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Shifting cargo

ULD management specialist Unilode is increasing visibility of cargo shipments through robust tracking services and outsourcing programmes. Ian Putzger speaks to Chief Executive Officer Benoît Dumont
The world’s largest provider of air freight container and pallet management solutions is blazing a trail in the implementation of next-generation tracking. Unilode Aviation Solutions has successfully worked with Cathay Pacific and OnAsset Intelligence trialing Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) technology for end-to-end tracking in real time. BLE tags are fully embedded in the structure of Unit Load Devices (ULDs) and their data can be captured automatically through a global interoperable reader infrastructure.
Reporting the successful conclusion of the tests, Unilode CEO Benoît Dumont commented in late July: “Our recent field trial with Cathay Pacific proves that our approach to digitalisation, including benefit realisation and technology choices, is on the right track to provide the industry with sustainable and compliant unit load device 
tracking data and services.”
For the Asian carrier, next-generation tracking is part of its digital strategy to bring greater transparency and improved efficiency into its cargo business. “It’s important to explore technologies that work towards the air freight industry’s aim of offering both customers and operators transparency and data accuracy throughout the entire supply chain,” declared Frosti Lau, Cathay’s General Manager Cargo Service Delivery.
The BLE programme, which constitutes a huge step forward in Unilode’s drive for a digital transformation of ULD management solutions, extends beyond the trial with Cathay. The ULD provider has been working with Air Canada on this, as well as with two all-cargo operators – Cargolux and AirBridgeCargo Airlines. Rather than develop a dedicated solution, Dumont stresses the ability for broader adoption.
This approach extends to his stance on technology, which eschews proprietary developments. This way, technology is not going to become a dead-end, limiting further developments down the road. “You want to be in control of your own destiny, not dependent on anybody else for the ability to scale your solution,” he comments. Moreover, the insistence on universally accessible technology is designed to foster interoperability and flexibility, he points out. To this end, the company has decided to make public all Application Programming Interface (APIs) required to capture information from its digital platforms. >>

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