Autumn 2023

Fast but cost effective: air cargo’s elusive hybrid solution for e-commerce logistics

Boris Hueske (left) and Nikola Todic

Boris Hueske and Nikola Todic took over in February as joint managing directors of Heyworld, which began in 2017 as an internal e-commerce project within Lufthansa Cargo, but since 2019 has been a wholly owned subsidiary. The focus is on transport solutions for online retailers, digital marketplaces and freight forwarders, mostly using the Lufthansa group’s medium- and long-haul network. The service is based on a modular product – offering fast and reliable connections with short transit times and customs clearance. The portfolio includes end-to-end shipment tracking and parcel-based pricing.

Heyworld aims to simplify and digitalise cross-border e-commerce logistics by orchestrating all the providers along the end-to-end air logistics supply chain, offering a one-stop-shop solution, as “a digital forwarder” – the elusive, hybrid, ‘virtual integrator’ service air cargo stakeholders have been promising for some time as a solution for e-commerce customers: “faster than mail and more price-efficient than express services”.

It is one of the first air cargo carriers to offer an end-to-end e-commerce solution, including first-mile collection, export customs clearance, handling at origin airports, transport services, handling at destination airports, import customs clearance, distribution centre operations, last-mile deliveries via partner carriers, and returns logistics services. Heyworld’s emphasis is on logistics services for B2C shipments – something that airlines’ main cargo operations are not specialised in or adapted for, Todic says, describing it as “a completely different business”.

Ashwin Bhat, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, notes: “Against the background of the continuing high demand for customised e-commerce and same-day offers, our goal is to align our increased freight capacities in the medium- and long-haul network even more closely with the services of Heyworld and to make them even more attractive for our customers.”