Cargolux Hooks up with Swissport

Both companies have signed an agreement aimed at entering into a global strategic partnership. Beginning in January, ground handling agent Swissport will become Cargolux’s preferred supplier to provide the carrier with cargo and ramp handling services at selected airports.

Standardizing processes stands on top of our agenda, states Swissport’s Rudolf Steiner  /  company courtesy
Standardizing processes stands on top of our agenda, states Swissport’s Rudolf Steiner / company courtesy

The pact will be kicked off in Dusseldorf and Brussels. These two airports will be the initial ones at which Swissport starts conducting its ground handling services for CV. Interestingly, both are offline stations from which the locally consolidated shipments have to be trucked to Luxembourg Findel Airport where they are finally loaded on board the CV freighter fleet to be flown out.

Learning by doing
“We start cooperating at these selected airports to gather experience and get well acquainted with our partner’s specific expectations on handling his shipments,” explains Swissport’s SVP Global Sales and Account Management, Rudolf (“Ruedi”) Steiner.
After this learning phase the cooperation will be stepped up successively with airports in the U.S. standing next on the agenda for joining forces. Once this is ticked off, both companies intend to extend their partnership globally. “But this is our ultimate goal, that we hope to reach at some point in the future,” says Ruedi Steiner looking beyond the horizon.

Improving product quality further
In a joint press release both companies outline why they have decided to team up: “The aim is to further improve quality standards at the respective stations in a collective effort to provide shared customers with best-of-breed cargo services across the globe.”
Quite an ambitious goal, though!

Standardizing processes comes first
As Swissport’s Steiner points out, in a first step processes have to be standardized according to a service level agreement signed by both sides. This includes quality indicators like the on-time delivery of goods handled by Swissport to Cargolux, the aligning of the biz partner’s data systems for enabling the seamless exchange of information, standardized handling processes and invoicing, to pick a few criteria out of a longer list.

“This all explains why we are starting on a rather low level, to create a technical and operational platform that enables the smooth and coordinated expansion of our further cooperation,” Ruedi Steiner reasons. 
Swissport and Cargolux are both companies that “set their priorities on high quality services and reliability as a partner,” comments Nils Pries Knudsen, Head of Global Cargo at the handling agent. And Dirk Reich, President and CEO of Cargolux says: “The close cooperation with Swissport is a commitment to provide even better services to our demanding customers.”

Will Swissport return to LUX?
The question now is whether the agreement includes Swissport handling Cargolux also at their home base, Luxembourg Findel Airport. So far, this is done by Luxair Cargo, a division of Luxair that holds 35.1 % of the shares in Cargolux. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that there will be any changes, despite the pact agreed on between Swissport and Cargolux. Asked about this rather critical issue Rudolf Steiner remained reluctant, reminding that Swissport has pulled out of Findel sometime ago. However, the manager did not exclude the return of Swissport as ground cargo handler to LUX for all times.

Heiner Siegmund

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