LH Cargo and ANA Reach Trailblazing Accord

The duo obtained antitrust immunity for air freight transports between Japan and Europe. Their liaison is the first worldwide cargo joint venture of its kind. Also this step is a clear message to the industry how intercontinental cargo carriage can be optimized.

Proactive naming of a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11F: “Konnichiwa” means “hello” in Japanese  /  source: LH Cargo
Proactive naming of a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11F: “Konnichiwa” means “hello” in Japanese / source: LH Cargo

What had been much talked about in the past couple of months has now become reality: Japanese leading airline ANA and Lufthansa Cargo, one of the world’s most innovative cargo carriers, have agreed on a closely knit pact. “Having reached this trailblazing solution is a milestone within our future strategy LH Cargo 2020,” enthuses speaker Michael Goentgens of LH Cargo when approached by CargoForwarder Global.


Based on a joint contract which shall be signed in the next couple of weeks, both carriers aim to introduce the joint approach originating from Japan to Europe presumably next December and for eastbound flown shipment from Europe to Japan on 1 April 2015, illustrated a source close to the case. “We decided on a two step approach beginning joint activities in Japan because the local market there is much more harmonized compared to the rather heterogeneous European situation,” explains Michael. 
The pact enables ANA and Lufthansa Cargo to jointly manage all activities covered by the agreement including network planning, pricing, sales and handling on all routes served between Japan and Europe.


Currently between 13,000 to 16,000 tons are flown out of Japan to EU destinations each month, depending on seasonal fluctuations. Lately, the market has shown a remarkably recovery, nearly 20 percent up this year in comparison to 2013.
Together, LH Cargo and ANA have a combined market share of 33 percent-plus on westbound flights from Japan to Europe.

ANA operates Boeing 787-8s on the daily served route Tokyo-Dusseldorf  /  source: DUS
ANA operates Boeing 787-8s on the daily served route Tokyo-Dusseldorf / source: DUS

In a press release LH Cargo points out that the joint venture will benefit customers by generating a greater selection of routings and a wider range of service options. “Clients will especially profit from a larger and faster network with more direct flights, more destinations and more frequencies."
Further, processes will be streamlined by the carrier’s moving under one roof at the airports Narita and Nagoya in Japan and Frankfurt and Dusseldorf in Germany. Once accomplished customers can expect an identical service offered by both airlines at a single location.
“First and foremost, it is important to streamline processes to offer the market an even better product and create synergies to the benefit of our clients,” notes Director Japan and Korea Michael Stoermer of LH Cargo.


This jv was now officially approved by the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport after ANA’s filing for antitrust immunity in spring 2014. In parallel, the pact has been positively assessed by external counsel for compliance with relevant EU antitrust regulations.
The ANA-LH Cargo joint venture will not be the last of its kind, assures Herr Goentgens. “Once this is running well we want to successively engage in more cooperations of this kind.” Which potential next partner his airline is targeting he doesn’t reveal.


Heiner Siegmund

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