ABC and Unilode roll out digitised maindeck ULDs

Unilode and AirBridgeCargo celebrate the roll-out of the digitised maindeck containers at Air Cargo Europe. From left to right: Marc Groenewegen, managing director EMEA of Unilode; Benoît Dumont, chief executive of Unilode; Diana Schöneich, deputy vice president Europe at AirBridgeCargo Airlines; Ivan Santoro, regional operations & ground handling director Europe at AirBridgeCargo Airlines; Tom Meyer, director, sales and account management EMEA at Unilode

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), the Boeing 747 freighter operator within the Volga-Dnepr Group, and ULD outsourced management services provider Unilode Aviation Solutions have rolled out at Air Cargo Europe in Munich what they describe as the world’s first digitised maindeck containers.

The ULDs are co-branded and each come equipped with a Transmitting Portable Electronic Device (TPED).

The containers are manufactured by Nordisk Aviation Products, while the TPEDs employ Unilode’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 5.0) tracking technology.

The TPEDs not only enable the tracking of the ULDs and their cargo but also transmit status updates on various environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, shock and light.

The first half of the new digitised fire-resistant container fleet will be delivered by Unilode by the end of this month (June), with the remainder to follow in September.

“The deployment of co-branded digitised containers not only broadens our cooperation with Unilode Aviation Solutions but also introduces one of the most revolutionary phases of cargo digitalisation,” enthused Sergey Lazarev, ABC’s general director.

He described Unilode as a “valued and trusted partner” as well as an “expert in ULD management [that] has adopted a forward-thinking approach towards the introduction of IoT [Internet of Things] into the air cargo industry”.

Lazarev continued: “TPED is the kind of technology that tightly aligns with our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to transportation of special cargoes – pharmaceutical products, perishable goods, valuables, and others.”

Benoît Dumont, Unilode Aviation Solutions’ chief executive, added: “At the end of 2018 AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Unilode announced their collaboration for the extensive usage of TPEDs for pallets and containers.

“The introduction of the digitised AMA/AMD fire-resistant main deck containers is another stage of both companies’ joint efforts to bring enhanced IoT solutions into the air cargo industry with the purpose to simplify the data-sharing process and make it more transparent and reliable for all stakeholders in the aviation value chain.

“The roll-out of Unilode’s reader infrastructure in our repair network and our customers’ key hubs is progressing according to our plans and all the benefits of Unilode’s digital transformation project will soon be enjoyed by both Unilode and its customers.”

It’s been a busy week for Unilode. Yesterday (June 5), it confirmed that it had renewed its partnership agreement with TUI in a move that will see it supply and manage the group’s containers and pallets for a further 10-year term.

And at the end of last month, it announced that it had opened a new ULD and galley cart repair centre in Hong Kong.

The repair centre has an area of around 3,000 sq m and will employ up to 30 repair technicians, who will carry out ULD repair, ULD assembly, pallet net repair and inflight equipment maintenance and repair services.

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