time for international shipping to become simple, easy and trustworthy for SMBs. Our promise of unremitting reliability and support from industry professionals will offer a much-needed solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs relying on relatively small shipments for their ongoing business.”

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