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The start of initial operations on October 10 in the COOL Nordic Cargo hub marked the culmination of remarkable coordination among several subcontractors, even as parallel efforts were underway to implement a new release of SkyChain, Finnair Cargo’s cargo management system.

“Opening day went smoothly,” says Petteri Hellén, Finnair Cargo’s Business Development Manager. “The training, behind-the-scenes testing, enthusiasm of our systems suppliers and support from Finnish Customs made for a successful Go-Live.”

Operations related to perishable shipments already handled in the COOL terminal these days are primarily semi-automated, but more fully automated processes, for example, in the handling of ULDs (Unit Load Devices), will kick-off in January.

“The COOL terminal combines four systems; our SkyChain cargo management system, our warehouse automation system, our Customs system, and our cargo taxi monitoring system,” explains Hellén. “The key providers of these systems – Mercator, Lödige and INFORM –  all fulfilled their rolls beautifully.”

Hellén notes that the next challenge is to implement full automation to the majority of cargo flow that does not require temperature control such as fashion, spare parts and electronics when the remainder of the terminal opens in January. 

HUB Logistics in key role

Due to the size and complexity of the COOL project, specialized logistics and system integration talent was required.  

A CCC (Cargo Control Center) was established as the “brain” of the terminal which integrates with the SkyChain cargo management system. To operate the CCC and to help coordinate the activities of the main systems suppliers, Finnair Cargo signed-on HUB Logistics Aviation as a partner to work side-by-side with their operations.

“We brought our knowledge of air cargo and automated warehousing to the COOL terminal in February 2017,” recalls Jussi Saarinen, Service Manager for HUB Logistics Aviation. “It has been a steady ramp-up ever since of engineers and IT personnel, many of whom are new to air cargo operations, to get the CCC up and running and online with the other suppliers’ automated systems.”

Saarinen’s team played a pivotal role in the final testing before the October launch of the perishables area.

“We conducted 4,300 tests over 20 weeks with Finnair Cargo personnel during the summer to get ready for the October 10 Go-Live day,” says Saarinen. “The COOL terminal is among the most advanced anywhere in the world, which means there were a lot of new processes that needed to be implemented for the first time ever.”

Self-learning, proactive mindset

Both Hellén and Saarinen note that one of the key takeaways from the journey to Go-Live was the necessity for self-learning and generally being more proactive than ever before.

“There is so much going on, and a lot of work yet to do to as we approach the full launch,” Hellén emphasizes. “But it is amazing to see that a whole new mindset has taken hold here.

“Everybody is self-motivated, getting out in front of issues before they happen, and taking it upon themselves to learn things on their own. So, I am optimistic we will be ready come January 8th,” Hellén says.

Text and photo by Michael Larkin

Published November 28, 2017

Category: Finnair Cargo