LH Cargo takes OPEX to Heart

How to realize a vision to enhance competitiveness and secure the future – by going for the big bang or paving the way for a more promising tomorrow step by step? LH Cargo opted for the latter by implementing an Operational Excellence – OPEX – called program. How far reaching the many projects have gone and what still lies ahead was demonstrated to the freight airline’s own staff last week at its cargo center in Frankfurt. CargoForwarder Global was invited to join the different presentations and speak to the many drivers of the OPEX projects.

Danica Waitkus (standing right at front table) and her team gave insights into INCA – a software application developed for handling processes  /  source: hs
Danica Waitkus (standing right at front table) and her team gave insights into INCA – a software application developed for handling processes / source: hs

Meanwhile, OPEX has become a core element of the carrier’s master plan named “Lufthansa Cargo 2020.” Matthias Eberle, LH Cargo’s Head of Communication got right to the heart of the matter: “There is an incredible dedication and enthusiasm within our staff to push OPEX forward.” What had started at the beginning of this decade as a tender plant has gained great momentum ever since and become a mission for many staff and they have taken it to the heart.


The concept includes dozens of different steps to make the carrier fit for a promising future. The basic idea behind all initiatives is a magic triangle, illustrated Executive Board Member Karl-Rudolf Rupprecht, consisting of the three pillars “efficiency, quality, and profitability.”

Dozens of teams presented their individual OPEX solutions.
Dozens of teams presented their individual OPEX solutions.

Light weights are on the advance
At the carrier’s next station light weight containers were displayed. LH Cargo decided to abandon all aluminum-built ULDs and utilize a unanimous fleet of transport boxes consisting of bonded fibre laminates. “They are much lighter compared to the old ones which will help us saving fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Ground Handling Chief Seiraffi. This he said while in his back a working group explained the functions of a brand new cool container developed and provided by producer Dokasch.


Recycling materials was another station that presented some impressing figures. According to data, hundreds of tons of plastic, wood or paper were returned into the production process last year as result of consistent waste separation.

Cargo doctors Karl-Rudolf Rupprecht (left) and Mohammad Seiraffi
Cargo doctors Karl-Rudolf Rupprecht (left) and Mohammad Seiraffi

Electronic car plate recognition system
Of utmost use will also be a new traffic management system that enables the precise coordination of trucks from passing the gates of Rhine-Main airport to the carrier’s cargo center. Through cameras mounted at various places within the airport the license plates of the vehicles can be read off. Once done, the trucks or sprinters can be directed to the warehouse ramp for unloading their goods or to a parking lot, depending on urgency and available of docking positions. This way, LH Cargo expects to better coordinate the traffic flow and the utilization of the gates at its Lufthansa Cargo Center.


For trucking firms, this announcement of Board member Rupprecht might come as a minor shock: “Vehicles that use our parking space for a longer time will have to pay a fee in future.” How much this will be he didn’t reveal. But the times for free parking trucks at Lufthansa Cargo’s facilities at FRA airport for hours and hours seem to be over soon.


Heiner Siegmund

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