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Aircon’s ‘freight people building tech’ to optimize air cargo

Air cargo consolidation platform Aircon announced Monday it has closed on a $1 million pre-seed round led by Schematic Ventures to leverage shared airfreight gateways to reduce shipping costs, lower the risk of cargo damage and bring sustainability to air cargo operations.

The Dallas-based air cargo platform was founded in 2021 by Vice President of Operations Irl Wakefield, Vice President of Sales Reed Rivers, and CEO Chris Condon, who have a combined 56 years of experience in air transportation and global logistics.

They found they could consolidate small and midsize freight forwarders’ volumes from various gateways and use technology to find the best transit times and contract rates for air cargo shipments.

“While air cargo is one of the most exciting categories of freight transportation, it has yet to see the same level of innovation as the rest of the supply chain industry. Chris, Irl and Reed are building technology to achieve operational efficiencies that will change what air cargo means to the global supply chain. We were excited to lead Aircon’s pre-seed round and support their mission to transform the industry,” said Julian Counihan, general partner at Schematic Ventures.

Condon told FreightWaves that the Aircon AI platform will ingest shipment lane information and, based on contract agreements Aircon has with various gateways, the technology will find the lowest cost option that still facilitates on-time delivery.

“For example, if a small freight forwarder had 50 shipments going from Dallas, Texas, to London, if we can bundle other shipments and meet our density agreement with British Airways (BA) for a lower cost, the system will route those shipments through the BA agreement. If our Singapore airline agreement has more volume with those shipments and it lowers the cost further, it will go through Singapore Airlines,” Condon said.

Condon explained that not only does this shared gateway system bring down cost, it eliminates wasted dollars and time for both shippers and air cargo transporters.

“If you book an air cargo shipment and you don’t show up, the airline is still charging you. It is causing a huge issue as forwarders are booking more than what they have to make sure they have the capacity and now airlines are struggling to maximize their capacity when shipments don’t show up,” he said.

Aircon currently has five beta customers that have roughly $50 million worth of export airfreight from the U.S., and Condon is pleased with the technology that was built around the way air freight forwarders operate.

“We are making technology for them based on the way we know things work. We are freight people building tech,” he said. “It is reducing the time spent tracking and tracing, the time spent booking and receiving rates and it’s bringing the cost down through consolidation.”

With its pre-seed funding, Aircon wants to add solutions like door-to-door services, global gateway expansion over the next two to three years and continue to grow its AI technology.

Watch now: What effect could we see on air cargo from the Ukraine?

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