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During the week of March 30th, Heathrow Airport - the UK's largest - readjusted its operations to prioritize cargo planes carrying essential medical supplies.
And Cologne Bonn Airport's freight department is running at full proportions now that its passenger operations have come to a halt.
No longer a place filled with excited travelers standing in security queues or milling about the magazine racks, these airports have become crucial logistic locations, helping to ensure regions around the world are supplied with the goods they need.
“As a key component in the logistics chain, we currently bear a huge responsibility – as a hub for important supplies, our freight business is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at full capacity," said Johann Vanneste, CEO of Flughafen Cologne/Bonn GmbH.
Cargo-only flights have increased 666% at Heathrow and Cologne Bonn's traffic has pivoted to more than 650 cargo flights per week - just a few examples which illustrate why airports and airlines need to remain efficient; automated fleet, warehouse and tracking technology could be just the ticket.
Cargo aircrafts are carrying large amounts of industrial goods, medical supplies and equipment for hospitals, in addition to foodstuffs.
Cargo airlines are playing a decisive role in providing reliable delivery of necessary goods. Almost half of Britain's pharmaceutical supplies (medicine, vaccines, sanitizers, and syringes) arrive in the country via Heathrow.
As of April 14th, the airport's busiest day for freight was March 31st; it managed thirty-eight cargo flights in a single day. During regular airport activities Heathrow handles forty-seven cargo flights — per week.
The same kind of numbers are seen in Cologne; the airport managed 700 cargo flights, transporting industrial goods, medical supply and equipment, during the week of May 11th.
The pressure is certainly “on" for freight movers, cargo airlines and at-capacity airport hubs. Without automated visibility and tracking tools a supply chain disruption could create a disastrous “snowball effect", leaving suppliers and receivers at a loss as to how to locate and address the problem fast enough to prevent further complications.
"In the flows, whether it's forward or reverse, there are huge holes in visibility... supply chain professionals suffer from the inability to see assets end-to-end in an online, real-time manner and also suffer from the inability to know the results of those flows: how long things stay put, how quickly they move through and how that compares to their assumptions and plans... indoors is a particular problem especially in large centers... warehouses where orders are being picked, packed and shipped from multiple locations. That backend [visibility] is critical for corrections."
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