Last week, during a panel discussion at Cargo Facts Asia, in Shanghai, speakers were asked to identify the weakest link in the air cargo supply chain, and, to no surprise, fingers were pointed at ground handlers. While no panelist offered a fix-all solution that could remedy the relationship between carriers and handlers, most agreed that airport cargo communities offered the best chances of doing so.
Air Cargo Belgium, the community present within BRUcargo at Brussels Airport, may be the group to tackle the challenge after announcing the months-long rollout of “BRUCloud,” its latest cloud-based slot-booking app, which promises to reduce waiting and idle times at ground handler facilities.
The BRUCloud app streamlines cargo pickups and deliveries at ground-handling facilities, which BRUcargo said will lead to better capacity utilization and elimination of peak and idle times. Forwarders will soon be able to request delivery slots on an ad-hoc basis or reserve reoccurring time slot from one central platform, which is connected to all of the ground handlers within Air Cargo Belgium. Ground handlers will also have control over the availability of time slots for different cargo types through both the cloud-based app, as well as any applicable internal management systems.
Like BRUcargo’s previous apps, BRUCloud was developed by Nallian, which creates and operates the cloud-based data-sharing platforms that ultimately host cargo communities. While initially, the slot=-booking app will be made available to local stakeholders at Brussels Airport, BRUcargo and Nallian envision the app being seamlessly integrated into other cargo communities around the globe.
Once launched, BRUCloud will become the fourth app available to the BRUcargo community. Since going live in 2015, the system has already launched a dashboard, which helps stakeholders visualize the quality and progress of pharma shipments; a booking application for pooled equipment, such as BRUcargo’s own refrigerated pharma dollies; and a statistical application that gives stakeholders insights into the freight volumes handled at BRUcargo.
“It is only a couple of months ago that we started to define the scope of our first release. Today, this release has been developed and the first testing sessions have been extremely positive,” said Steven Polmans, head of cargo at Brussels Airport.
“The slot-booking app will open a lot of opportunities for future applications”, adds Sara Van Gelder, the cargo development manager responsible for digitalization projects at BRUcargo.