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Monday, March 14, 2011

Inside look at Swiss WorldCargo (SWC 4)


Ueli Meier, Cargo Contribution Optimizer

I have been working as a contribution optimiser in the Contribution Management unit of Swiss WorldCargo for about a year now. The objective of Contribution Management is to sell as much of the capacity of the aircraft belly as possible and thereby earn money for the company. Our daily work includes processing the requests from stations outside Zurich and planning the use of cargo capacity on long-haul aircraft, which involves calculating the remaining capacity still available on a specific flight. The stations abroad sell this capacity and enter their corresponding bookings in our IT platform SWX. Depending on the shipment’s element of specialisation, the booking is either automatically confirmed or subjected to a review to determine whether we can actually transport the shipment as booked. The evaluation process considers such factors as weight, volume, dimensions, rate, special cargo and available capacity, which collectively influence if and when the shipment can be transported aboard our flight.

In the case of the SFO aircraft model to be transported, we received a request from the Export office regarding cargo to Miami. Every effort is made to have the cargo transported on the desired flight. Because this particular case involves the transport of goods for internal purposes – the model aircraft is needed by our SWISS colleagues in the USA – this shipment can be accepted only if space is available. The transport of cargo for paying customers obviously takes priority.

The real action starts between 12 and 24 hours prior to departure. We recalculate the palette and container capacity for cargo and mail, check what has already been booked and allocate the necessary units to the respective shipments. The finalised cargo documentation is then sent to our handling agent, Cargologic, which then organises the actual loading on location.

I find my job very interesting and varied. Although the basic nature of the work is the same each day, no two days are alike. The biggest challenge is planning the flights in order to achieve maximum capacity utilisation so that our customers receive the service they have paid for. After all, this is the basis of our company’s success. Things can get pretty hectic whenever the weight of a flight has to be reduced on short notice, due to weather conditions for example. Some quick decision-making is then called for regarding how to best use the existing cargo capacity.

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