Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cargo Handling Group Offers Expanded Service to Freight Forwarders and Air Carriers

WFS Snap up Rival Group
Shipping News Feature

CANADA – Expansion through acquisition and economies of scale are the watchword of many industries these days and the freight and logistics sector is no exception. With their purchase of the assets of Excel Cargo at both Montreal’s Dorval and Mirabel airports international group Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) says it has become the largest cargo handler in Montreal adding to the cargo handling facilities the company already runs in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto.

Growth in Canada forms part of the strategic plan for developing the WFS presence in North America. Since January 2011, WFS says it has been awarded 24 new cargo contracts in North America worth US $11 million and retained a further 10 contracts that were part of competitive bid processes. In Montreal the combined operation of both airports, including the existing WFS operation at Dorval, will have close to 150 employees, all now operating under the WFS name and brand. Olivier Bijaoui, President and CEO of WFS, said of the deal:

“This is a large and important acquisition for WFS as it establishes itself as the major cargo handling partner in Canada. The existing Excel operation complements WFS’s activities. It also provides the opportunity to develop not only our customer base to include numerous freight forwarders, but also to expand our service offerings with the addition of cargo running at Dorval and ramp and warehouse handling at Mirabel.

“WFS recently appointed Michel Defays as Senior Vice President Canada. Michel has significant aviation experience** from the airline, ground handler and airport operations fields. His expertise will be valuable to both us and our customers as we focus on further development in Canada.”

On completion of the takeover last week, WFS existing customers, British Airways, Finnair, Forwardair and US Airways, transferred operations into the larger Excel premises at Dorval adjacent to Customs to achieve greater efficiency. The new operation will continue to provide services to Excel’s Dorval airline customers; Aer Lingus, Air Transat, CSA, Cubana, First Air, Qantas and SAS as well as to more than 45 freight forwarding organizations.

The large, recently built, state-of-the-art facility is equipped with 12 dock doors, a large cooler facility for temperature-controlled shipments and a dedicated freezer. WFS say customers will benefit from access to these larger facilities and to the x-ray equipment for cargo screening that will be transferred. More than 2,700 tonnes of airfreight per month will be handled in the new Dorval operation whilst Mirabel will remain at its current location.

** Michel Defays has had a chequered career from flying as a Canadian ‘bush pilot’ in the early seventies through ground handling with Quebecair across three continents plus numerous roles in Canada and Europe for other carriers before taking the interim position of director of operations at Toronto's Terminal 3. Now he brings this wealth of operational and management expertise from the airline, airport, and service provider spheres to WFS.

Photo: Olivier Bijaoui