ACE Awards 2017: Special Delivery

Added to the list of questions in this year’s ACE Survey was one about how well the carriers and airports performed while handling “specialty cargo” – perishables, dangerous goods, pharma, animals and oddly shaped cargo, etc. This was included because of the growth in interest in niche categories of air cargo in recent years.

The survey respondents chose Lufthansa Cargo as the carrier that is doing the best job with specialty cargo. The German carrier earned an index score of 111 points, edging out four others with 110-point scores (Asiana, Cathay, UPS and Korean Air). Lufthansa said that some of this interest stems from its decision, in 2013, to switch to 777 freighters, which feature a higher loading capacity and bigger cargo doors, compared to the carrier’s aging MD-11F fleet. Lufthansa Cargo also introduced other niche programs, such as td.Basic, which makes air cargo attractive for price-sensitive goods.

Another carrier that has been paying specific attention to specialty cargo is Taiwan-based China Airlines (108 points for Specialty handling), which has focused more on oversized and overweight products, perishables and live animals. Qatar Airways (103 points for Specialty handling) also offers a suite of premium cargo services, including QR Pharma, QR Fresh, QR Charter and QR Live.

For airports, the top scorers were not a big surprise. Platinum award-winner Ted Stevens Anchorage International, which often handles oversized oil-and-gas equipment cargo, earned the top specialty cargo score, with a phenomenal 129-point index score – the highest point total in any category. ANC was followed closely by Liège Airport (125 points), which is the site of CAL Cargo’s Liège Air Cargo Handling Services (LACHS), specializing in pharmaceutical, live animals, perishables, dangerous goods and oversized cargo.

Also, Diamond Award-winner Incheon Airport scored highly (120 points), saying that, by late 2018, it expects to have its upgraded cool-chain facility in operation.

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