Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How One Major Cargo Carrier is Cleaning Up the Air Freight Industry

Pro Environmental Policies Give Sector a Better Name
Shipping News Feature
US – WORLDWIDE – Air transport is of course firmly under the spotlight as one of the most polluting forms of transport. So how exactly does a major air freight company go about cleaning up its act and ensuring that it acts in the most environmentally way possible? Rather than just paying lip service to the task of reducing its environmental footprint, and despite the US President's somewhat dismissive views on climate change, American Airlines Cargo has been taking a proactive stance on the matter for well over a decade.

The growing global group has seen that its worldwide teams have taken the initiative needed to lessen the environmental impact of its operations, while making sustainability a priority. Ever since employees led the innovative Fuel Smart initiative back in 2005, American Airlines says it has saved millions of gallons of fuel from being consumed by its aircraft and support vehicles, while also cutting millions of pounds of CO2 emissions from passing into the atmosphere.

The company’s strategy has been to look at and revise all facets of its operation and, besides the mutually beneficial initial fuel saving measures, it has implemented policies which include the use of lightweight containers, American deploys more than 5,000 reusable lightweight composite cargo containers, reducing weight with a resultant saving of more than 1 million gallons of fuel every year. These containers are now carried in the modernised fleet of 777-300 aircraft, burning 30% less fuel than older 747s and emitting 20% less CO2 than its nearest competitor.

AA Cargo is working with biofuel companies to get even smarter about its fuel consumption, especially in the international markets where the flights are much longer, whilst on the ground its facilities recycle about 85,000 pounds (38,555 kilograms) of shrink-wrap every year. That’s equivalent to 1.2 million water bottles! New ecommerce documents are aimed at cutting paper from the system and the eFreight initiative will bring the logistics process into the digital age and cut down on the thousands of pounds of paper every year.

At a local level the company has tasked its teams with aiding the ecological effort so at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), the Green Team collects used cabin service items and amenity kits to donate to charity. They also collect electronic waste, like used TVs, for recycling, and ORD only uses electric tractors and forklifts to minimize gas emissions. The Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) hub recycles nearly 100% of the plastic used for shipping cargo, and by the start of 2018, DFW will use 100% renewable electricity at the facility.

Meanwhile in New York, the John F. Kennedy (JFK) team puts broken skids through a chipper and grinds them into mulch and the Miami (MIA) hub has its own dedicated green coordinator. Additionally, its team recycles an amazing 30,000 pounds (13,600 kilograms) of paper, magazines, wood skids and plastic every month, and this united company effort spreads right through to smaller stations with the San Francisco (SFO) team for example recycling six to eight 30-yard dumpsters a month of broken skids. David Vance, VP – Cargo Operations, comments:

“As a global cargo carrier, we’re deeply committed to finding new and better ways to ensure we’re running a sustainable operation, whether that’s by reducing our carbon footprint through new tools and technology, or simply recycling the plastic materials we use daily to protect and package our shipments. Our efforts are part of a major, overall initiative here at American Airlines, which everyone feels passionately about.”

Photo: AA Cargo staff in action at Dallas-Fort Worth.