ACL Airshop: global expansion and investment in tech is on the cards

ACL Airshop, a steadily growing leader in products and services for the global air cargo and airlines industry, is announcing additional worldwide expansion plans in a press briefing at the annual IATA World Cargo Symposium in Dallas, Texas on March 13-15, 2018.

Over the past 35 years, ACL Airshop has become a leading worldwide one-stop shop for leasing, sales, repair and fleet control of Unit Load Devices (“ULDs”) and cargo control products manufacturing for the aviation industry. Today the company operates around the world on six continents, at nearly all of the world’s Top 50 air cargo hub airports.

One of the unique aspects of the company’s offerings is short-term rentals and leasing solutions for airlines’ cargo products requirements—that is where ACL Airshop has made its strongest reputation for Custom ULD Solutions.

Some fast headlines covering the past two brisk years since ACL Airshop was strongly recapitalized by Ranger Aerospace and four other large institutional co-investors are described by Chairman & CEO Steve Townes:

Doubled the geographic footprint. “We have grown from 25 airport stations to 48 in 24 months. More growth is one the way.”

Dramatic increase in internal ULD investments. “Each year we have doubled our historical internal capital spending rates, to grow more ULD fleet for the over-200 airlines that we serve. We’re even adding to our fleet of Horse Boxes. That pace will continue for all our ULD types, indeed increase.”

Technology enhancements. “ULD Control, bar-coding, a new Global Operations Center, and real-time tracking capabilities are prime examples of listening to clients’ needs and making good things happen on their behalf.”

Bluetooth worldwide innovations. “This is a game-changer. We are first-to-market with our partners at CORE Transport Technologies for Bluetooth innovations in the air cargo segment. Watch for acceleration!”

Logistics upgrades. “It wasn’t enough for us to just throw more capital at our steadily growing ULD fleets. We also have added multiple layers of logistics management programs to improve our own utilization rates and better deployment methods. That all spells better customer service and availability for airlines.”

Additional repair stations. “This is a strategic need in support of our own ULD fleets and those of our customers. We are adding well-equipped, expertly-staffed repair centers at key hubs, whilst also expanding our large network of repair partners at many other locations. Plus, we’re adding new Repair Software and advanced work procedures at all of our global repair sites.”

Manufacturing and sourcing expansions. “A few years ago we manufactured in S. Carolina, plus a partnermanufacturer in Germany. We have doubled our sourcing in 24 months, to now include China and Taiwan. We are also investing in a brand-new Factory in S. Carolina, with ground-breaking expected in June of this year.”

Facility improvements. “We are beefing-up our gateway locations on all fronts. JFK, MIA, LAX, AMS, HKG, NRT, BOG are just a few examples. Customers are seeing these deliberate improvements and applauding our client-centered investments. Our well-trained workforce comes to work every day enthused and motivated. We recently won an award for ‘Best Places to Work’ in one of our major locations.”

Branding and Customer Communications. “Starting at the IATA World Cargo Symposium last year, we have totally rebranded our company, enhanced our communications and services with customers, and raised our industry profile. Our market leadership is now well-known. We are on the march!”

Strong capital capabilities for accelerated growth. “With four large institutional co-investors alongside Ranger Aerospace, plus heavy ownership by Senior Management, ACL Airshop enjoys its strongest capitalization in its entire 35 years history. We have incredible support for growth, aimed at continuously improving our services to customers and our principled stewardship for employees. We are truly creating a legacy-quality enterprise.”

The five Key Leaders for each segment of ACL Airshop’s worldwide business made the following strong statements:

Jos Jacobsen – Managing Director of Europe, Global Leasing, and Chief Technology Officer: “In the past five years, we have expanded across 6 continents. Now we are adding logistics sophistication and effective new technologies for our customers. And the large new investment in a global Operations Center in Amsterdam is making a huge difference in our speed and efficiency.”

Wes Tucker – Executive VP, Manufacturing and Bluetooth Programs: “Our customers said they needed real-time tracking on ULD’s. We heard their message and teamed with CORE from New Zealand. We are now rolling out Bluetooth in a big way with multiple airlines. Plus, we are building a new cargo products factory in South Carolina, whilst expanding our manufacturing partners sourcing in Germany, China, and Taiwan.”

John Stewart – Executive VP, North & South America and Global Repair Stations: “We are expanding strategically throughout Latin America, whilst beefing-up selected operations in North America. We have new or refurbished gateway facilities at Bogota, JFK, and Miami. LAX and ORD are next on the expansion list for existing facilities that require more capabilities. Our growth investments in larger quantities of ULD’s are unprecedented. Customers tell us they are enthused about how we are growing for them.”

Pieter van Calcar – Managing Director, Asia-Pacific Region: “The Asia-Pacific region is showing the fastest strategic growth for the global air cargo market. We are growing with it aggressively. 5 years ago, we had one station at Hong Kong. We’ve recently opened our twelfth station in the region, Incheon Korea, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok as our newest. We are also developing our first footholds in India. This will be another year of good growth for our many clients in this exciting part of the world market.”

Maurice van Terheijden – Managing Director, Middle East & Africa: “We are rolling out Bluetooth for a major airline of Eurasia, adding capacity to our repair station operations, integrating ULD Control logistics efficiencies and bar-coding across many segments, and performing with speed, quality, and cost advantages for our airlines and air cargo clients.”

For 2018 and beyond, the Company will keep ramping-up its hub investments around the world. At the IATA symposium, the company is also announcing its 35th Anniversary since original founding. ACL Airshop recently opened its 48th airport service location, in Thailand. This year, the growth will include at least 6 new service hubs, plus 3 new Repair Stations in Bogota, Hong Kong, and Liege. Hong Kong is the #1 largest air cargo airport in the world. Bogotais the #1 busiest cargo airport in all of Latin America. Liege will be an important sister operation on continental Europe, teamed with our international head office near Schiphol Airport Amsterdam.

Steve Townes, Chairman of ACL Airshop, added: “Growing our network is a customer-driven strategy. We listened to our airlines and air cargo clients, responding to their requirements. We are building a larger footprint. It makes us an even better partner for our airline clients. We are adding new technologies to be a better logistics partner, not least of which is real-time ULD tracking with Bluetooth tags and readers. We are plowing many millions of growth dollars into ACL Airshop each year, and the results show it’s working very well. We will expand to a significant majority of the world’s Top 100 air cargo airports in the coming years.”

“Our customers have said GROW THE NETWORK. We will replicate our footprint at 75 or more global locations while maintaining the highest standards in quality and service to our clients and partners. We make our customers measurably more efficient; saving them time and money.

Fast, effective customer service is one of our legacy hallmarks as a vibrant, nimble worldwide organization of entrepreneurs. Our expansion strategy is deliberate and well-capitalized. We are cementing our reputation as the strongest niche leader for Custom ULD Solutions in the world.”

ACL Airshop intends to invest for growth in each of its lines of business and expand geographically to keep pace with rising industry trends.

The headquarters is Greenville, SC, and the main international office is Amsterdam, NL. Ranger’s plan is to enhance and expand ACL Airshop through strategic investments and organic growth, entering new lines of technical capacity, launching Bluetooth innovations and other differentiators for customers, fostering deep operational improvements, expanding geographically, and possibly acquiring complementary companies.