Newsletter no 34 – September 2020


Newsletter no 34 – September 2020

Newsletter no 34 – September 2020

Had it not been for COVID-19, this week we would have been gathering in Vienna for the annual ULD CARE conference. Sadly, this is not the case and instead we are witnessing extraordinarily challenging times for the airline industry, which seems to be hurting particularly badly under the current circumstances.

In the absence of face-to-face meetings, ULD CARE has been focusing its efforts on the development of new technology that can change the way ULD carries out its operations. In this regard, we are very pleased to share the news on these developments in this newsletter.

As the trade association for the ULD community, ULD CARE has a number of deliverables and initiatives:

Deliverables & initiatives


ULD CARE shall continually direct its membership and other resources towards:
  • Waste elimination and efficiency improvement in ULD operations
  • Risk management in ULD operations
  • Use and adaptation of new technologies in ULD operations
  • Global standardization of ULD regulatory and operational practices


In support of the ULD CARE deliverables and in consultation with the membership, the Board will, on an ongoing basis:

  • Evaluate industry needs
  • Formulate suitable responses to these needs
  • Facilitate actions to support these responses
  • Promote industry-wide acceptance of new practices and procedures

These initiatives guide us in our choices on how best to direct our energy and our financial resources.

Over the years, we have all too often become frustrated in our ambitions of driving change due to the lack or high cost of suitable technology. The result has been that key areas such as tracking ULD custody transfers and the knowledge of the many parties who engage with ULD in their day-to-day operations have seen very little change since the inauguration of ULD in the 1970s.

There is no question that when the industry emerges from the current situation, improving efficiencies and reducing waste will be more important than ever and one thing is certain: a considerable amount of waste is created in ULD operations.

Had we all been gathered in Vienna, there is a very good chance that the conference title would have included the word “technology” and you would have heard about these developments first-hand. Because this wasn’t an option, we hope that this newsletter will keep you informed as to the direction we are taking and why ULD CARE remains relevant to our industry in these trying times.

Read more here about our initiatives in the block chain transformation for the interlining IULDUG system, and in the application of virtual reality to ULD training.

Virtual Reality

In our last newsletter, we provided some insight into the possibilities arising from the rapidly developing image capture and machine learning technologies. We are very pleased to announce that Hong Kong company Virtual Reality not only took part in the recent IATA-sponsored Hackathon in support of their ONE Record initiative, but was one of the winners as well. More details on the event in general and Virtual Reality’s submission can be found at One Record and here. For those not familiar with Hackathons, they are events used to gather a group, mainly consisting of IT experts, for a short but intense period of time (48 hours in this case). Their goal is to address a particular challenge and come up with the basics of a working solution. As there had already been some interaction between Virtual Reality and ULD CARE, the team already had a good idea of the deficiencies in managing ULD asset transfers between parties. They could also see how their technology could provide a solution.

It is particularly interesting that once again ULD has made the top of the list of innovation awards. If we take a look back at the IATA World Cargo Symposium in 2018 in Singapore, all three finalists brought technology to ULD operations. We are once again seeing a ULD-related innovation being selected as a prizewinner. Congratulations to Virtual Reality on this achievement.


By the time you read this, Frits Roukens of KLM Will have completed his last day at the office. He officially retires at the end of the year but is using up his accumulated leave in the meantime… Good for him! A few weeks ago I recorded an online interview with Frits which you can watch on uldcare.com. I am sure you will all join me in wishing Frits a very happy retirement, as he has been a pillar at our annual meetings for a many years. He has notified me that his KLM email address will remain active until the end of the year.

As for moves, which is no doubt a sign of the times, Jimmy Gaylor of Delta notified me about one month ago that he has decided to move on from Delta. Ronnie Alam of AA, and of course one of our directors, has been reassigned within AA and therefore must reluctantly withdraw from the ULD community.

We also take this opportunity to welcome some new names: Glendyr Conradie at NZ is taking over the ULD portion of John Van Gessel’s responsibilities, Cameron Richardson at DL is taking over for Jimmy Gaylor, and Lee Conolly is taking the ULD reins at Virgin Atlantic, where Dawn Horrod has moved to a different area.

These are indeed very challenging times for everyone and particularly for those of us involved in the aviation industry, which seems be struggling significantly. However, despite this context, we are pleased to inform you that ULD CARE seems to be weathering the storm successfully. We thank all those who have already paid their annual subscriptions and we encourage those who have not yet done so to make their payments as well. We are fortunate to have very few fixed overhead costs and have therefore been able to secure our financial stability. We are very confident that we will emerge from the current situation stronger than ever and equipped to support the needs of the ULD community.

You may enjoy taking a few minutes to look over the photos from last year’s conference in Montréal, just to remind you of how things have been and will be in the future. See the photo gallery here. Stay safe!

ULD Explained


Great News!

Great News!