Smart Cargo Hub Helsinki brings added precision to transportation chain


Finnair Cargo has undergone a remarkable reorganization that will improve service quality in air cargo transportation.

Since late February, all air cargo operations and planning at Finnair Cargo have been overseen by the new Smart Cargo Hub (SCH). The responsibility of the department is to ensure that cargo handled by Finnair reaches its destination on schedule.

”This renewal will clarify the responsibilities of each party. Now all strings are clearly held by a single department. Because this team is in charge of all operative and advance planning aspects of cargo, customers will see quicker, more reliable deliveries,” says Heikki Nikamaa, Head of SCH and area director of freighter sales and operations at Finnair Cargo.

"What is important for us is the fact that the new way of controlling the movement of the cargo guarantees quicker and smoother transfers in Helsinki. All cargo movements are controlled by a quality system and this provides us an opportunity to react immediately if something seems to go wrong’’ Nikamaa assures.
‘’In the near future the key development area is the expansion of e-freight and e-bookings. At the moment we have project teams working on both areas to expand our e-services. The value of advance information, whether in the form of a booking or an air waybill data, is higher and higher in flight capacity and load planning,’’ he continues.

Focused management

Smart Cargo Hub (SCH), located in Finnair Cargo’s Helsinki terminal, serves all of the company’s global cargo operations. Under its management is Space Control, which manages cargo shipments and transport capacity in real time. In addition, SCH provides important advance information about transfer shipments in order to ensure smooth transfer at Helsinki Airport’s cargo terminal, thus helping make daily work at the warehouse more manageable.

”Everyone’s jobs and roles are now clearer. With the guidance of SCH, coordinating shipments is now easier for Finnair Cargo’s global staff. No request is left hanging,” says SCH:n duty manager Jarkko Laine.

Achieving punctuality in all transportation processes is important, as Finnair Cargo complies by the main transportation processes set by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Cargo 2000 initiative. Measuring these processes enables the airline to judge real performance against commitment given to customers.

Solid experience in cargo operations

Operations at Smart Cargo Hub are overseen by four duty managers who work in shifts. Their task is to ensure that shipments are handled as planned.

”Our daily work is directing the flow of goods and preparing for upcoming shipments. At SCH, we focus on tomorrow and beyond,” says Laine.

SCH has steadfast experience in air cargo business; duty managers have previously worked in various other aspects of cargo, including tracing, space control and cargo apron control. Laine has worked at Finnair Cargo for 14 years and says that, if measured by years on the job, he is the least experienced duty manager on the team. 

Growth in cargo requires continuous development

According to Laine, clarifying responsibilities is important also because air cargo involves an increasing number of stakeholders.

”As many as five different companies can be involved in one shipment before everything has been loaded onto the aircraft. Getting the necessary information to all parties is challenging, and SCH’s job is to keep everyone on the same page,” he says.

Of all the cargo handled by Finnair, about 70 per cent is made up of transit shipments between Europe and Asia. North American destinations are also part of the network.

”The amount of goods transported by air has grown notably in recent years. It’s important that we focus on making sure that the shipments are carried out as fluidly as possible. SCH provides, in part, an answer to this challenge,” Laine says.

Punctuality and quality provides a competitive edge

Ensuring service quality plays a constant and central role at Finnair Cargo.

”We continuously follow how our cargo is transported from its point of origin and whether it reaches its destination on schedule,” Laine says.

The International Air Transport Association, IATA, has estimated that cargo volumes will only increase in the upcoming years. In particular, growing needs in China and other emerging economies in Asia accelerate this growth. According to Nikamaa, improving fluidity in transportation can provide an important advantage for airlines and airports in an increasingly competitive landscape.

”Punctuality in air cargo shipments is important for companies whose production and logistics chains require that products and components are transported quickly from one continent to another,” he says.

Machines and machine parts for electronics and auto industries as well as pharmaceuticals are good examples of this phenomenon. Speed is an asset also when seasonal fashions have to get to retail stores on time or when engineering companies have to deliver replacement parts to customers.

By Matti Remes

Published April 5, 2012

Category: Market updates, Finnair Cargo