Etihad Cargo part of new freighter service between Milan, Bogota and Amsterdam
Etihad Cargo will partner with its Avianca counterparts to offer a freighter flight from Milan in Italy to Bogotá, Colombia and then also to Amsterdam.
The new service will operate twice a week beginning 12 November 2014, providing an important cargo connection between Europe and South America. The flights will also facilitate seamless transportation of goods to other markets around the world by linking the extensive global networks of both Etihad Airways and Avianca Cargo.
Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways, said: “Italy is the third largest cargo market in Europe, and has been a key focus area for Etihad Cargo since 2007, when we inaugurated our first service to the country.
“Demand has been strong and our operations have since expanded to include freighter and passenger flights to Milan, and a daily passenger service between Rome and Abu Dhabi, launched in July this year.
“To date, Etihad Airways has carried almost 130,000 tonnes of cargo into and out of Italy, and we are delighted to build on this success with the launch of a new cargo route between Milan and Bogotá, operated in partnership with Avianca Cargo. This service provides a unique opportunity to tap into fast-growing traffic flows between Europe, South America and beyond.”
In addition to passenger flights by Etihad Airways, Etihad Cargo currently operates four freighter flights per week between Abu Dhabi and Milan, Malpensa Airport. It will also feed traffic from markets across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Due to its strategic location in Southern Europe, Milan will function as a logistics hub by road to other cities in Italy, including Rome, and other countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Czech Republic.
Avianca Cargo will provide cargo services through its Bogotá hub, at El Dorado International Airport with its passengers and cargo flights to and from most countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Victor Mejia, Cargo Vice President at Avianca, said: “This is a valuable opportunity to expand Avianca Cargo’s network, especially in moving perishable goods from the Americas that are highly demanded in Europe.
“At the same time, we would be strengthening our Cargo Hub operations in Bogota in order to provide quality cargo transportation to Europe throughout the region, with an extensive network that unites with our three hubs - Bogotá, Colombia; Lima, Peru; and San Salvador, El Salvador - allowing efficient load transfer through reliable, agile and synchronised operations.”
The new route will commence with a Boeing 747-400 Freighter, offering a maximum capacity of 105 tonnes, with strong demand expected for transportation of raw materials, perishables, machinery parts, equipment, industrial consumables, and fashion goods.
For further information, please visit: http://www.etihadcargo.com/mediacenter/news/pages/etihad-cargo-to-partner-with-avianca-cargo-on-new-freighter-service-between-milan-and-bogotÃ¡.aspx
Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried
While driver shortages are a global problem, with a recent survey from the International Road Transport Union suggesting that driver shortages are expected to increase by 25% year-on-year across its 23 member countries, the issue has very much made itself felt for UK businesses in recent weeks.
A perfect storm of factors, which many within the industry have been wary of, and warning about, for months, have led to a situation wherein businesses are suddenly facing significant difficulties around transporting goods to shelves on time, as well as inflated operating costs for doing so.
What’s more, the public may also see price rises as a result due to demand outmatching supply for certain product lines, which in turn brings with it the risk of customer dissatisfaction and a hit to brand and stakeholder reputation. Given that this price inflation has been speculated to hit in October, when the extended grace period on Brexit customs checks comes to an end, the worst may be yet to come.
"Steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole"
That said, we have already been hearing reports of service interruption due to lack of driver availability, meaning that volumes aren’t being transported, or delivered, to required schedules and lead times. A real-world example of this occurred on the weekend of 4-6 June with convenience retailer Nisa, with deliveries to Nisa outlets across the UK affected by driver shortages to its logistics provider DHL.
But where has this skills shortage stemmed from?
Supply is the primary issue. Specifically, the number of available EU drivers has decreased by up to 15,000 drivers due to Brexit alone, and this has been further exacerbated by drivers returning to their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to foreign exchange rates making UK a less desirable place to live and work. This, alongside the recent need to manage IR35 tax changes, has also led to significant inflation in driver and transport costs.
COVID-19 complications have also meant that there have been no HGV driver tests over the past year, meaning the expected 6,000-7,000 new drivers over the past year have not appeared. With the return of the hospitality sector we understand that this is a significant challenge with, for instance, order delivery lead times being extended.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) earlier this month became the latest in a long line of industry spokespeople to write to the government about the driver shortage for trucks. The letter echoed the view held by much of the industry, that the cause of this issue is both multi-faceted and, at least in some aspects, long-standing.
So, many in the industry are in agreement as to the driving factors behind this crisis. But what can be done?
Simply enough, outside of businesses completely reorganising their supply chain network, external support is needed. In the short-term, the government should consider providing the industry with financial aid, and this can also be supported more widely with legislative change.
Specifically, immigration policy could be updated to place drivers on the shortage occupations list, which would go some way towards easing the burden created by foreign drivers returning to their home countries. Looking elsewhere, government should also look for ways to increase the availability of HGV driver tests after the blockage created by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Looking more long-term, steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole. As it stands, multiple sources suggest that the average age of truck drivers in the UK is 48, with only one in every hundred drivers under the age of 25. We must therefore do more to increase the talent pipeline coming into the industry if we are to offset more significant skills shortages further down the line.
On the back of a turbulent year for the supply chain industry, it has become increasingly clear that the long-foretold shortage of drivers is now having a tangible and, in places, crippling effect on supply chains.
Drivers, and the wider supply chain industry, have rightly been recognised for the seismic role they played in keeping the nation moving and fed over the past year under unprecedented strain. If this level of service is to continue, we must now see Government answer calls to provide the support the sector needs, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to find a solution. If we do not see concrete action to this effect soon, we are likely to be in for a turbulent few months.
Rob Wright is executive director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector