Qatar Airways Cargo to launch freighter services to Los Angeles
Qatar Airways Cargo will launch a new freighter service to Los Angeles, United States, from 4 April 2015.
The twice-weekly Boeing 777 Freighter service to Los Angeles will become Qatar Airways Cargo’s fourth US freighter destination alongside Houston, Chicago and Atlanta.
The new addition will provide 100 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight, departing Doha on Wednesdays and Saturdays via Luxembourg and Mexico to Los Angeles International Airport. The LAX freighter will add to the current USA destinations served by Qatar Airways, which include, New York, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas and Miami.
Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann said: “We are proud to announce our fourth freighter destination in the United States further strengthening Qatar Airways Cargo’s worldwide airfreight network. Los Angeles is a significant global cargo hub, which is reflected by the increasing airfreight volumes seen at Los Angeles Airport. With the new destination, we are able to offer our customers capacity and five-star service into, and out of, this key cargo destination in the United States.”
Los Angeles International Airport is a major international cargo airport serving California, the world’s 16th largest economy. Los Angeles ranks fifth in the US in terms of air cargo volumes processed. In 2014, LAX handled more than two million tonnes of air cargo, valued at more than $91.6 billion.
Qatar Airways uplifted over 49,000 tonnes of airfreight from the US market in 2014 and it will continue to be a key growth market for Qatar Airways Cargo, with the market predicted to add more than one million additional tonnes of freight before 2018.
Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey, said: “The new service will provide Southern California businesses with more choices to ship between the West Coast, the Gulf/Middle East and beyond. It will also open our markets to Qatari businesses.”
In 2014, over 100,000 tonnes of perishable products were exported by air from Los Angeles. With around 40,000 tonnes destined for the Middle East and Europe, Qatar Airways Cargo’s dedicated QR Fresh service and state-of–the-art cargo handling and storage facilities will ensure the seamless movement of perishable goods, including fruits, vegetables and fish, which require constant temperature control during transit and on to their final destination.
Qatar Airways Cargo’s hub in Doha operates to the highest industry standards compliant to IATA chapter 17. There are designated airside temperature controlled areas designed to keep shipments at the correct temperature prior to departure. A dedicated climate control team manages QR Fresh services to ensure all temperature sensitive goods are transported at their optimal temperature, monitoring shipments from end to end.
Qatar Airways Cargo serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its Doha hub and also delivers freight to 146 key business and leisure destinations globally on 150 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes six Airbus 330 Freighters and seven Boeing 777 Freighters.
For further Qatar Airways Cargo information, please visit: http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/press-release.page?pr_id=pressrelease_qr-cargo-lax-180315
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