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Ukraine carrier cargo plane crashes in Greece

Eyewitnesses saw the plane in flames crash in a cornfield and explosions followed on Saturday evening, Xinhua news agency reported quoting the Greek media…reports Asian Lite News

A Ukrainian cargo plane with an eight-member crew on board crashed near Kavala city in northern Greece, Greek media reported.

The Antonov An-12 plane was on route from Serbia to Jordan as the pilot requested permission for an emergency landing and notified Greek authorities of failure in one of the engines, Greek national broadcaster ERT reported, citing sources from the Greek Civil Aviation Authority.

Eyewitnesses saw the plane in flames crash in a cornfield and explosions followed on Saturday evening, Xinhua news agency reported quoting the Greek media.

A rescue operation was still underway with special units of disaster personnel approaching the site with precaution, given the yet unconfirmed information that the plane carried 12 tons of cargo including ammunition, ERT reported, citing sources in local authorities.

Power cuts have been reported in communities near the crash site, as the plane cut electric power cables before the crash, it added.

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4,000 luxury cars sink in the Atlantic

A salvage team was able to board the ship over the last weekend but to no avail…reports Asian Lite News

Nearly 4,000 luxury cars like Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Volkswagen — along with several high-end electric vehicles — have sunk aboard a cargo ship in the Atlantic that caught fire last month.

Felicity Ace ship was carrying both electric and non-electric vehicles, and a fire broke out on the ship as it was travelling from Germany to the US, reports Insider.

While it’s unclear exactly what started the fire, captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas said lithium-ion batteries in EVs aboard the ship caught fire.

A salvage team was able to board the ship over the last weekend but to no avail.

The ship management company, MOL Ship Management Singapore, said the ship sank about 253 miles off the coast of the Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic that’s an autonomous region of Portugal.

All 22 crew members were evacuated from the ship and were safe.

“The 22 crew members did not need medical assistance on arrival, having been taken to a local hotel. The owner of the ship ‘Felicity Ace’ is in contact with the logistic agent in order to draw up a plan for the towing of the ship,” the navy had said.

The Felicity Ace ship was heading from Germany to a port in Rhode Island, the US when it issued distress signals this week.

According to, the electric vehicles may have been Audi E-tron Sportbacks.

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Etihad Cargo website gets a new-look

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of the Etihad Aviation Group, has revamped the portal to provide customers with a heightened and intuitive online experience…reports Asian Lite News

The new-look website includes the introduction of quicker booking processes and streamlined flows, a personalised dashboard, recommendations, and dynamic pricing.

Following customer feedback, the site also now incorporates a new dynamic map of the carrier’s global network which provides detailed information on Etihad Cargo teams and its global network outstation capabilities.

Migrating to a customer-centric platform has cut the time customers take to complete a booking from more than two minutes previously to less than 45 seconds, equating to only 12 clicks, compared 23 needed before.

New features such as requesting shipping quotes, booking ad-hoc prices which have been negotiated offline and booking shipments based on arrival timelines have been introduced to streamline the user experience. Customers will also have the ability to create and manage booking templates based on previous purchases.

MARTIN DREW, SVP SALES AND CARGO, ETIHAD AVIATION GROUP: “With a fresh look and feel incorporating key features requested by customers, the site’s entire user experience has been enriched to provide improved response time and functionality across customers’ booking journeys.”

ALSO READ: Etihad Cargo expands pharma sector to Africa

Etihad Cargo’s ongoing digital investment follows soaring online trade. The carrier registered 60 per cent growth over the past year and currently received 42.4 per cent of its booking online through its own portal and aggregators.

“The digital portfolio investment builds on the success of Etihad’s Cargo’s iCargo platform and underlines the commitment to become a leading digitised air cargo carrier that constantly innovates to sharpen the overall customer service value proposition,” Drew added.

The new Etihad Cargo platform represents a larger company-wide initiative to expand its digital portfolio to streamlining services for its customers. The initiative, which began in March 2020, saw the successful launch of a mobile app that enables anywhere, any-time tracking and real-time, on-the-go access to information including flight status.

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Etihad Cargo expands pharma sector to Africa

Etihad Cargo is committed to shipping and storing pharmaceuticals with passive packaging between main temperature ranges…reports Asian Lite News

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Aviation Group, has expanded its pharma sector reach into Africa with the signing of a Service Legal Agreement (SLA) with Astral Aviation and Kenya Airways to provide reliable and cost-effective airfreight solutions across the continent.

Operating a fleet of 14 freighters out of its Nairobi and Johannesburg hub, Astral Aviation services a network of 15 African destinations, which Etihad Cargo will leverage for increased vaccine distribution across Africa. Both carriers are members of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma.Aero, whose joint Project Sunrays initiative offers cross-industry collaboration for pharma shippers managing complex vaccine distribution logistics.

The SLA, a first Pharma Interline agreement, ensures Etihad Cargo partners are fully compliant with latest GDP and IATA Pharma regulations and standards, and guarantees processes, from booking to handling of such sensitive goods, are standardised and performed to the highest quality.

Etihad Cargo defined the steps and responsibilities of the SLA to ease the transfer between the two airlines, boost transparency and make sure pharma specific documentation, labelling and messaging are used and shared under a precise order and form.

MARTIN DREW, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT SALES AND CARGO, ETIHAD AVIATION GROUP: “In addition to significantly expanding Etihad Cargo’s reach across Africa, this inter-airline agreement ensures complete adherence to the specific requirements of pharmaceutical product transportation. Customers can be reassured that Etihad Cargo partners will expertly maintain cool chain integrity.”

Etihad Cargo is committed to shipping and storing pharmaceuticals with passive packaging between the main temperature ranges known as COL (+2 to +8°C), CRT (+15 to +25°C) and ERT (+2 to +25 °C).

“We are honoured to partner with Etihad Cargo and participate in the critical distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to and within Africa. The equitable access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa will be enhanced with the help of partnerships and collaborations within the aviation sector, such as the one enacted between Etihad Cargo and Astral, which will offer one-stop solution for the vaccines to and within Africa,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation.

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“Kenya Airways Cargo is excited to join Etihad Cargo in the HOPE Consortium initiative through providing logistical solutions in our home continent. With only 2.5 per cent of the African continent vaccinated against COVID-19, this will go a long way toward achieving the Africa Centre for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population by the end of 2022 which will result in. This is a fundamental need and pre-requisite toward aviation recovery in Africa,” commented Peter Musola, Head of Cargo Commercial at Kenya Airways.

With Etihad Cargo’s agreement with Kenya Airways and Astral Aviation providing a timely boost in Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a global logistics hub capable of facilitating vaccine distribution in Africa, which now covers 27 offline stations and four online stations, the partnership also enhances the capabilities of the Hope Consortium – the UAE capital-based private-public sector supply chain specialist which provides global COVID aid to the world.

“The World Health Organisation has recently reported that only 2.5 per cent of African citizens are vaccinated against COVID-19 and that millions more doses are required to meet even modest targets,” explained Drew. “Through Etihad Cargo’s ever-expanding portfolio of partnerships and collaborations, the HOPE Consortium can play a greater role in meeting vaccine demand.”

Since the pandemic, Etihad Cargo has carried almost 2,500 tonnes of pharmaceuticals to Africa, including 41 dedicated flights on behalf of the UAE government. The carrier currently services 72 network destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It’s fleet of 65 aircraft operate 430 weekly rotations, in addition to charter flights which service demand across non-network destinations.

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China’s Sichuan Airlines suspends cargo flights to India

The move may disrupt efforts by Indian private companies to import medical supplies including oxygen concentrators to fight the pandemic from China…reports Asian Lite News

In the wake of surge in Covid-19 cases, the largest cargo flight operator from China to India, the Chinese state-owned Sichuan Airlines has suspended its services to India for 15 days, media reported.

This was after China’s repeated offers of “support and assistance” to India to fight the second wave of pandemic. Sichuan Airlines operated 10 flights on six routes to four India cities comprising Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

According to Hindustan Times, it is likely to disrupt frantic efforts by Indian private companies to import medical supplies including oxygen concentrators to fight the pandemic from China.

In a letter to the sales agents on Monday, the Sichuan Chuanhang Logistics Co. Ltd, part of the Sichuan Airlines said the airline has suspended its cargo flights on all six routes – Xi’an-Delhi, Xi’an-Mumbai, Chengdu-Chennai, Chongqing-Chennai, Chengdu-Bangalore, and Chongqing-Delhi – for 15 days, it was reported.

The airlines said “…in the face of sudden changes in the epidemic situation (in India), in order to reduce the number of imported cases, it is decided” to suspend the flights.

Meanwhile, The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 11 new Covid-19 cases, all of which were imported, the National Health Commission said in its daily report on Tuesday.

Of them, five were reported in Sichuan, two in Guangdong and one each in Inner Mongolia, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Chongqing, Xinhua reported.

No new suspected cases or deaths related to Covid-19 were reported on Monday, the commission said.

Meanwhile, having lifted the ban on the supply of vaccine raw materials and Covid-fighting products for India, US President Joe Biden on Monday assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the US will work closely with India to fight the pandemic.

“The President pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases,” the White House said in a readout of their conversation.

“The two leaders resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities,” it said.

In a tweet, Modi called their conversation “fruitful” and said: “We discussed the evolving COVID situation in both countries in detail. I thanked President Biden for the support being provided by the United States to India.”

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Major ports waive-off oxygen cargo charges

The decision has been taken in view of the excessive requirement of oxygen and related equipment in the country….reports Asian Lite News

The government has directed all major ports to waive off all charges levied by the port trusts and to give priority to oxygen and related consignments for berthing.

The decision has been taken in view of the excessive requirement of oxygen and related equipment in the country.

“The Government of India has directed all Major Ports, including the Kamarajar Port Limited, to waive-off all charges levied by Major Port Trusts (including vessel related charges, storage charges etc.),” said an official statement.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has also asked the ports to accord highest priority in the berthing sequence to the vessels carrying consignments of medical grade oxygen, oxygen tanks, oxygen bottles, portable oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, steel pipes for manufacturing oxygen cylinders and associated equipment for the next three months, or until further orders.

Oxygen cylinders are stored at Kolkata Medical College Hospital during the increasing numbers of COVID 19 patients in Kolkata on April 23, 2021.(Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

The ministry also asked port chairpersons to personally supervise logistic operations to ensure unhindered movement of such consignments for berthing of such vessel on top priority in the port, unloading of oxygen related cargo, coordination with Customs and other authorities for speedy clearance and documentation and expeditious evacuation of oxygen related cargo from port.

In case the vessel is carrying other cargo or containers in addition to oxygen related cargo, waiver of charges on pro-rata basis, considering the overall cargo or containers handled at port, should be provided for oxygen related cargo to such vessels.

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The ministry will monitor the details of such vessels, cargo and time taken in the port from the time vessel entered in the port limits to exit of cargo from port gate.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to leading industrialists of the country, seeking their help in combating the second wave of Covid-19.

Oxygen cylinders

Kejriwal said that he would be grateful if the industrialists, involved in using or producing oxygen and can help with transporting oxygen in cryogenic tankers, come to Delhi’s assistance in its time of need.

He wrote that due to an unprecedented rise in the number of Covid cases in Delhi, it was falling woefully short of our oxygen requirements and asked for this request to be treated as an SOS.

Kejriwal wrote that Delhi did not produce any oxygen, and currently faces an acute shortage of oxygen.

He wrote that while the Central Government is helping Delhi in this regard, the intensity of the spread is so severe that the quantity is proving inadequate.

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