The heat is on for COOL hub


Finnair Cargo is taking a quantum leap forward as the opening of its new COOL Cargo Nordic Hub at Helsinki Airport approaches. 

The opening of the terminal is scheduled for autumn and testing of systems and processes has been proceeding according to plan. 

Terminal operator, HUB logistics Finland, awarded the role in December 2016, has been heavily involved in the five-week User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and in supporting the eventual move from the existing terminal facilities on the eastern side of the airport. 

As of mid-June, Jussi Saarinen, HUB logistics Service Manager and test manager of UAT, reported that testing was on schedule and that no major bugs or obstacles had been encountered. “Integrated Site Acceptance testing (ISAT) follows after the Finnish Midsummer holiday in late June, and that will take another four weeks,” says Saarinen. 

“We have invested in excellent project staff and employed a total of 40 new people, in addition to the 19 employees from Finnair Cargo,” he continues. “Five or six months ago many of our existing staff were driving forklifts in the ‘old’ terminal. Now they are performing test cases, participating in testing and planning instructions for end users. It’s been awesome to see how they have changed their mindsets and how they have grown to take on this project as their own in such a short space of time. It’s a really interesting time for us and to be part of this totally new development.”

COOL by name, cool by nature

According to Finnair Cargo’s project manager Ari Soinola, there are five elements behind the use of the “COOL” tag. 

“First there are the literally cool storage features, with low temperatures ensured for perishable goods such as fish and a separate area for Pharma products maintained at 20 degrees centigrade. Secondly, the warehouse automation aspects, taking into account our high level of transit operations, are also cool.”

The other three elements are what set the facilities apart and make the COOL terminal unique, says Soinola, and testing has been especially intense in these areas. “The steering processes – the third cool element - involve advanced digitalization at our end but also for the customer. We are saying goodbye to pen and paper. Everything will be done using a warehouse app, with our information and processes displayed using robust tablet computers. Fourth is our COOL Control Centre (CCC) concept that enables us to see everything that is going on from a network point of view. I haven’t seen this kind of control center for cargo anywhere else, at any other carrier.”

The fifth and final cool element is the sustainability of the building, certified “very good” by BREEAM, a satisfying rating in view of the power usage involved in a cargo a satisfying rating in view of the power usage involved in a cargo warehouse operation. Electricity generation is supplemented to a significant extent by the placing of solar panels on the roof of the 31,000-square-metre building. “These last three cool elements give us the benchmark for years to come, so testing has been crucial.”

Better quality, faster service

The opening of the terminal will represent the culmination of a process launched in December 2013. The facilities are twice as big in terms of surface area as the previous warehouse, itself enlarged on three separate occasions during its 40-year history, but the improvement will be in terms of service quality as much as quantity and in the increased speed of operations. 

“We realised early on that we needed to update the entire Terminal and Cargo Management System (CMS), in response to the arrival of the new wide-body Airbus A350 aircraft into the fleet,” says Soinola. “Now we are in the situation where only some small pieces are missing from the puzzle. I am excited that we are at this stage. It’s always nice to have more time but we are on schedule. It’s a good feeling to be opening at a time of growth for Finnair and for Finnair Cargo.”

Text and photo by Tim Bird 

Published June 20, 2017

Category: Collaboration, Environment, Finnair Cargo, Corporate Responsibility