Lufthansa Cargo – A Modern Day Noah’s Ark

Tracey Pearce-Dawson    October 28, 2014


Organization: Lufthansa Cargo

Industry: Cargo Airline

My husband and I have two dogs and like many dog-owners they’re more than pets to us, they’re our family. Every once-in-a-while Kevin (my husband) and I will engage in a ‘what if’ conversation when it comes to whether or not we would ever transport our furry children via air.

On occasion a horror story hits the media involving a sad ending to what was supposed to be the beginning of a new adventure for a beloved pet. But there are also some amazing stories and a number of them reside with Lufthansa Cargo.

When it comes to cargo carriers, Lufthansa Cargo is one of the world’s leading providers. Based in Frankfurt the cargo airline has flights all over the Middle East, Asia, and North and South America. In 2013 alone the airline transported approximately 1.7 million tonnes of freight and mail. With approximately 4,600 employees worldwide, Lufthansa Cargo focuses on the airport-to-airport business, serving around 300 destinations in almost 100 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, and an extensive road feeder service network.

What’s interesting about Lufthansa Cargo is not so much the amount of what it transports (while undoubtedly impressive) – it’s what they transport as one of their special services that caught my attention – such as 8,000 pigs.

Okay, while Miss Piggy may not have been placed in cargo hold, rhinos, hippos, lions, bears, entire herds of cattle and horses are not uncommon items included on a Lufthansa Cargo manifest. However, the main customers for transport are dogs and cats. In fact, approximately 15,000 were flown on Lufthansa Cargo last year alone.

“The Animal Lounge offers accommodations suitable for a wide variety of animals. We can transport almost anything,” said Axel Heitmann, Director of the Lufthansa Cargo Animal Lounge.

But what if you’re not on the flight with your precious cargo? Lufthansa Cargo offers an online eServices tracking platform called TrackIT 24/7 so you can follow their status. Three different tracking options are offered: General TrackIT, Personalized TrackIT and eMail TrackIT. eMail TrackIT appears to be the most proactive of the three – providing an immediate email notification of the current status of your shipment for each airway bill number entered.

Through their eFreight platform the carrier is looking to fully digitize the supply chain by replacing the traditional paper documents that have been used for years in the transportation sector and replace them with standardized electronic messages and regulated data exchange. The end result is a more simplified process, with information that is immediately available, not to mention a significant reduction of paper-waste, a win for the environment as well.

While the carrier also uses Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help address customers with tracing and tracking enquiries, Lufthansa Cargo was the first to provide customers with the industry’s first-ever tracking app for smartphones. The free app enables customers to track the status of their shipments at any time when used on Blackberry, iPhone and Android devices.

Now, Lufthansa Cargo isn’t the only carrier in town offering pet relocation services. If looking for a more local provider there are a number of options as shared in the following interview with Pilots N Paws, an organization of volunteer pilots and plane owners who assist in transporting shelter pets to their new homes.

Lessons Learned:

  • Social media is becoming a more widely adopted means of communicating with customers on the status of their shipment but is not used on the same level as marketing and public relations purposes (yet).
  • Social media can provide companies with more timely and insightful information about emerging risks and events, enabling them to make corrective action sooner and preventing, or minimizing, the impact of a supply chain disruption.

Web References:

Lufthansa Cargo

Pack People

Pallet Central

Pet Travel

Submitted By: Tracey Pearce-Dawson, SMBP student, University of Waterloo

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