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Dynamic workforces of the future

Logistic companies are eager to work with trained candidates. Tumoohi, a training program, provides mentoring from highly experienced industry professionals and practical training for problem-solving and developing other soft skills.

Abigail Mathias

The cargo industry is both challenging and immersive. To streamline processes, candidates are required to show resilience and a positive attitude.

Aspiring Emirati professionals are offered an opportunity to work with the UAE’s biggest private sector firms through DP World’s training initiative Tumoohi. The programme is a training initiative launched in 2016, to contribute to the UAE government’s efforts to enable Emirati youth.

It provides mentoring from highly experienced industry professionals and practical training for problem-solving and developing other soft skills. As part of the programme, 16 graduates now work with Maersk as apprentices.

The internship gives trainees an opportunity to enhance their skills through hands-on experience, with the flexibility to explore career options in customer services, human resources, sales, and supply chain. It also allows them to network with professionals working in one of the largest integrated logistics companies in the world.

Next generation

Tumoohi not only offers young Emirati graduates an opportunity to develop their skills, but also gain experience by working on projects in Jafza, DP World’s flagship trade and the logistics hub in Jebel Ali. Since the launch of the initiative, a total of 251 Emiratis joined the programme, with more than 138 apprentices being offered full-time jobs in more than 60 entities.

Another graduate, Abdulrahman AlJouhi, who studied Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), said, “The program has equipped me to take on new challenges and experience first-hand the breadth and magnitude of logistics industry. For me, the purpose of this internship was not only to understand how the industry works, but also to enhance my skills and work with entities that have made a difference in the world of trade.”

Amna Alketbi, who studied Electrical Engineering at Khalifa University sharing her experience, said, “It has always been my dream to work in an organization such as Maersk, which has a global reach. This was made possible due to the opportunity provided by the Tumoohi programme. The experience of working in Maersk has given my given confidence an impetus and has expanded my knowledge about the industry.”

The training initiative extends from six to 12 months, during which the trainee receives monthly incentives, the possibility of employment in companies according to merit, and available vacancies, as the programme aims to provide vocational training for Emirati graduates in the private sector.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) training program aims to upskill the air cargo professionals, including airlines, airport operators, ground handlers, logistics service providers, shippers, freight forwarders and regulators.

The Safe Supply Chain course is a joint training proposed by TIACA and ICAO and developed by SASI. It provides the entities in the air and mail cargo supply chain with the know-how and skills to work together effectively to ensure that cargo is handled appropriately in a safe and efficient manner within the ICAO’s regulatory framework. The course also addresses the ‘what causes’ and ‘why it could impact’ the supply chain’s safety through an understanding of the global market and supply chain trends.

Intensive programme

Closer home the second edition of the International Pharma Logistics Masterclass (IPLM) took place at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi this September. 120 participants gathered for a five-day intensive programme of presentations, debates and practical workshops focused on key challenges for pharma logistics and pharma supply chains.

This year’s edition is a unique international joint initiative organized by the HOPE Consortium, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the University of Antwerp and Pharma.Aero. His Excellency Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, said, “With the ongoing support of the UAE’s wise directives, the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi along with its prestigious partners have been able to reiterate the Emirates’ position as a leading destination for healthcare, life sciences and innovation. Through the establishment of the HOPE Consortium, we have been able to resolve some of the most prominent challenges related to vaccines distribution and logistics. We are proud to have contributed to the safety and wellbeing of the global community through this unique pharma air corridor designed in line with international standards and best practices.”

“We are glad to host the second edition of the International Pharma Logistics Masterclass and welcome a big group of experts and pharma gurus here in Abu Dhabi. Our role as the regulator of the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi includes facilitating similar events that make room for knowledge and experience sharing—a crucial element to the advancement of healthcare, and any other sector.”

Thomas Schürmann, Head of Cargo Operations & Delivery – Etihad Cargo offers insights on cargo handling

What are some of the procedures that Etihad Cargo has initiated this year to ensure a smooth transition from non tech to tech-based systems?

As part of Etihad Cargo’s ongoing digitalisation journey that we began back in 2018, we have implemented many initiatives and processes to ensure a smooth transition from non-technological to technology-based systems. In 2022, we have been working on a Proof of Concept (PoC) utilising computer vision and artificial technology (AI) to help ground handlers calculate cargo dimensions. Back in 2021, we signed a (PoC) agreement with SPEEDCARGO for automated dimension and volume scanning. Upon successful completion of the PoC and trials, these digital solutions will become practical tools for minimizing leaking and optimizing offload recovery.

Traditionally, cargo dimensions are measured manually, following a set of universal guidelines. Etihad Cargo will replace this manual method with AI technology to build fully automated 3D load plans and ensure consistent and accurate values are utilized during loading and offloading. Additionally, replacing the manual process of preparing load plans with an automated AI-driven process will enable us to make maximum use of available cargo capacity. While each load plan takes approximately 30 minutes to prepare manually, we will reduce this to one minute through automation, making the entire process more efficient in terms of capacity and time spent.

Etihad Cargo is providing ground handlers with the technology and giving them practical tools and training to show them how to build up cargo for loading step-by-step, which will make the process more efficient and reduce human errors.

We are also using robotic process automation (RPA) to automate manual labour processes to achieve further efficiencies. Additionally, we are incorporating technology and sustainability to enhance our products. For example, in our latest step to make the transportation of pharmaceuticals more sustainable, we entered a MoU with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the world’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled container.

These containers utilize passive cooling technology, enabling them to retain temperatures from —80 to 25°C for up to five days with no external power source. The units will significantly reduce carbon emissions, while ensuring pharmaceuticals are transported safely at the required temperature. Trials of the sustainable container units will commence shortly, and a commercial launch date will be announced following the successful completion of the trials.

What are some of the advantages of using tech when handling air cargo data/property? What is the advantage you feel Etihad Cargo has over others?

Technology enables us to efficiently process and analyse large quantities of data to generate reports and dashboards, enhancing visibility and transparency for us and our customers. At Etihad Cargo, we receive a huge volume of data daily, which is loaded into our cargo data lake. We use Microsoft Power BI to process and transform this data to generate business intelligence reports, which our operational teams use to identify any issues. Using this information, we can communicate with stakeholders, and act wherever required and improve our processes.

Effectively gathering, processing, and analysing data has enabled Etihad Cargo to improve operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction, as we can quickly identify trends and issues down to the airport level in real-time.

When it comes to hiring people, is the role of a cargo supply chain student more tech-based than application-based today?

While having a tech or supply chain background may help new hires to integrate into the organization quickly, but it is not mandatory. When Etihad Cargo is hiring, we place emphasis on finding people who have the right attitude, are open to self-learning. Every carrier has its own processes and applications, which may be commercially available or developed in-house, so there will always be a learning curve for new hires. We have comprehensive learning and development programs. If one is excited to join Etihad Cargo, this is a great place to start.


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