Friday, March 24, 2017

Air Freight Industry Making Moves to Cut Waste and Emissions with Innovative Ideas

New Technologies Continue to Assist in Cleaning Up Industry
Shipping News Feature
LUXEMBOURG – UK – A couple of new developments in the airfreight and passenger industry are demonstrating the innovative ways that new ideas are helping to reduce the environmental impact of air transportation. Firstly, Luxembourg based freight only carrier Cargolux Airlines has signed an agreement with German company Trinkaus-Solutions for the use of its squAIR-timber product. Cargolux is the first airline worldwide to introduce the lightweight material in its cargo operations and currently uses it on all pharma shipments out of Luxembourg.

The cardboard fibre composite beams only contain raw materials from sustainable sources, something that differs significantly from conventional corrugated products and provides an excellent economic and ecological long term replacement for traditional wooden materials. The beams have a load capacity of up to 10 tonnes whilst at the same time are significantly lighter than the conventional wooden beams they replace, with a weight of only 1.2 kilogrammes per meter, 80% lighter than the conventional wood they are replacing.

This allows more payload and a lower fuel consumption for Cargolux’s aircraft, which the company says directly translates to lower aircraft engine emissions. Cargolux estimates that the use of squAIR-timber has the potential to reduce its fuel consumption by roughly 1,200 tonnes per year. In addition, the beams enables shorter build-up times, eliminating the need for forklifts as they can easily be handled by one person. They can be reused and are 100% recyclable with lower disposal costs than wooden materials. Lars Syberg, Cargolux EVP Global Logistics, said:

“Cargolux is proud to be at the forefront of developments again with Trinkaus-Solutions’ innovative products. The use of modern, environmentally-conscious tools in air cargo underlines our standing as a green cargo carrier at a time when many of our customers put more emphasis on working with a partner who is aware of its responsibility towards the world we live in. In addition, Trinkaus-Solutions provides us with products that make Cargolux more efficient and faster with the added advantage of lower costs. It’s an all-round winner for us.”

Meanwhile in the UK London Gatwick Airport and DHL Supply Chain have formally opened a new waste management plant, becoming the first airport in the world to turn airport waste, such as food and packaging, into energy onsite.

DHL's new £3.8million waste plant not only disposes of Category 1 waste safely onsite, but converts it and other organic waste into energy to heat Gatwick's waste management site and power the site's water recovery system. The plant is set to save £1,000 in energy and waste management costs for every day it operates.

Category 1 forms the majority of waste from non-EU flights and is defined as food waste or anything mixed with it, such as packaging, cups and meal trays from international transport vehicles. Through the plant, waste is turned into a dry-powdered organic material, used as fuel to heat the site and dry the waste for the next day.

Gatwick currently treats 2,200 tonnes of Category 1 waste each year, around 20% of the total generated at the airport. The new energy plant will process around 10 tonnes per day, whereas all Category 1 waste was previously processed offsite. With the objective of boosting the airport's recycling rate from 49% today to around 85% by 2020, higher than any UK airport, the plant includes a waste sorting centre to maximise recycling onsite. Concentrating all activities in one location enables the team to transport waste four times more efficiently than before, reducing local traffic and carbon emissions.

The plant has also been designed with the future in mind and has the capacity to produce additional energy that could one day be used to power other areas of the airport. Martin Willmor, Senior Vice President, Specialist Services, UK, DHL Supply Chain, said:

"After a decade of working closely with Gatwick, we're excited to still be finding innovative ways to improve operations across the airport. Disposing of Category 1 waste can be very costly and time-consuming, but our new waste management and recycling system is a huge step forward.

"Gatwick is leading the way in converting waste onsite into an energy source and we're already investigating a number of further initiatives to support sustainable energy production and the future expansion of the airport."

DHL Supply Chain already manages inbound deliveries at Gatwick Airport through its logistics and consolidation facility on behalf of the airport's 150 partners and retailers. The development of the new waste management plant is also in sync with Deutsche Post DHL Group's recently announced commitment to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by the year 2050.

Photo: Trinkhaus Solutions squAIR-timber.