Air Freight News

New nerve center boosts Hactl efficiency and resilience

Dec 07, 2021

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) – Hong Kong’s largest independent air cargo handler – has opened its revolutionary new Integrated Hactl Control Centre (iHCC), creating a single command centre that is manned 24/7/365.

The iHCC centralises operations control, systems control and maintenance control for the first time, with duty managers able to monitor the entire SuperTerminal 1 facility – from traffic management at its truck parks through the many different functional areas of the terminal, to cargo dispatch activities at the airside area.

Before the opening of the iHCC, monitoring and controlling functions were decentralised to the individual Operations, Engineering and Facilities Services, and Information Services departments, which created a time lag in data collection and sharing.

The iHCC provides comprehensive real time data, and workload forecasts for the coming eight hours, enabling instant adjustments to be made to staffing and resources to cope with any unexpected workload peaks.

The iHCC also serves as a fully-integrated emergency centre, facilitating the involvement of the crisis management team, and coordinating actions across all departments, to ensure effective decision-making and proactive responses to crises. The Centre’s concept is similar to the emergency centres now found in many airlines and major airports around the world.

Says Executive Director – Operations, Paul Cheng: “iHCC provides totally-comprehensive, accurate and instantaneous information on every aspect of Hactl’s giant operation; this is available to those managers with the required access rights, providing them with an holistic view of operational status of both cargo and flights.

“Not only does this enable us to run our everyday operations at a new level of efficiency, it means we can forecast potential problems before they create issues. That places us in a better position to cope with every kind of potential emergency – including any future pandemic or similar large-scale crisis.”

The new iHCC is equipped with a variety of state-of-the-art systems and equipment to keep SuperTerminal 1 running smoothly and seamlessly. COSAC-Plus, Hactl’s self-developed cargo management system, connects all air cargo stakeholders such as government bodies, airlines and freighter forwarders, and processes around one million data transactions every day. Newly-developed dashboards provide real time data and workload forecasts on all facets of operations.

There is also a comprehensive 3D Schematic Display System, which graphically shows the position of all cargo and equipment in the terminal’s cargo handling systems; clicking on any ULD or box displays its details and status.

In addition, iHCC is equipped with a CCTV monitoring system covering all 1000+ cameras located throughout the terminal. Meanwhile, a flight tracking system assists in predicting aircraft arrivals, and a unit-building monitoring system shows the progress of building and breakdown of units at the terminal’s 466 workstations. AI-based workload forecasting assists managers in making more informed and consistent decisions, removing possible anomalies caused by variations in managers’ experience.

Continues Cheng: “The current capacity crunch in the air cargo industry has led to a surge in ad-hoc charter freighters and ‘preighters’. Airlines demand more agility and sustainability in ground handling to support their businesses, with more short-notice flights, later cargo cut-off times, last-minute manifest changes and shorter turnaround times driven by crew schedule changes.”

One area in which iHCC is already proving its value is dealing with the problem of empty containers taking up storage locations in Hactl’s Container Storage System, due to severely-reduced passenger flight frequencies. Adds Cheng: “By means of real time data, our iHCC duty manager can effectively coordinate across departments to address this issue and make decisions ahead of time.”

He concludes: “The iHCC perfectly fits the more demanding air cargo industry scenario of today, and ensures customer requirements are handled in an effective and efficient manner.”

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