Finnair opens ‘cool’ new Helsinki hub

18 / 12 / 2017

Finnair Cargo has held the official opening ceremony for its new €80m Cool Nordic hub at Helsinki Airport.

The airside facility measures 31,000 sq m, has a capacity of 350,000 tonnes per year and has 3,000 sq m dedicated areas for both pharma and perishables shipments.

The centre also boasts 550 10ft ULD positions, 29 truck doors for loose shipments, five truck doors for ULDs and an automated storage and retrieval system.

Speaking at the official inauguration of the terminal, Finnair Cargo's managing director, Janne Tarvainen, said that operations at the terminal got underway in November with seafood shipments.

Full operations are expected to start in January, he added.

Tarvainen said that the primary driver for building the new facility was expected growth in demand in line with fleet expansion.

He explained that the existing facility was reaching capacity and delivery Finnair’s new widebody A350 aircraft would help boost total cargo capacity by around 45% by 2020.

So far, 11 of 19 A350s have been delivered, with the remainder due for delivery by 2023.

Transhipment volumes, which represent around 80% of the cargo handled by the carrier at Helsinki, also continue to grow.

Tarvainen pointed out that flying through Helsinki was geographically the shortest route to Asia and that the airport did not suffer with congestion, unlike some of its larger European rivals.

As well as wanting to meet challenge of growing cargo volumes, the airline identified that it wanted its facility to be state-of-the-art, providing transparency and efficiency.

It also needed to be able to process cargo quickly because of the large volume of transhipment traffic.

Other challenges faced by the airline were outdated IT systems, reliance on paperwork, lack of visibility, rising labour costs, environmental concerns and poor data quality.

Tarvainen said the facility would also need to cater for the future: “[When developing this facility] we tried to find excellence, but what does excellence look like? And, what will it look like in ten years?” he asked.

Speed would be achieved through automation but also by removing data bottlenecks.

Part of the solution to improving quality and visibility of data is the introduction of its Cargo Eye monitoring tool, new cargo management and warehouse management systems and a cargo control centre.

The Cargo Eye solution integrates multiple data sources, transaction data and sensors to help its newly formed Cargo Control Center to monitor and steer cargo flows.

The carrier added that its Cargo Eye solution provides end-to-end visibility and will ultimately lead to more comprehensive and transparent real-time information for customers, helping them to identify exceptions that require action to be taken.

Shipments utilising road feeder services (RFS) can also be monitored using the system. In the future, all RFS suppliers will be required to provide connection to the Cargo Eye solution.

The facility has also been Breeam certified, meaning it has passed sustainability audits, with 10% of its power coming from 1,200 solar panels.

The facility is also in the process of achieving IATA CEIV Pharma certification.

Looking to the future, Tarvainen said that there was room for continuous improvement with potential investment in packing robot technology, automated guided vehicles at landside acceptance, integration of ramp operations in data exchange, enhanced temperature monitoring and improved digital tools.

Images: Airside with floor heating; AS RS system; Automated ULD storage; Perishables area; Pharma area