Officials from the container and pallet-pooling firm CHEP and its parent company Brambles have banded together with Unitpool, JMI Aerospace and Driessen Services to create CHEP Aerospace Solutions, a firm dedicated to the pooling and maintenance of ULDs.
Brambles recently acquired Unitpool and JMI, and officials announced during the Air Cargo Americas conference in Miami that their acquisition of Driessen will close during the next week.
By expanding CHEP’s ULD pooling program and creating an entire end-to-end service, CHEP Aerospace will be able to corner a market with huge growth potential, officials said. It all starts with buying entire ULD fleets from carrier clients, making these items available in scalable monthly increments and providing complete maintenance and service coverage.
“It’s a pleasure to introduce something completely new to the industry,” said Ludwig Bertsch, CHEP Aerospace’s president, during a press conference in Miami. This unique service, he added, is the result of careful planning and acquisitions that have been happening for the past 12 months.
By pooling, carriers will be able to easily upgrade to lightweight ULDs , which would be a significant financial undertaking should carriers go it alone. The firm’s David Harman estimated that a full fleet conversion for a large U.S. carrier could total somewhere in the $2 million-to-$3 million neighborhood. Most carriers, despite the cost savings, simply can’t commit to that kind of investment. That’s where CHEP Aerospace comes in, he said.
“We take away all the risk from the airlines and carry that ourselves, including the cost of repair, replacement, losses — that’s all carried by us,” Harman said.
These lightweight ULDs reduce fuel costs for the airlines, which will also tamp down costs when flying into Europe, should the European Union’s emissions trading scheme be implemented. Clients also will benefit from research CHEP Aerospace is currently undertaking into adding GPRS tracking to its containers.
An additional aspect of the service, Harman added, is spontaneity. Instead of being constrained by the ULDs a carrier has in stock, clients can rent new units needed for tricky one-time shipments on a short-term basis.
“These days,” he said, “creativity is a must for the airlines.”