Source: The Lloyd’s Loading List; BIFA
Date: 18th October 2021
London Heathrow sets to become the latest Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) cargo station to introduce automated ‘CargoKiosk’ technology to simplify and digitalise the processing of truck and drivers making cargo deliveries and collections, as leading air freight handlers to make further significant strides to belatedly digitalise air freight processes.
WFS first introduced the CargoKiosk technology in Brussels in 2019 and it went ‘live’ in Amsterdam this summer. Following next month’s launch at Heathrow, 2022 will see the digital process introduced at other major cargo stations, including Paris-CDG, Liege, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan and Frankfurt. WFS is also developing similar concepts for its operations at New York JFK and in South Africa.
Rival Swissport has also been rolling out self-service cargo kiosks across its network of global cargo handling facilities as part of several ongoing investments in new technologies and automation at its warehouses. It said self-service cargo kiosks “enable truck drivers to skip counter queues and manual paperwork processing. The kiosks help saving valuable time and often speed up the delivery of time-critical shipments, benefiting Swissport and its customers alike.”
WFS explained that “traditionally, drivers arriving on-site go to the station’s reception desk where their paperwork is checked manually before they are assigned a loading bay”, with the new process expected to “help customers optimise their valuable driver resources”.
With CargoKiosk, the driver, vehicle and cargo authorisation process is completed electronically prior to the truck arriving on-site, so the driver simply has to enter their ID and follow the touchscreen prompts on the kiosk to conduct the full acceptance and delivery process. When a suitable door becomes available, they receive an SMS or app notification and can then move their truck to the assigned loading bay to load or unload their cargo, WFS said.
Group Chief Information Officer at WFS, commented: “CargoKiosk is another important part of our digital roadmap. WFS’ Landside Digitalisation project –one part of this roadmap – will bring improvements in Service Level Agreements and truck handling times.”
That consists of three elements, he said, outlining: “Digital pre-announcement where freight forwarders send us advance notification of their booking; driver self-service using the kiosk concept or smartphone app; and doors management to optimise the allocation of trucks to doors and even pre-stage freight next to the correct door in advance. These are all meaningful improvements for our customers and we aim to do more by working hand-in-hand with the cargo community systems at the airports we serve.”
WFS’ Executive Vice President for EMEAA, commented: “Given the severe shortage of truck drivers internationally, our customers value all initiatives which save their drivers time and improve their productivity.
“Using CargoKiosk, we can support this by removing the need to wait at the reception counter on arrival, reducing the time required on-site to load or unload, and providing a fast, transparent and fully digital process which is more efficient and, most importantly, compliant with our security checks. This gives us a significant opportunity to improve the driver experience and to optimise our warehouse workload and resourcing.”
Earlier this month, WFS also announced it has signed a long-term agreement to move its core cargo management system in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) region to a new SaaS solution as part of its digital roadmap to standardise systems across the WFS group, eliminate paperwork and improve customers’ real-time visibility of cargo handling milestones in support of service excellence.
Headquartered in Paris, WFS is the world’s largest air cargo handler and one of the leading providers of ground handling and technical services, with annual revenues of over €1.1 billion. Its 22,300 employees serve more than 270 airlines at 170 major airports in 20 countries on five continents.