Aircargo Transport: Quality, well received

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Text: Oliver Schönfeld
Photos: Holger Jacoby

For three decades, Aircargo Transport GmbH in North Rhine-Westphalia has been providing road feeder and other services. The company uses the Cargofleet platform of idem telematics to exchange data and information about the fleet.

Michael Roelofsen, managing director of Aircargo Transport GmbH, has a self-assured reply for any questions concerning his company strategy, “We don’t want to be the biggest on the market – just always the best.” True to this principle, the company has practically reinvented itself in the last years – and this, of course, includes constant growth. By deliberately focusing on challenging transportation tasks, extremely time-sensitive orders and valuable goods requiring special handling, Aircargo has tapped into new business fields and acquired well-known customers such as Lufthansa Cargo, which recognises the company as a Premium Road Partner.

Trust in new technology

Aircargo focuses on three pillars: road feeder services, high-value transport and temperature-controlled transport, especially for the pharmaceutical industry. The company was founded in 1978 and therefore has more than 40 years of experience, which is a very long time in the field of road feeder services. In 2005 the company changed hands within the family, Michael Roelofsen, who already represents the fourth generation, has significantly advanced the strategy of specialisation: “With our focus on special transport, we have clearly achieved our aim of setting ourselves apart from the majority of the competition,” comments the managing director. “This is down to the hard work of the entire team, although it would not have been possible without the associated hardware and IT systems.” The agile company relies on the Cargofleet platform supplied by idem telematics for exchanging data and information. “When we started specialising in 2013, we considered various software alternatives. We placed our trust in idem telematics and chose Cargofleet, which has proven to be the correct decision over the last few years. We are completely satisfied.”

Cargofleet enables all relevant trailer data to be accessed in real time, including the current location of the trailer, temperatures, and the status of locks and doors. In addition, idem telematics adapted the platform to the customer’s specific requirements. “They were able to customise a lot of features – the collaboration was very good right from the development stage,” says Roelofsen. Aircargo also put idem telematics in contact with a manufacturer of a door locking system, for example. “Together we created a solution which enables us to unlock the door from head office via remote control.” The company thus fulfils an important requirement for high-value transport: the trailer cannot be opened by the driver alone.

BPW telematics for stress-free Fleet Control
At the end of 2016, Aircargo moved into new headquarters in Emmerich on the Lower Rhine. Everything comes together in what is known as the Fleetwatch team, which has little in common anymore with a conventional vehicle management operation. Customers can contact the control centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “We provide high-quality services and will absolutely keep our promises,” explains Roelofsen. The ability to react flexibly and instant­aneously is indispensable in time-sensitive road feeder services. Aircargo remains constantly in touch with its clients and vehicle fleet, which comprises 55 tractor units and around 65 trailers, by way of redundant IT systems, for example.

State-of-the-art technology for the fleet

The company is also committed to a state-of-the-art fleet: all trucks fulfil the Euro 6 standard, and their average age is just two years. The vehicles have special roller conveyor trailers to ensure that the Aircargo team can transfer loads safely from the aircraft to the trailers, without causing any damage. In addition to normal roller conveyor trailers (height 265 cm), mega roller conveyor trailers are used, especially for high-volume loads. These trailers are up to 305 centimetres tall. Freight security has been verified by multiple certification agencies. Aircargo has been approved and registered as a regulated agent with the German Federal Aviation Office since 2012.

Clients expressly welcome the added-value services that the transport company offers. In the last few years, Aircargo was able to acquire many new customers after making targeted investments in its fleet and IT systems. Thanks to the high-tech equipment on board and at its headquarters, the company can prepare static information dynamically and provide it to clients in real time. Customers can thus use a web browser to call up information at any time, such as the predicted arrival time, which is calculated every minute based on the traffic situation and other factors. According to Roelofsen, this is where traditional expertise meets state-of-the-art technology, “We are and intend to remain logistics specialists through and through. But today we are just as much a web-based company.“

Intelligently interconnected and informed in real time

The big data revolution in transportation began long ago: real-time information offers considerable competitive advantages to both logistics companies and consignors – a strategy that companies such as Aircargo have pursued successfully for many years. The Cargofleet telematics platform provides an ideal gateway in this context.

In its third generation, the solution has become even more versatile and intuitive to use. As an open platform independent of vehicle manufacturers, the system interconnects mixed fleets, fleet operators, dispatchers and drivers, collects and exports data from trucks, trailers, vans and swap bodies, and displays the information in an easy-to-use menu interface. The development of Cargofleet 3 took a little more than a year – a tight schedule which could only be met thanks to the agile scrum method, as Heiko Boch from Product Management at idem telematics reports: “Our aim is to provide full transparency in the transport process.” To this end, the all-in-one telematics platform processes relevant information about transport orders, vehicle operation, driving behaviour and cargo in accordance with needs and target groups, displays the information graphically, and makes it available in real time. In addition, the driver can retrieve all of the data relating to the order, vehicle, trailer and cargo via the associated app on an Android tablet.

Development will not stop there, says Boch, “We want to go beyond collecting data and be able to process information more and more intelligently. To achieve this, the system needs to automatically condense and process the data, typically, using it to generate decision-making aids for the transport company.“

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