AIR CARGO QUARTERLY - BA World Cargo Speeds Service Via New Premia Facility and Product Offerings

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Air Cargo News  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTShippers looking for more efficient service utilizing British Airways (BA) World Cargo are about to get a boost. On September 4, the London-based carrier will officially open its new $28 million purpose-built premium handling facility at London Heathrow Airport. The 7,200 square meter facility, dubbed Premia, is located next to Ascentis, BA World Cargo’s 83,000 square meter state-of-the-art general cargo handling center.
“Premia is the last piece of a 10-year effort of addressing fast and efficient handling needs for both its short and long haul freight customers,” says Gareth Kirkwood, the carrier’s managing director.
Located on the site of an old warehouse, Premia was constructed on budget and in a short 48 weeks.
I toured the facility two weeks prior to its opening. The presentation put on by BA World Cargo representatives stressed, “The need for speed.” Not only does Premia give the carrier 67% greater capacity in handling premium freight; it is designed with speed in mind to handle five specific premium products: live animals, Constant Fresh, Constant Climate, Priortise, and airmail. The last three are new products to the BA World Cargo line and were introduced during the media event.
Constant Climate is a state-of-the-art temperature-controlled product for high value perishables and pharmaceuticals such as highly temperature-sensitive drugs and vaccines. As the name suggests, freight delivered using Constant Climate will be kept at a constant temperature throughout the journey, through the use of Envirotainer containers—ULDs—that are able to keep freight inside at the same temperature for up to 72 hours.
Constant Climate will be launched in three phases. From September, the product will be available to and from selected destinations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Europe where customer demand for the product is strongest. The second wave, which will be launched in late October, will cover Asia, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa, South America and other European locations. The final development will include all other potential locations for the product. Development of solutions to facilitate a launch at these locations will start in October and continue throughout the remainder of the fiscal year.
Prioritise is an express freight offering that replaces BA World Cargo’s Express product. It offers the shortest cut off times for freight of any weight across the carrier’s global network. A plus for shippers considering BA World Cargo’s new Prioritise product, this service comes with a performance guarantee.
“If the freight fails to travel as booked, the customer will be entitled to a 50% refund of the freight charges,” Kirkwood explained.
The new airmail product regards the transshipment of mail. It enables BA World Cargo to re-enter the transfer mail market.
Premia will also help with BA World Cargo’s Constant Fresh offering for perishables such as fruits and vegetables that are already handled at BA World Cargo’s mammoth Perishable Handling Center. While that facility handles over 80,000 tons of fresh produce, flowers, fish and seafood products every year and provides a number of value-added services including packing, labeling and quality assurance to meet the requirements of importers and major supermarket chains, Premia will be able to facilitate the overflow of perishables that must be expatiated for shipment.
Expedited freight, particularly for temperature controlled goods, is especially important to the carrier. Market research indicates that this category is the fastest growing sector in the air cargo market.
“This launch marks the final stage of the opening of Premia and we have every confidence that the whole suite of products will be well received by customers,” Kirkwood said. Premium freight already represents over 10% of BA World Cargo’s total volume of freight.

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American Journal of Transportation