Air Transport Publications
Login   |   Register
jobs Jobs
events Events
My bookmarks

What's new

CORE Technologies and ACL Airshop announce strategic alliance

CORE Transport Technologies, Inc. of New Zealand and ACL Airshop LLC of the US have joined forces in an exclusive strategic alliance for bringing innovative new, field-proven Bluetooth® enabled logistics technology to the global air cargo industry, to jointly provide automated tracking of Unit Load Devices (ULD Equipment). Announced as part of the annual "ULD Care" air cargo industry symposium in Budapest, the two companies explained how this industry-wide exclusive partnership and proven new technology will benefit airlines and cargo customers. CORE Transport Technologies is an agile software developer, focused for over 10 years on services that provide significant improvement to the transportation process in multiple industries, with offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Orlando FL. ACL Airshop, with main offices in South Carolina and Amsterdam, is a worldwide provider of custom ULD solutions to over 200 air carriers and cargo clients, with services, repairs, and leasing operations at 40 of the world's Top 50 air cargo hub airports, substantial manufacturing and supply chain capabilities for cargo control products, and 34 years of airlines services experience in air cargo.


New Efficiencies


Predictive analytics and Big Data are just part of the new efficiencies these innovations can bring to air cargo carriers, according to the two companies. They assert that airlines will also be able to track the actual cargo loads by the container and pallet, that the tracking system will yield real-time "dot on the map" monitoring and status reports, and will reduce both the loss and/or the overstocking of pallets and other mission-essential cargo equipment. This is coupled as a significant technical enhancement to ACL's already robust ULD Control and bar-coding systems used by some of its customers. In partnering, CORE will provide ACL with its COREInsight Tracking technology to be placed on ULD Equipment owned/leased by ACL. In addition, a joint sales agreement allows the two companies to offer all Air Carriers the same tracking technology to track their own ULD fleets on a global scale. The COREInsight® Tracking solution allows for Air Carriers to track ULD Equipment worldwide and real-time. Through the use of Bluetooth®, and an array of patented applications, CORE has developed this tracking system where ULD Equipment is tagged and then the location is recorded through a reader (a.k.a. gateway) which aggregates Bluetooth® traffic into the cellular network of AT&T in over 120 countries. Based on the economics of current technology, CORE states with confidence that its reader network acting as a bridge between cellular systems and Bluetooth tags is the most cost effective and highest performing solution for tracking ULD Equipment worldwide. This technology allows for ULD ground locations to be fed automatically to a Carrier's legacy ULD Control system.


The Bluetooth® technology application, highly proprietary and developed by CORE, is a major new innovation for airlines and cargo customers. Its Real Time Locating Service can provide the location of any Bluetooth® equipped ULD fleet worldwide. Each ULD is equipped with a patented Bluetooth® low energy tag that provides location and status information that allows the cargo carrier to manage its ULD assets with far greater efficiency. The two companies have successfully concluded extensive beta testing in the field with international air carriers and an array of multiple ULDs, with 100% tracking reliability. Similarly, a global air carrier conducted another CORE test which succeeded with hundreds of ULDs. Market readiness is now complete. Regulatory aspects such as compliance with FCC and FAA rules have been addressed, plus rigorous adherence to RTCA-DO-160 ("Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment").


Solving Problems


Additional aspects of the logistics enhancements for clients were explained at the ULD Care conference by Ian Craig, Managing Director & CEO of CORE Transport Technologies. "We are disruptive—in a good way—for transportation supply chains. We already have extensive clientele where the Bluetooth® analytics are making a big difference, such as with a major national postal service, Air New Zealand itself, and several other air carriers. With ACL Airshop as our channel partner for global air cargo, we now expect to accelerate. We have over ten years of experience breaking through the old barriers in transportation analytics. Our ground-breaking work with some large air carriers gives us a unique view that leads to constant product improvements for airlines. Unit Load Devices (ULD) are a critical, mandatory and valuable asset in any air carrier's cargo operation. Containers and pallets must be available in the right place at the right time to meet today's global air cargo demands. When air carriers cannot account for a specific ULD during regularly scheduled inventory reporting, they are forced to purchase replacements. Air carriers can avoid lost sales and other severe operating consequences by turning to the COREInsight ULD service that we are offering together through ACL Airshop's global client channels."


Craig stated further: "With a COREInsight tagged ULD, ACL Airshop airlines clients now can track in real-time the freight contained in their ULDs. Associating waybills with tagged ULDs effectively links freight to a trackable unit. Carriers can automatically track freight and ULD location status without human intervention and with no disruption to existing processes with COREInsight. The status can be anything from in-transit, in a serviceable or unserviceable staging area, or out of service in a repair station. It will even help find lost pallets, and avoid the costly hassles of ULD's sitting idle for too long. The dashboard shows the entire ULD network or the subscriber can drill down to the individual stations or even a specific ULD."


"While CORE has initiated a number of previous technology products independently, with the most current offering of COREInsight Tracking technology, we felt it is best suited for a partnership with a great industry leader like ACL Airshop." Ian Craig explained. "In addition, by partnering with ACL, we introduce a new benefit to leasing ULD Equipment, whereby the lessee can now have an automated avenue to track their leased ULD even when it may be outside their own system. Core grants ACLAS the worldwide exclusive right to license, sublicense, and sell the ULD tracking technology, in tandem with us. ACL will not only offer this groundbreaking tracking technology to their existing customers, but will be able to exclusively offer the Core Technology to all airlines around the globe. ACLAS customers will always know where their ULD's are located and when they are being utilized."


Customer Benefits


Wes Tucker, Executive Vice President for ACL Airshop, said: "This partnership is not only about tracking ACL's 40,000 ULDs, it's also about partnering with a formidable technology company to bring electronic ULD tracking to the airline industry worldwide. We've been working in unison with CORE for quite a few months in testing and development of this technology and the results are quite impressive, this is the ultimate solution for ULD Equipment tracking available today." Tucker further explained benefits for airlines customers, stating: "This is a positive game-changer for ACL Airshop and its hundreds of airlines clients. COREInsight ULD service tracks these valuable assets in real time. Each ULD for ACL Airshop airlines clients will be equipped with a COREInsight® Bluetooth® tag. The tags are attached to existing equipment per the manufacturer's and the air carrier's specification without having to recertify the ULD. Readers are strategically placed throughout each airport facility to give you visibility of your ULD inventory. There is no need for line of sight with the units or the need for handheld scanners, thus reducing replacement costs for scanners. And unlike RFID and other systems, there is no impact on airborne flight operations because of the inherent latent aspects of how Bluetooth® works. FOR ACL's airlines clients, we predict this will be a low-cost logistics efficacy enhancement that will remarkably improve how we can help them manage their fleet and save money long-term. The cost is almost incidental, but the value is high. And, through our new Global ULD Operations Center in Amsterdam, we have an expanded staff of airlines-experienced ULD logisticians manning the state-of-the-art systems 24 hours a day, giving real-time reports and periodic summaries for our cargo customers. This means we can offer significant ULD analytics and big data, making ACL Airshop an even better ULD solutions partner for airlines around the globe."


According to Mr. Craig, the reliability of the COREInsight® Global Network paired with the COREInsight Tags is exceeding all expectations. Such Key Performance Indicators (KPI) as range coverage of the COREInsight Readers, the battery lifespan of the tag, ease of installation, real-time ULD and high-value asset tracking for the product line. These KPIs have resulted in high success rates on all metrics with air carrier tests and implementations. The data is transmitted to the COREInsight Global Network via cellular or Wi-Fi connections. ACL's airline clients on the network can access their ULD's status anytime, anywhere – through desktops, laptops, tablets or smart phones or any Internet-enabled device. 


At the Budapest conference, the two companies explained the basic commercial terms of their venture, and the technical aspects of their game-changing new offerings for airlines. The strategic alliance started with a binding letter of intent that the governance Boards of both companies endorsed and approved, followed by a final definitive agreement signed in Budapest, to be ratified soon by both Boards.


John Clough, chairman of CORE, said "This Bluetooth® step with ACL Airshop will be a big leap forward for us in the giant global air cargo transport channel, and for ACL's airlines and cargo clients."


Steve Townes, chairman of ACL Airshop and its parent company, said "Speaking for our entire team of Ranger Airshop co-owners, we are excited to advance and accelerate this new logistics sophistication for ACL's airline clients, and we are delighted to be partnering with such an excellent teammate as CORE Transport Technologies. We are putting serious muscle behind this innovation, aiming to accelerate it into usage for the many airlines customers who will value the compelling new efficiencies it is designed to deliver for their ULDs"