Volga-Dnepr Group’s AirBridgeCargo Airlines and ATRAN Airlines are seeing more than a three-fold increase in e-commerce volumes for the first nine months of 2020.
Over 75,000 tonnes of dedicated packages resulting from online purchases were delivered globally throughout the carriers’ networks onboard B747 and B737 freighters. The majority of this cargo volume emanated from three key trade lanes for the Group – Asia-Europe, Asia-North America, and Europe-Russia.
“The pandemic served as a trigger for the e-commerce sector and all the stakeholders needed to adjust quickly to the rapid changes and disruptions,” highlights Nikolay Glushnev, general director, AirBridgeCargo Airlines.
“Within AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Group, we introduced dedicated long-term charter programmes, which guaranteed capacity availability for our customers during these turbulent times and high-quality services.”
The upcoming series of online shopping days – Singles’ Day, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – will add to the growing volumes of cross-border international shipments, which the companies will leverage with 10 additional B747 charter flights in November from China to Russia and the extended number of B737 flights.
Vitaliy Andreev, general director of ATRAN Airlines, the carrier has been experiencing the emerging demand since September. Acting on market sentiment and the needs of its customers, ATRAN increased the number of Hangzhou (HGH) – Riga (RIX) – Moscow (SVO) frequencies from five to seven in September. It also introduced additional Hangzhou – Vladivostok (VVO) – Novosibirsk (OVB) flights from October.
“The right capacity and the right connectivity will allow us to further support our customers from the e-commerce sector which, thankfully, shows no signs of relenting,” Andreev adds.
To guarantee the biosafety of its services worldwide amid the pandemic, the Volga-Dnepr Group introduced clean service, which covers the disinfection of cargo and aircraft, PPE for all front-line personnel, regular medical checks, and COVID-19 testing. With special measures, which require additional investments, not only Volga-Dnepr fights with the pandemic spread through its services to deliver much-needed cargo but also eliminates the risks for virus spreading through its personnel.
While the e-commerce sector has been traditionally strong over the last several years, 2020 has only skyrocketed the number of cross-border shipments due to the pandemic situation, additional demand for high-tech products to equip ‘work-from-home’ environment, expansion of online solutions from brick and mortar retailers, and improvement of overall online shopping experience. On top of that, personal safety serves as another growth driver as consumers became more cautious and are reluctant to visit physical shops and prefer online shopping.
With this rise in e-commerce demand, the Group notes it continues working to enhance the customer’s digital journey by guaranteeing “flawless, timely and user-friendly communication”. This includes development of an IT Hub, an online booking tool to facilitate smooth ‘work-from-home’ processes for customers, website e-services for scheduling and track & trace, schedule updates through e-mail, and other settings based on individual customer needs.