Three continents, five days. In a Boeing 777F more than 300 media representatives experience the vision of e-mobility: the BMW Vision iNEXT.
You can watch a 360° video of the redmodeling of the B777F on the YouTube channel of Lufthansa Cargo.
|Like a rock star it flew into the world’s big cities and put on a show for a curious audience of 300 selected media representatives amid a frenzy of flashlights. Munich, New York, San Francisco and Beijing – four destinations on three continents in five days. And all that in a private jet with a custom-made showroom. Shiny, sensational and extremely secretive. The BMW Group presented its latest coup in design,|| |
e-mobility, networking and automated driving in a never before seen campaign: the BMW Vision iNEXT. In September the automobile went on a world tour in the belly of a Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777F. And an illustrious circle of journalists were given a sneak preview of the innovative SUV, which BMW intends to serial produce from 2021.
SHOW WORTHY OF A SUPERSTAR
In bright BMW blue, 78,000 LEDs in 165 video LED modules put the BMW Vision iNEXT in the spotlight. Ten 13,000 ANSI lumen projectors create an explosion of colors for the 4-wheeled superstar. The showroom was exclusively designed for the “Triple Seven”. After all, the inside of a freighter is not normally turned into a stage. World premiere – a first. There’s nothing like the BMW Vision iNEXT either. The automobile of the future is emission-free, has a network spanning the cockpit to the rear and is highly automated. Thanks to the new power-saving technology, the range is in excess of 600 kilometers with just a single charging cycle – a stand out figure in the e-mobile class.
The Boeing 777F is top of its class too: the most efficient freighter currently available can fly up to 9,000 kilometers without refueling, including with a payload of up to 103 tons. This is possible, among other things, thanks to the two highly efficient GE engines – incidentally the largest in the world. In addition, the slightly raked wing tips reduce turbulence and therefore lower consumption. The Boeing 777F is not as quiet as the BMW Vision iNEXT, which can hardly be heard. But it honors the most stringent noise protection measures currently specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization. In brief, the latest BMW and the “Triple Seven” are a perfect match. And that is also the reason for the extraordinary world tour. Hundreds of helping hands were needed to make the idea of the “BMW Vision iNEXT World Flight” become a reality.
Flashback: 120 trade fair design and construction specialists meet at Hangar 3, Munich Airport, on 7 September. They have the task of creating a showroom in a Boeing 777F in the shortest possible time. Technicians lay 7.5 meters of cable and use 30 tons of building material. Long carpets are rolled out, a revolving stage is put in place and multi-colored light projectors are set up. At the same time, a special livery is attached to the outside of the Boeing. A little later “iNEXT” adorns the rear of the fuselage. The icing on the cake: everything needs to be completely flightcompatible to securely jet around the world.
The scene on the day of the final rehearsal is wonderfully kitschy with a picturesque sunrise above the ramp. Airport, Lufthansa Cargo and BMW Group flags have been hoisted alongside the freighter. The final minutes. Everyone working towards the first show is highly motivated. The rehearsal is a success. And then the journalists arrive. The first press presentation passes off without a glitch. At the end of the day the
freighter leaves Munich on time en route to New York and lands as planned. The Boeing 777F returned to its Frankfurt airport where it is based some time ago and has resumed its normal activities. The world tour has finished. The BMW Vision iNEXT has completed its maiden voyage with flying colors, entirely without a driver – even when circling the globe.
Photos: BMW, Patrick Kuschfeld, Andrew Kartende, Enes Kucevic
The sun is burning relentlessly, the thermometer is nudging the 40-degree mark. Extreme conditions for Alison Ricker and Rich Haus during the “planet” production out on the apron of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston. But also a good opportunity to demonstrate teamwork! Prompted by the photographer, both of them rush up for a quick mopping of their foreheads – and then they simultaneously switch to “portrait mode”. When the shoot is done, the two of them head back to the car, with the air-conditioner at full blast. The same goes for the next two shoots, with Alison Ricker and Rich Haus working effortlessly, hand-in-glove. It is a situation that seems tailor-made for these two managers: both have been instrumental in shaping the airfreight joint venture of United Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo. And today they are still involved in the evolution of this cooperative venture. The two airlines have been jointly selling their freight capacities on routes between Europe and the U.S. for a few months now.
“The teams work very well together, there is a sense of true partnership,” says Rich Haus, Senior Regional Sales Manager U.S. South for United Cargo. “Our cooperative venture is a fabulous mix of German engineering and the American ‘Can do!’ attitude,” says Alison Ricker, Joint Venture Manager USA for Lufthansa Cargo.
GREATER FLEXIBILITY, HIGHER SPEED.
GREATER FLEXIBILITY, HIGHER SPEED.
When the cooperative venture began in May 2018, the combined network of the two airlines included connections between the United States and – on the European side – Germany, the UK, Ireland and Italy. The network has been gradually expanded since and this roll-out will continue through the end of the year. “When the rollout is complete we will serve more than 250 stations in the United States and in Europe,” says Alison Ricker, who works out of Atlanta. This includes more than 20 destinations that have not previously been part of the Lufthansa Cargo network. For United Cargo, there will be about 50 new stations. “In total we will end up with around 1,500 new route options per week between airports in the United States and in Europe,” adds Rich Haus. “We provide greater flexibility to Lufthansa Cargo customers and to our own, often with enormous savings in time, too.” As it happens, the U.S.-based clientele of the two airlines is largely identical, as Alison Ricker explains. The only exceptions are forwarders and shippers with highly specialized requests, such as transportation of animals.
“This means that having access to the capacities of the other airline is relevant in a great many cases.” Just how strong a partner Lufthansa Cargo has won soon becomes clear out on the scorching hot apron at Houston: in a span of just ten minutes three aircraft, all bearing the stylized globe logo on their tail fin, have landed within sight. By the end of 2018, United’s mainline fleet will consist of 768 passenger planes, two dozen more than at the end of 2017. What’s more, IAH is just one of the company’s seven hubs in the U.S. The others are Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Lufthansa Cargo customers in the United States who want to send ship ments across the Atlantic have many additional direct flight capacities in the spacious bellies of United’s wide-body aircraft available to them, thanks to the joint venture. “Houston – Paris, Los Angeles – London, Chicago – Edinburgh,” recites Alison Ricker, and bursts out laughing. “It seems they fly direct to the whole of Europe!” And it is true: there are a total of 25 new destinations, including Amsterdam, Hamburg, Madrid, Rome and Zurich.
CUSTOMERS APPRECIATE THE CONVENIENCE.
“The main benefit for our U.S.-based freight customers is having access to the capacities of one of the world’s leading freight carriers,” says Rich Haus. “And here Lufthansa’s freighter connections, especially to Frankfurt, do play a major role.” Added to that are the belly capacities to Munich and, on board Austrian Airlines aircraft, to Vienna – each with onward flights within Europe. What is more, while United serves destinations in Europe exclusively via its own hubs, Lufthansa – partly with passenger jets, partly with freighters – departs from 14 other airports in the U.S., including Boston, Miami and Seattle. Not only in the U.S. but worldwide, airfreight customers all want the same thing: in addition to a dense network and the greater speed and flexibility that it provides, they want reliability and safety – and these are values that both Lufthansa Cargo and United Airlines stand for. “They also appreciate having a partner who is easy to work with,” says Haus. “And that is precisely what we are offering them!” adds Ricker. For example, joint cargo handling facilities have been established at key stations such as Munich; elsewhere there are coordinated transfer processes. One of the challenges to the cooperation which has been overcome is to be able to seamlessly offer customers the ability to book on the other partner’s capacity. “We quickly realized that we needed a platform that would allow our IT systems to communicate with each other and allow us to build up the shared booking functionality,” explains Rich Haus. “Developing this platform was the single biggest challenge.” The experts on both sides worked together very well, says Alison Ricker. “The performance of the teams is all the more remarkable in light of the fact that the level of IT standardization in the airfreight sector is quite low.”
There was yet another significant challenge that had to be overcome, according to Alison Ricker: “We are both major players with strong and valuable, yet different, corporate cultures.” This meant that agreeing on shared objectives was not always very easy. “But the teams involved here were always enthusiastic and convinced that we could grow together eventually.” She added that this had paid off. However, the status quo is still a long way from the final form this cooperation is going to take. “We’re now working on a joint customer survey, from which we hope to learn which aspects of the joint venture are already benefiting our customers, and which aspects we need to re-examine,” says Rich Haus. Continued development is definitely part of the plan, both Haus and Ricker add; it is envisaged to include special products and to expand the network.
Exactly 3.30 meters long, 2.41 meters high, about two meters deep: the container mounted on a pallet that is sliding onto the main deck of a Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777F – flight number LH8386, destination Tokyo Narita – on a Saturday evening in spring 2018 looks rather inconspicuous. But there is more to it than meets the eye: it contains highly sensitive and sophisticated equipment worth 50 million euros, intended for use on the International Space Station, or ISS for short. Thanks to the new equipment, the chances of mounting manned missions to far-away planets such as Mars in the not too distant future could be boosted significantly. In mid-September, the new system was launched into space from Japan. In the ISS, Alexander Gerst took care of the assembly – the German is the commander of the “Crew Expedition 57”, which is part of the current European Space Agency mission “Horizons”. Testing of the new system will extend over a whole year. “To me, space travel is not just a job; it’s a dream I’m trying to make come true,” says Denis Mitschke.
“That’s why it was so great to see the truck carrying the equipment arrive at the Tanegashima Space Center as planned.” Until the handover to Japan’s space agency JAXA, the 39-year-old was responsible for all assembly, integration and test activities for the system – working on behalf of Airbus in Immenstaad on Lake Constance.
CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE ISS
So what is the story with this piece of cargo? “It is a new type of life-support system for astronauts,” says the aerospace engineer. “Our plant produces about 40 percent of the fresh water required for the electrolysis process. Once it is in continuous operation, this will translate into up to 440 kilograms of water per year that do not have to be transported from Earth to the ISS.” It also has a much smaller footprint than the previous systems. The Advanced Closed-Loop System (ACLS) has three tasks that are linked in a reaction cycle: 1. split water (H₂O) into hydrogen (H₂) and oxygen (O₂) and
provide O₂ to the astronauts; 2. remove the carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced by the crew; 3. produce water by combining CO₂ and H₂ from the other two processes in a reaction that produces methane (CH₄) as a by-product.The instruments controlling all these processes are built into a compact rack. Airbus was commissioned by the ESA in 2011. “But the development of individual components began more than 20 years ago,” says Andreas Kreis. Among other things, the mechanical engineer was responsible for the “Engineering Model”, a kind of twin of the ACLS “flight model”, which can reproduce the processes in space back here on Earth. Over the years, a total of around 150 colleagues have worked on the system at Airbus, and they included chemists and physicists. The ACLS complements two life-support systems that have been installed in the space station for years. Designed to provide life support for three astronauts, the ACLS is intended to remain on the ISS once testing is completed – provided it passes the tests.
This would in theory allow the crew to be increased from the current six to eight or nine members.” However, the main goal is to pursue the further development towards a completely closed system. “The aim is now no longer to dispose of the methane generated when producing water, by releasing it into space; now the goal is to split it into carbon and hydrogen and then use the carbon as fertilizer,” explains Mitschke. It is an important component of the ISS life-support system and would allow plants to be cultivated inside the space station, these would help feed the crew. This in turn would mean that the astronauts would become self-sufficient and thus be ready for journeys to Mars, or for longer stays on the moon. The expert’s cautious estimate: “It could be ready for deployment by 2030.” A much shorter time span was needed for the transport of the ACLS by Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker as forwarding agency. “The shipment had to arrive at the Space Center right on time,” says Kreis, who was also responsible for logistics. That required extensive preparations on the part of the Japanese experts. For this reason alone, there was no viable alternative to airfreight. Or to “td.Flash” – the Lufthansa Cargo Express product for urgent shipments. There was also the added safety aspect: “With seafreight, the risk of damage would have been too high.”
THERMO TRUCKS AND COOL CENTER.
THERMO TRUCKS AND COOL CENTER.
In the months leading up to the journey, the people in charge at Airbus and their transport partners prepared a catalog of protective measures. “We installed thermal insulation inside the container and then ventilated it using purified, dry air for eight hours,” says Kreis. From Lake Constance to Japan, the cargo was kept at temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. For this reason, temperature-controlled trucks were the chosen means of transportation on the road. “In Frankfurt, the sensitive cargo was kept in storage in the Lufthansa Cargo Cool Center, the LCCC,
until the last possible moment. The specially supervised loading process into the freighter was accomplished in record time. A similar procedure was used in Japan,” says Michael Butz from Lufthansa Cargo, who was responsible for the project. “All employees were very clear about their individual responsibilities.” The last time Lufthansa Cargo was involved in a special aerospace project was a few months ago when transporting a satellite to California (see “planet” 2/2017).
The ACLS took off on a Boeing 777F, shipped using the special product “Cool”. The negative pressure prevailing during the flight was compensated by means of valves – once analyses had shown that the air in the cargo compartment met the purity criteria. In order to dampen the shocks, the rack holding the system inside the container rested on four springs. “Both Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker have experienced teams, and they offered us end-to-end service. The transport went absolutely smoothly,” says Denis Mitschke. Yet it is only when he describes the moment when the launch vehicle lifted off that he gets really excited: “To feel the power that is generated during a launch is an extraordinary experience!”
Stars from Uganda.
Flowers are a positive symbol of life. People who want to honor someone or express their affection can do so anywhere in the world by presenting them with flowers. Sometimes the gift means “I love you”, sometimes it says “Forgive me”, and sometimes the message is, “Time to celebrate!” “It could be an anniversary, a sporting success, or it could be marking an important holiday – flowers speak a language that everyone understands,” says Wilson Keter. “They bring people joy!“ This is what he likes so much about his job as Production Manager for Selecta One at the Wagagai Farm in Uganda, about an hour’s drive west of the capital, Kampala. Selecta One is one of six German and Dutch horticulture businesses that have joined forces in the “Stars for Europe” initiative with the aim of promoting poinsettias. The plant with the bright red, and in some varieties also white or beige leaves, is part of the western tradition of celebrating Christmas time, just like the Advent wreath and the Christmas tree. In the days leading up to Christmas, millions of families like to decorate their living room with this spectacular and symbolic flower. However, this has only become possible because a horticultural and logistical masterpiece has been achieved in Africa and Europe in the lead-up to Christmas.
The poinsettia business relies on an intensive division of labor that involves the shared handling of volume, cost and quality requirements, an effort that calls for a top performance from all parties involved, year after year. The plant’s cuttings are produced in Africa – in addition to the Wagagai Farm in Uganda, the members of the “Stars for Europe” initiative also operate farms in Kenya and in Ethiopia. Once they arrive in Europe, the poinsettias are grown to full size and maturity, until their colorful crown comes to full bloom.
Once, when Wilson Keter attended a meeting at Selecta One’s headquarters in Stuttgart, he went to a nearby flower shop. The horticulturalist from Africa was astonished when he saw the finished product with its large, splendid red leaves. “I can understand why people are happy to spend their money on these flowers. But it is a little strange for me, because we only ever get to see the green leaves of the mother plants. And of those we only take the shoots, which we cut off and then send as cuttings in the fastest way possible.” Which is by airfreight, exclusively. “Without airfreight, our farm would not exist,” says Wilson Keter. During peak season, Selecta One ships poinsettia cuttings from the Wagagai Farm to Europe six days a week, around 55 million pieces each season. The shoots are smaller than a thumb and look more like a sprig of mint than the pot plant they will grow into. Even so Selecta One in Uganda generates 31 tons of airfreight every year in this way. Right after the harvest and still in the greenhouses, the workers pack the shoots in specially insulated cardboard boxes. After a short period of intermediate storage in the cool rooms at Wagagai Farm, the sensitive plants are transported by truck to
Entebbe airport, only 20 kilometers away, on the same day. There they are loaded into the cargo holds of an aircraft with destination Europe and kept at a temperature of between eight and twelve degrees Celsius.
IMPORTANT CARRIER: BRUSSELS AIRLINES
An important carrier for Selecta One in Uganda is Brussels Airlines. Lufthansa Cargo’s cooperation partner flies to the former Ugandan capital almost daily with Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Starting in September this year, Lufthansa Cargo is taking over the marketing of the cargo capacities of the Belgian airline (see p. 42), whose numerous scheduled connections from Brussels to Central and West Africa also enhance the network of Lufthansa Cargo. “Brussels is a very convenient hub for us, because it is close to the horticultural operations in Germany, France and the Netherlands,” says Wilson Keter. Upon arrival, the cuttings are replanted by his European colleagues, and once they reach maturity they are delivered to the shops in time for Christmas.
Extreme care and numerous work steps are required until the cuttings can finally be harvested. An important recipe for success: the highest standards of hygiene. At Wagagai the mother plants are cultivated inside a specially secured greenhouse with optimal ventilation. Only after carefully washing their hands and putting on a gown, gloves and special shoes may visitors enter the area, but they are still not permitted to touch the plants. Even in the “normal” greenhouses, strict hygiene must be observed in order to keep viruses, bacteria and harmful organisms out. “There are hundreds of diseases that could potentially infect our plants,” says Wilson Keter. But at Wagagai such problems almost never occur, because here the workers are extensively trained, and everyone observes the required standards of hygiene. Moreover, several specialists are constantly on the move in each of the greenhouses to ensure that the standards are complied with. “Diligent observation of the standards of hygiene means we can largely eliminate the use of toxic pesticides,” says Wilson Keter.
“We run an exemplary operation here and have earned the highest international environmental certificates in accordance with the MPS ECAS standard.” Poinsettias are grown at Selecta One in Uganda from May to August, inside massive greenhouses covering a total area of 20 hectares. During peak season the farm employs 1,000 workers to look after the plants, harvest the cuttings and carry out all the associated tasks. “Poinsettias are delicate plants. It is fiddly work that calls for great patience – and especially a great many experienced and careful hands,” says Wilson Keter. The low labor costs by international standards are one reason why poinsettia cuttings are produced in Africa. A second important reason is the climate: the poinsettia is a tropical plant that originally came from Mexico. Uganda offers optimal conditions for the mother plants from which the cuttings are taken. The country lies on a plateau which straddles the Equator, and it borders on the gigantic Lake Victoria, some 1,135 meters above sea level. Wagagai Farm, where poinsettias have been cultivated since 2006, is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. Conditions here are neither too hot nor too cold, and there is no shortage of fresh water for the continuous drip irrigation the plants require.
GOOD CAREER OPPORTUNITIES.
GOOD CAREER OPPORTUNITIES.
“Cultivating these cuttings in Africa also makes sense from an ecological point of view,” says Wilson Keter. “The CO₂ emissions that would be generated by heated greenhouses in Europe far exceed the CO₂ footprint we are currently producing by transporting the cuttings by plane.” Wilson Keter glows with pride when he talks about his work. Born and trained in Kenya, the agricultural engineer lives at Wagagai Farm together with his wife. Every morning he jogs around the farm in order to stay in shape. Wilson is good with plants, they say at the farm. And with the workers. “Not only the plants thrive here at Wagagai, the people do too!” says Wilson Keter. Uganda, with its civil war past, is considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Not only that, the farm is also located in a very rural area where there is a great deal of poverty and low levels of education.
“The people from this area generally can’t compete with those living in the cities,” explains Wilson Keter. “It is therefore great to see how people start to develop and grow once they start work with us. They grow in stature within their families because they provide for their livelihood and for their children to be able to go to school. They gradually take on more responsibility and start to take their lives into their own hands. There are numerous examples here at Wagagai of people starting out as harvest helpers and today they work as foremen, or even in management.” The laborious enterprise is well worth it, however, not least because the resulting product is also worthwhile, concludes Wilson Keter. “At Christmas, many people give each other things in which they lose interest after just a short time. I like the fact that with the poinsettia we produce something that is alive, and that only has a single purpose: to bring joy!”
Photos: Allan Gichigi, Andrew Kartende
It is a drop like no other, because it is the first of every vintage to be served up: the French Beaujolais Nouveau. Also known as Beaujolais Primeur, or “Bojo” for short, this red wine has traditionally come on the market on the third Thursday in November ever since 1985. “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé” is the message that then spreads through wine shops around the world. The idea originated with the winegrowers in Beaujolais, which under French “wine law” is part of Burgundy. In the 1950s, they successfully fought for an exemption from the strict French wine law. They became the first to be permitted to sell their wine already in the year it was made. There was a time when British high society folk flew their private planes to Burgundy to get the very first new wine from France for themselves and their friends. Today the “Bojo” goes to more than 110 countries around the world by airfreight. About 13 million bottles are filled each year.
More than half goes to Japan. This year Lufthansa Cargo will again ship about 600 tons of this sought-after drop to the Land of the Rising Sun. The “Bojo” from Beaujolais arrives at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on the Road Feeder Service. The challenge: to have this entire volume of freight shipped to Osaka (KIX) and Tokyo (NRT) within a period of three weeks, so that it will be on the shelves of Japanese wine merchants and ready for sale in mid-November. Lufthansa Cargo therefore sends about 50 tons of “Bojo” each day, both on board its own aircraft and in the cargo holds of Lufthansa passenger aircraft heading for Asia. In the belly of a LH740, for example, a Boeing 747-400 that is bound for Osaka. After a journey of just under twelve hours, the young wine lands in Japan. Cooperation partner All Nippon Airways supplements the services offered by Lufthansa Cargo with a further 1,200 tons of freight capacity.
MR. DIREKTOR: WILL WARR HYPERLOOP SOON BE BUILDING A TUBE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND TAKE THE TRANSATLANTIC BUSINESS AWAY FROM THE FREIGHT AIRLINES?
Paul Direktor: Perhaps next year. However, on a more serious note Hyperloop is not competing with airfreight. Moreover, in the future it could supplement it, for example as an express or supply solution to render airfreight hubs even more efficient.
Dorothea von Boxberg: Hyperloop could, in particular, replace transport operations on the road in particularly heavily congested transport areas. Short and medium-range routes are the field in which Hyperloop solutions could prove successful. One shouldn’t forget that Elon Musk’s longest tube is currently only a little more than one kilometer.
Paul Direktor: In Switzerland, a university team at ETH Zurich is already working on implementing a package transport system using vacuum pipe technology. It is called Swissloop and the Swiss are, of course, renowned for tunnel building.
Dorothea von Boxberg: Hyperloop is not a technology set to be commercialized on the market in the near future. However, the number of ideas that have been developed in that respect in the past few years is impressive. Hyperloop taking on the “last leg” from an airport to a major city could, for example, considerably speed up e-commerce consignments.
WHAT DO YOU FIND FASCINATING ABOUT THE “SPACEX HYPERLOOP POD COMPETITION”?
Dorothea von Boxberg: It is fascinating to see how these selforganized student teams have developed their ideas with such success, above all if I compare that with the typical project periods in major groups.
WHAT WAS THE CRUCIAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOU WHEN YOUR STUDENT INITIATIVE SUDDENLY HAD TO COLLABORATE WITH SUPPORTERS FROM INDUSTRY?
Paul Direktor: The times. Internal processing times of more than four weeks for example are completely normal for invoices at many companies. In such a four-week period just about anything can happen to us.
WHAT IS NEW ABOUT THE CURRENT HYPERLOOP CONCEPTS COMPARED TO THOSE 15 YEARS AGO SUCH AS THE CARGO CAP, WHICH WE HAVE REPORTED ON IN “PLANET” IN THE PAST?
CRITICS SAY MUSK IS MAKING TOO MUCH OF A SONG AND DANCE ABOUT IT
Dorothea von Boxberg: He is an impressive visionary. Many of his ideas are not incremental improvements, but moreover moonshot ideas. The path to a sustainable business in that respect is significantly more difficult than in the case of smaller innovations. His company Tesla has definitely seriously shaken up the automotive industry.
A part of the team with their current pod, which in July this year won the 3rd Hyperloop Pod Competition achieving a speed of 467 km/h. In addition to the speed team, WARR Hyperloop has a levitation team, which was similarly successful and intends to make use of the Transrapid technology.
WHAT INTERESTS DO LUFTHANSA CARGO AND WARR HYPERLOOP SHARE? DO YOU INTEND TO INVEST MS. VON BOXBERG?
Paul Direktor: Lufthansa Cargo is a global company with a good network. We are interested in exchanging know-how and developing first business cases for Germany.
SO IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT PR?
Dorothea von Boxberg: We had already established contact with the WARR Hyperloop team before the sponsored events. But if someone wants to interpret that simply as PR I won’t disabuse them of that notion.
WHAT INNOVATIVE IDEAS IN THE LOGISTICS SECTOR BEYOND HYPERLOOP DO YOU CURRENTLY FIND EXCITING?
HOWEVER, THE LOGISTICS SECTOR IS NOT EXACTLY REGARDED AS A MODEL OF INNOVATIVE PASSION
Dorothea von Boxberg: We are doing that. I believe artificial intelligence is the technology that we will use first at Lufthansa Cargo. In that respect among other things this means self-learning algorithms can determine prices and automatically allocate freight to free capacities. Some of our services are already being rendered via API interfaces and these are used by several platforms to present an overview so that ranges can be compared. In other industries that’s nothing special. However, in airfreight it is quite innovative. My general aim consists of making our range available to our customers effectively and simply. We have quite a lot of work ahead of us.
WHAT DID YOUR VISIT TO WARR HYPERLOOP MEAN FOR YOU IN RESPECT OF ADDRESSING THE CURRENT LUFTHANSA CARGO AGENDA?
The first WARR Hyperloop pod was a success thanks to its design. At the front it has a compressor that minimizes the air resistance in a partial vacuum tube.
MS. VON BOXBERG, YOU ARE THE NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER AND CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER. WHAT CAN ONE LEARN FOR THE PRODUCT FROM INITIATIVES SUCH AS WARR HYPERLOOP OR STARTUPS?
IS AN EXCHANGE WITH A START-UP IMPORTANT TO BE OF INTEREST TO TALENTED YOUNG PROFESSIONALS?
AT PRESENT THE NEWS IS INCREASINGLY CHARACTERIZED BY NEGATIVE ECONOMIC REPORTS SUCH AS PUNITIVE TARIFFS AND EU SCEPTICISM ETC. IS THERE ANY ROOM LEFT FOR INNOVATORS LIKE YOU MR. DIREKTOR?
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN WARR HYPERLOOP TO GET RICH AT SOME POINT?
IS A CULTURAL CHANGE POSSIBLE IN A TRADITIONAL COMPANY SUCH AS LUFTHANSA CARGO?
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!
That also impressed Elon Musk: WARR Hyperloop’s third pod was faster than the pusher pod of SpaceX and Tesla.
All of a sudden the Arabian mare shows a flash of temperament. Huffing and snorting, the animal raises its head high. As her body jerks forward, her stamping hooves make the trailer floor vibrate. “Easy!” commands Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere – and takes charge right away. Keeping a short leash just under the head, she leads the mare further into the trailer, as if nothing had happened. “I grew up with Arabians, and I am especially partial to them,” says the 30-year-old after she has shut and bolted the trailer door. “But really, I love all horses, especially for their personality and their intelligence.” Living and working with Arabians, thoroughbreds and quarterhorses is something that runs in the blood of Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere’s family. Her grandparents successfully bred horses – in France initially, and in the United States since the late 1970s. Her parents run the “Centurion Stud” farm in Como, in the northeast of Texas. The stud farm holds way over 100 horses at any time, most of them from their own breeding stock. There are also mares that have been entrusted to the couple by their owners for the purpose of giving birth to foals and rearing them.
„After two to three years the young horses go back to their owners,” explains Moreau-Sipiere while on a tour of the extensive grounds of the stud farm. Many of the animals make the journey under the care of this young lady. After all, she turned the management of horse transportation into her principal vocation in 2016, when she established the company Centurion World Logistics. Most of these animals go to recipients in the Middle East and Europe, where they are used as race or show horses. Not all of the transport runs start out from her parents’ stud farm: “The horses come from all over the United States, but many of the stud farms are located here in Texas,” says Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere. Her clientele mostly are horse breeders and buyers as well as agents. The preferred means of transportation for intercontinental carriage is the aircraft. “I totally rely on airfreight,” explains the logistics specialist. Firstly, it only takes twelve hours to fly from the airport in Houston (which she mainly uses) to Frankfurt, for example, whereas transportation by sea would take many times as long. Secondly, traveling by sea would simply be too onerous for the horses. Ever since the Texan became her own boss, she has used the services of Lufthansa Cargo.
“I realized during our first meeting that they operate a very dense network, and how much this would benefit me.” Around 50 percent of her horses travel on board Lufthansa Cargo. Last year this involved 120 horses, and this year there were 75 horses in the first six months alone. Many of the flights go to Frankfurt, with other key destinations being Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait City. That is what is meant by “Enabling Global Business” – the very motto of Lufthansa Cargo. During stopovers at Frankfurt, the horses are looked after in the Frankfurt Animal Lounge. “The team there is first rate, they know exactly how to make the horses comfortable,” says Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere. “When we come to pick them up for their onward journey, the horses are well rested and have been given plenty of hay and water.” On board, the horses travel in special containers. Up to 18 animals are loaded onto the main cargo deck of the MD-11F, the aircraft mainly used on the relevant connections. Two staff members accompany all animal transport runs. Their seats are located behind the cockpit.
NO UNACCOMPANIED TRANSPORT RUNS.
Because whenever horses are being transported, the presence of grooms is indispensable. This applies at the airport, where the animals are checked by a veterinarian from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and even more so in the air: “During the flight, grooms are allowed to go to the horses in order to water them, and to keep them calm,” says Moreau-Sipiere, who usually does this job herself. “The first time I accompanied a flight I was 20 years old, and I have been doing it regularly ever since.” Back then her father managed many transport runs himself, and his daughter acted as a groom. At that time forwarding companies were commissioned to handle the assignments. “I enjoyed it, so that is why at some point I decided to take over logistics com pletely. I took several courses through IATA where I obtained the relevant certifications as well as my TSA Indirect Air Carrier credentials.” It all led to the foundation of Centurion World Logistics.
Exporting horses requires a great deal of administrative effort. “The exact amount of paperwork depends on the country of destination,” says the logistics specialist. In addition, the horses must go through quarantine before the trip. This is another service the entrepreneur can offer – thanks to the quarantine station her parents established at their stud farm over ten years ago. Starting this fall, the Texan can also handle transport runs from abroad and into the United States, thanks to her recently acquired “customs broker” certificate. “But it will just be an add-on to the export business,” says Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere. Of even greater importance to her is another project she wants to bring to fruition: to establish an animal station – a kind of Frankfurt Animal Lounge – at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) airport, a mere hour and a half by road from the Centurion Stud farm. “This would be for use by myself as well as other forwarders engaged in exports.” One of the factors in her reckoning here – by no means the least important one – is this: Lufthansa Cargo also operates regular freight connections from DFW.
Super fruit on board.
Famous explorers and seafarers of long ago are reputed to have valued the healing power of papaya during their South and Central America expeditions. The papaya fruit originated in Central America. Today Brazil is the second largest papaya producer in the world – 1.4 million tons are harvested annually. In 2017, papaya was one of the most popular fruit varieties transported by Lufthansa Cargo from Brazil to Frankfurt. One of the biggest customers is MHS International GmbH & Co. KG. The company uses “Fresh” from Lufthansa Cargo en route from Natal (NAT) in Brazil to Frankfurt/Main. Lufthansa Cargo flys the route twice a week, alternately with a MD-11F and a Boeing 777F. Natal is located in one of Brazil’s largest papaya-growing regions, so flying out of Natal makes for short transport routes. In October and November last year alone, 700 tons of papaya were carried on this route – the vitamin-rich fruit is much sought after during the European winter. As in the era of the voyages of discovery, papaya is still considered a super fruit. Papaya contains hardly any calories and fat, but large amounts of the enzyme papain. This substance helps digest protein and accelerates fat burning. In doing so it stimulates the metabolism and boosts the immune system.
The papaya may give us strength, but it is itself very sensitive to external influences. To prevent damage, each papaya is therefore packed in shock-resistant foil right after being harvested. Delivery to Natal Airport is scheduled to take place as late as possible prior to departure to ensure an optimum transport temperature of between seven and ten degrees Celsius, depending on the degree of ripeness. At the destination at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the fruit is taken to the Perishable Center as quickly as possible, and then further cooled down, slowly and carefully. From there MHS International delivers the papaya to wholesale markets as well as to catering companies and delicatessen shops in Germany and Austria.
The flesh of ripe papaya tastes juicy and sweet, with hints of melon and apricot. Like the melon, the orange-colored refresher can be consumed in various forms: simply as fruit, or as a tasty ingredient in smoothies or in savory salads. And by the way: most people who eat papaya discard the black, glossy, peppercornsized seeds. Yet the papain enzyme is also contained in those seeds. They can be dried and then ground, for example, and used as a pepper substitute.
Anyone planning to relocate domestic animals should be well-prepared. And if the distance is over 4,000 kilometers, then it’s time to call the professionals. This is how far 30 cats and one pigeon had to travel as part of a private relocation from Tuscany to Senegal – on board Lufthansa planes. Marco Colombo handled the organization on behalf of his customer from the first to the last yard. His company Home Boarding Shipping Pets has been specialized in the transportation of animals for six years now. “It’s very important that the cats have enough space and always get enough fresh air,” he says. The size and weight of the animals determine which transport boxes are needed, and how much space they will take up in the cargo hold. Colombo also cooperated closely with the animal lover with regard to all the other preparations. The journey began in a transport van traveling from Pisa in Italy to Aeroporto di Venezia “Marco Polo” (VCE). The handling and preparation of the Air Waybills in Venice was the responsibility of A.Elle Cargo. This forwarding company is registered with Lufthansa Cargo as an animal forwarding agency – a prerequisite for making bookings for the “Live” product, which is specially tailored to suit each individual animal. From Venice, the animals then flew on board an Airbus A320 to their first stop at Frankfurt Airport (FRA).
At the Frankfurt Animal Lounge, Lufthansa Cargo combines handling, animal coordination and veterinary services on a floor space of around 4,000 square meters. The 50 employees and trained animal keepers ensure individual round-the-clock care. In the transit area, the four-legged passengers can recover from their journey, shielded from view and noise. There are three separate rest areas set aside especially for cats. Lowering stress levels: the animals are brought to the plane in Frankfurt just before it is ready to take off. After the three-hour stopover, the cats (and the pigeon!) continued their journey to Dakar – in an MD-11F, the aircraft which Lufthansa Cargo flies from Frankfurt to the West African metropolis three times a week. Six hours and 15 minutes later, the good news for the owner: the pigeon and the cats have all landed at the Aéroport International Blaise Diagne (DSS). “The seamless monitoring throughout the journey and the route network of Lufthansa Cargo give our customers reassurance,” says Marco Colombo, who has already transported over 500 animals to date, “and anyone entrusting their pets to somebody else needs to have that feeling of trust and confidence.”
Blood, sweat and tears.
The explosives specialist is making his way forward, sniffing parcels and crates to the left and right – routine work for the German shepherd at CargoCity Süd at Frankfurt Airport. Among the shipments that go through a final security check here at UPS Global Freight Forwarding before they are made ready for transport is a wooden box containing guitars that were made just a few miles from the airport: at the production facility of Nik Huber Guitars in Rodgau. Here an eight-member team builds around 240 instruments a year – putting a great many hours of manual labor into each of the guitars. It is an effort that is much appreciated by musicians from around the world – including rock stars in bands like Die Toten Hosen and the Foo Fighters. “We get many orders from Asia and from the United States,” says Nik Huber. Today’s shipment will be going to Chicago.
As it happens, the eponymous founder of the company, now 49 years old, came to working with wood as a result of finding himself in a dilemma: when his plan to study architecture didn’t work out right away and he ended up on a waiting list, he decided to bridge the time by doing a carpentry apprenticeship. At some point his father, who at the time was a Lufthansa pilot, came back from a vacation and talked excitedly about a guitar-making course. Young Nik figured he might want to try his hand at that, too, and he was hooked from the very first minute.
ENABLING GLOBAL BUSINESS DUE TO AIRFREIGHT.
It was thanks to an encounter more than 20 years ago that Huber decided to turn his hobby into a vocation: at a concert in Frankfurt he showed the first guitar he had made himself to the legendary guitar maker Paul Reed Smith – who promptly became his mentor and guided him on his new career path. “He kept at me, drove me and was never, ever satisfied – thank God!” To this very day Huber still tries to build “the best guitar ever”. His catalog includes three body shapes, nine models and a long list of optional extras. Many of his customers have him create their own individual works of art. Airfreight is vital for Nik Huber, not only on a day like today when he ships finished guitars, but also when it comes to procuring supplies. This is why he participated in “Hessen goes global”, the corporate contest initiated by Lufthansa Cargo at the beginning of 2018. He finished up as one of the two winners, and he is sponsored by Lufthansa Cargo and UPS Global Freight Forwarding for one year.
The two companies receive free airfreight capacity of up to one container per month, as well as free ground transportation (door-to-door), and all customs clearance processes are handled for them. “For one thing, to me this means financial relief,” explains Huber. “For another, I’m also delighted that I can hand over the shipping side of things to professionals.” The logistics involving in making high-end guitars are challenging. It starts off with the wood, which this professional usually imports from California. “It needs to consist of long fibers and be dense, so that it can produce a good sound.” The preferred materials for Nik Huber, who once aspired to a career as a rock guitarist himself, are mahogany, ebony and rosewood. Rio rosewood, for example, is used for fingerboards.
“The documentation required to import and export these timbers is extensive.” Safety plays a vital role in the transportation of these instruments: “Aside from the precious wood itself, our guitars are adorned with exclusive materials,” explains Huber. “Mother-of-pearl is commonly used, but I have also had customers who asked for gold and diamonds instead.” This calls for high standards – which Lufthansa Cargo meets with its special “Safe 2” product. “During shipment, I always know where my guitars are. We spend eight to twelve weeks working on each instrument. That’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears – the possibility that even just one of them might not make it to the destination doesn’t bear thinking about!”
And sometimes things simply have to happen quickly: when a guitar has to arrive without fail before a musician goes on tour, when an exhibition copy is needed for a trade fair – or when the appropriate packaging is still missing: “For particularly high-end guitars, I have the cases hand made in California,” says Nik Huber. Just recently he had some of these delivered by “td.Flash,” Lufthansa Cargo’s product for very urgent shipments. “Airfreight has already saved my bacon quite a few times.”