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26 November 2020, last update 22 November 2021

Inflatable ULD Earns VRR Place in Air Cargo Sustainability Awards 2020

Finalists for Air Cargo Sustainability Awards 2020 were announced on 5 November, and VRR is proud to be among three companies nominated for the Corporate Prize.


Launched last year by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), the awards ceremony celebrates and encourages creative solutions in the airfreight industry. It’s a chance to recognise outstanding businesses and industry initiatives. In 2020 TIACA is focussing on companies that are leading the way to more sustainable air cargo.

This year there are two prize categories, a Corporate one for established companies and a Start-up one for new and fast-growing small businesses. TIACA received 23 applications in total from a diverse group of companies. Their impressive solutions include carbon reduction, humanitarian aid, waste reduction and COVID-19 relief.

Helping the airfreight industry move forward

VRR’s application is the Air7 (AKE). It’s the first inflatable ULD in the world and is designed to address the efficiency and environmental issues of returning empty air cargo containers by plane.

There is currently an unwelcome imbalance in the global ULD fleet, and repositioning ULDs around the world to where they are needed is a constant headache for fleet managers. Many ULDs are flown back empty, taking up valuable loading space. Others are left to sit in storage at airports—space that is becoming increasingly limited.

The costs and delays associated with repositioning are considerable for leasing companies and transport integrators alike, but it’s also an environmental issue. The more space taken up by empty containers, the less room there is for loaded containers. The result is more flights than is necessary.

A ULD that combines practicality, creativity and sustainability

Our solution to both problems is a smaller, inflatable container that carries the same volume of cargo but takes up much less space when not in use. It’s not been easy. To create a ULD that is not only technically feasible but also economically viable and completely airworthy has already taken us around three years of blood, sweat and tears.

The Air5, the ULD’s prototype, actually won the Inter Airport Europe Excellence Award at last year’s Inter Airport Europe, so we have our fingers crossed that the judges of Air Cargo Sustainability Awards 2020 will honour the Air7.

Winners will be announced december 10th. 

Attending the digital conference in air cargo sustainability

Even if we’re not lucky enough to be awarded the Corporate Prize, we’ll still be attending the association’s digital conference. Ben Lakerveld, our sales manager, is representing us as a speaker on the Sustainability4Cargo panel. The session takes place on 2 December at 2-3:30PM CET (90 mins) and will include:

  • Overview of TIACA’s Sustainability Program achievements in 2020 and high-level results of the Sustainability Survey, presented by Céline Hourcade
  • Panel discussion on why sustainability is so important to the corporate strategy, with CHAMP’s Chris McDermott and the three finalists: Jettainer (Skypooling), Pelican BioTech and VRR. 
  • Live pitches by the shortlisted Start-up finalists: BeOn IoT, Nepal Flying Labs, and Drone Delivery Canada.

It promises to be an interesting conference, so we encourage you to join us. You can register at Sustainability4Cargo.




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