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Air Freight Logistics: Loading ULDs Efficiently

Air freight logistics has become more challenging over the past year. Like so many industries, it has needed to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances. While previously, much of the industry was B2B, it has increasingly become more business-to-consumer oriented. The freight industry has also needed to compensate for the loss of cargo space.

Previously, a lot of cargo was transported in passenger plane holds, but the decline in travel has led to commercial flight cancellations of around 50%. Airlines have adapted to the challenge, repurposing passenger planes to carry more freight. While some continued only to offer space in the hold, others have gone a step further, removing seats to carry more freight, but this means the freight must be packed directly into cartons rather than into Unit Load Devices or ULDs. Despite these adaptations, the lack of cargo space remains challenging, and air freight rates have increased significantly in response.

With increased freight costs, the need to optimize loads correctly and safely is even greater. MagicLogic has years of experience in air freight logistics, optimizing ULDs efficiently and safely, saving time and money.

Optimizing ULDs

ULDs are exceptionally tricky to load efficiently, as there are numerous variations in sizes and shapes; they are not rectangular and have cut-off corners or ceilings. The shape depends on where the ULD is to be loaded in the plane and the type of aircraft. Then there is the actual load to consider. Some cargo is pre-loaded into cartons or boxes, while other loads need to be built on open pallets. These pallets must be built to fit the contour of a specific ULD. Once built, they are secured in place by a net fitted around the rim of the pallet.


Following Loading Rules

If cartons are used, our software ensures they are packed correctly, protecting the cargo and ensuring it arrives in perfect condition. When pallets are loaded, it is important to ensure the weight of the cargo is not concentrated on a single pallet. Accurate load spreading is essential in making it easier to load the ULD, and to help balance the aircraft.

MagicLogic load optimization software follows the strictest and most complex loading rules, ensuring pallets or cartons are loaded safely and stably. Loading rules are fully customizable, including the orientation of each item and its allowed location in a load. This ensures a delicate item is never loaded on the bottom and that goods that require specialized handling are packed correctly. The software calculates an optimized pallet or carton’s weight, ensuring it does not exceed safe levels.

As the pandemic begins to ease with the introduction of vaccines, the airline industry will gradually return to normal, and the number of flights for passengers and cargo will increase. However, it could leave behind some fundamental changes to shopping habits. People have become accustomed to the convenience of purchasing goods online, changing air freight logistics for good.

Choosing the Best Load Optimization Software

Companies with limited loading of ULDs can use our Cube-IQ® software program. Those companies who routinely send large amounts of sir freight will benefit from our BlackBox® optimizer, which provides high-speed Cartonization and advanced mixed-palletization.

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