Today I finally made time to write about some things about air freight logistics. The fact that I didn’t write before doesn’t mean how busy I am, but that I have been doing it for more than ten years. Suddenly I was asked to write it, and I didn’t know how to write it.
But without taking the first step, there will never be a second step or a third step. So, today is still the one I am most familiar with, let’s start writing some basic knowledge first. I hope it can give some inspiration to the newcomers so that they can get started more easily and understand the principles of air logistics more quickly. It also helped me to gradually sort out my own knowledge system. But it does not rule out that some content other than air freight will be sent. This…. it depends on the mood and the time.
Alright, so here we go. To understand air transport, we must first start with the aircraft. So, what do we usually say about wide-body machines and narrow-body machines? How do we define wide and narrow bodies?
There are several classification methods here. First, if it is a passenger aircraft, it has only one aisle, so we call it a narrow-body aircraft.
Oh sorry, I misplaced the picture, the above is the cabin picture of the privately contracted plane. The picture below is the cabin picture of the narrow-body aircraft.
If it is a model with two or more aisles, then we call it a wide-body machine.
Second, from the point of view of cargo aircraft, wide-body aircraft can be equipped with ULDs, and narrow-body aircraft cannot be equipped with ULDs. If we usually take the plane and make the window position, then when we wait for the plane to take off, it is possible to see someone loading goods under the plane. There are two forms of loading, or they are sent to the cabin with a conveyor belt, and then the goods are carried by hand. This is without a doubt a narrow body machine. Or, you’ll see a big car with a big platform in front of it, and people are standing on the platform and operating it. Then you will see that there is cargo being delivered from the ground to the lower cabin by this platform. This car is called a platform car, which is specially used to transport ULDs.
Well, this is a wide-body machine. Of course, there are also some special cargo transport aircraft, these are a separate category. Not a commercial model. For example, the famous “Beluga” is a transport aircraft, which was used to transport the parts of the A380 before. What is ULD? Don’t worry, we’ll talk about it later.
Third, from the perspective of models, narrow-body aircraft generally refers to B737, A320, A319, etc. The most common wide-body aircraft models are: B757, B777, B747, A380, A330, A300, etc.
Oh, here I want to popularize with you, what does the English letter in front of the model represent? In fact, that English letter refers to the manufacturer that made the aircraft. A stands for Airbus – Airbus France. The B stands for Boeing – The Boeing Company of America. I believe that my friends are not too unfamiliar with these two companies. Even if they have never sat, at least they have heard of them, right? Otherwise, I would not dare to say that I am doing air freight.
As mentioned above, we are going to talk about ULD. What is ULD? His full name is: Unit Load Device. As the name suggests, it is a device used to load goods. We call this type of device a “unit assembly”. So what’s the use of ULD? You can think about it, if the cargo is to be loaded on the plane, it must be fixed. If it is not fixed, it is easy to move when the plane is taking off and landing, or when there are bumps. When the cargo is moved, on the one hand, it may cause damage to the cargo, and on the other hand, it may cause damage to the inner wall of the cabin. Therefore, all cargo loaded on the plane must be secured. With the ULD, we can load the cargo into the ULD first, and then load the ULD onto the plane. There will be fixed clips on the aircraft floor to fix the ULD. So with ULD, you are not afraid of the goods flying around on the plane. Below are some pictures to give you a more intuitive understanding.
ULDs have naming conventions. Generally, it is three English letters + a string of numbers + the two-character code of the airline. Example: PMC12345678LH. Well, this is a PMC board from Lufthansa, the number of the board is 12345678.
Next, is the main event. What do the first three letters of ULD mean? Is it just a code? In fact, these three letters, each letter represents a meaning.
The first letter represents the type of this ULD. For example, in the example just now, the first English letter is P, which means that this is a pallet and a board (only the bottom plate is open on all sides). Similar to PAJ, PLA, PLF and so on. There are also A, which represents a box (with seals on all sides), which is what we usually call a container. Similar ULDs are: AKE, AKH, AMF, etc. M and A are the most common, but there are some that start with other letters, such as RKN, where R stands for Refrigerate, which means refrigeration, which means that this ULD has temperature control (including active temperature control and Passive temperature control, this topic will be mentioned in future articles). There is also HMJ, H stands for Horse, this ULD is specially used to transport horses.
The second letter represents the floor area of this ULD. For example, M stands for 244x318cm. If it is PMC, this is the 96-inch board we often say. Another example is that A stands for 223x318cm. If it is PAJ, this is the 88-inch board we often say. At this point, everyone may say, what age is it now, why not say metric units, but use feet and inches? Speaking of this, it is necessary to mention that logistics is an industry with a long history, which can be traced back to the former escort bureau. The escort also helps people transport goods. (So that’s why I look a little ruffian?) But that goes a long way…
The third letter represents the shape of the ULD, which is the applicable contour. For example, the C in PMC can make a C2 board and a Q7 board. This we will also have articles in the future that are written separately. After all, for air cargo, it is very important to know the shape of the board. Knowing the shape of the board can help us calculate costs and profits.
Well, let’s talk about the basic introductory knowledge of the first article. See you next time.