The new state-of-the-art cargo handling terminal run by VG Cargo was officially christened during an impressive opening ceremony held in Hahn on the evening of 19 September. CargoForwarder Global was exclusively invited by the organizers to participate.
Guest of honor, Mrs Malu Dreyer, Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate State opened the proceedings with a moving speech on the importance of Hahn as an airport for the region and her thanks to
the owners of VG Cargo for investing further in the airport infrastructure.
It seems that she was particularly impressed with VG’s motto – “Together We Grow.”
She used this term in her speech to highlight the importance of how Hahn moves ahead particularly thanks to all concerned, be it airport management, the staff, regulatory bodies, or the state government officials.
Markus Bunk, Hahn’s CEO, in his speech also profusely thanked Nikolai Dinges, VG’s Managing Director, for the highly successful work and investment in the past years on the part of VG Cargo.
Half of the new warehouse extension was cordoned off and presented a party-like atmosphere for the more than 180 invited guests who celebrated the event throughout the whole evening. The brand new warehouse floor was covered with a dark blue carpet and round tables to seat guests for a tasty buffet dinner and to view an exciting acrobatic and magician show.
VG Cargo has been operating since 2002 in Hahn
They started with the handling of high value freight and the ground breaking ceremony for their first building was held in 2006. The facility became operational in 2007.
Since then things have moved pretty fast for VG.
The new extension now gives VG Cargo a total of 35,000 sqm of handling space along side 5,000 sqm of office space which is rented out to clients and official departments working at the airport.
Hahn has not had an easy time these past couple of years, but VG has insisted on following their plan to be the major player at the airport with regards to cargo handling.
Since Fraport quit the scene, there are two major players left.
VG Cargo and Hahn Cargo Services (HCS).
VG is by far the largest of the two, whereby HCS which has a total of 8,000 sqm of handling space, concentrates mainly on the handling of Silk Ways Airlines, who in turn are the major shareholder of HCS.
Despite being competitors, both outfits get on well and Robert Kurth, Manager of HCS commented as guest at the event, “we wish VG lots of good luck for their future development here at Hahn.”
Hahn turned over 150,000-plus tons of flown cargo during 2013, so by adding a further 15,000 sqm, VG is surely taking a (calculated) risk for the future.
By taking over the RFS cargo handling of Air France (see our other article in today’s edition) they have added a further 35,000 tons per annum to their load sheet.
However, a long way to go yet to fill the almost 380,000 tons of annual capacity on hand.
Building 860, as it’s called, offers truly state-of-the-art handling facilities with highly modern inhouse security systems, modern technology and so on.
VG are planning to install a new Pallet Transfer System (ETV) into their warehouse. This has been commissioned to the Korean company, Doosan Industrial along with planning help from ACS Advanced Cargo Handling Services plan to have the ETV with 120 positions which can hold up to 220 pallets ready by early 2015.
Dirk Gronemann - Managing Director of ACS Advanced Cargo Handling Services stated:
“We at ACS are proud to be part of VG’s further expansion with a new ETV system and are convinced that with these new systems many carriers may seriously think about using Hahn as a gateway in the future.”
On top of this, VG Cargo also opened a cargo facility earlier this year at Frankfurt-Main Airport in Cargo City South. This was to combine the advantages of both airports with regards to road feeder services. The FRA facility is also fully TAPA certified.
Michael Taweel, Communications Director of VG Cargo, with whom we also recorded a video interview, put it in a nutshell by saying “we have come a long way since 2006 where we handled 3,000 – 4,000 tons annually up to over 100,000 tons per annum today. We still have a lot to do and we lay high value on customer satisfaction.”
(For further information please click here to view our video with Michael.)
Final word from Ernst Zoerner - Air France Cargo Manager, Hahn:
“I wish VG much success for the future and although I am going into official retirement as from the end of this month, will surely continue to keep a keen eye of developments at Hahn airport.”
Please also read our two separate compilations of guest reactions to VG Cargo’s big opening ceremony.
John Mc Donagh / Heiner Siegmund