Exclusive - Make-over of Paris CDG’s Cargo Zone is Bearing Fruit

With a total volume of 2.09 million tonnes in 2014, Paris-CDG is Europe’s second largest airport in terms of freight just after Frankfurt. Since November 2013 cargo traffic has been on the rise and the real estate department of the airport authority Aéroports de Paris is keeping pace.

Franck Goldnadel, Managing Director Aéroports de Paris / courtesy M.Labelle /ADP
Franck Goldnadel, Managing Director Aéroports de Paris / courtesy M.Labelle /ADP

In a recent interview with the French press office AFP, Franck Goldnadel, the airport’s managing director, said CDG would have been able to regain its first place in the European ranking of cargo airports, which it lost to Frankfurt in 2013, if Air France had not been on strike in September 2014. 
Mr Goldnadel is convinced that CDG should reinforce its attractiveness as a cargo airport and should capitalize on the fact that it brings together three major hubs: Air France’s global, FedEx’ European  and the (inter)national hub of Europe Airpost, a cargo-only company fully owned by La Poste.
This 3-hub model enables FedEx and Air France to interact by using each other’s capacity. “This allows them to produce the most economically efficient diversified service,” says Franck Goldnadel. “Given its size and its position, Paris CDG cannot conceive its future development without participating fully in the growth of the cargo business. Hence the strategic decision by ADP to engage in an approach aiming at promoting the strengths of CDG as a cargo airport.”

New facilities all over
This approach is reflected in the fact that over the last 6 years ADP has finalized a major project to develop, redesign and revitalize CDG’s cargo zone, says François Cangardel, ADP’s Real Estate director. “Underlying this new scheme was the realization that the original real estate products had become obsolete and were no longer able to meet the new operational requirements of the big global freight forwarders.”
Several companies have decided to take advantage of the make-over project. DB Schenker moved into a brand new 15,000 m² facility in July 2010, doubling its previous space, and added another 7,500 m² in 2012.  Another 13,500 m² cargo station called GB3 was inaugurated in 2012. It is operated jointly by Kuehne+Nagel and WFS and has direct access to the runways.
For DHL Global Forwarding the industrial property group Goodman has developed a new 16,000 m² complex, enabling the freight forwarding subsidiary of DP/DHL to relocate all its air transit activities right on the runway. This summer Bolloré Logistics is expected to move into its new 30,000 m² facility, which will house the business of its freight forwarding subsidiary SDV.

The new facility of DHL Global Forwarding  / source: Goodman
The new facility of DHL Global Forwarding / source: Goodman

Express business is driving volume growth
Last January a new sorting warehouse was opened for Sodexi, an express freight handling company owned by Air France (65%) and Geopost (35%). The latter is the express subsidiary of La Poste and also the owner of DPD.
For if there is anything driving the air cargo industry today, it’s the express segment, says Franck Goldnadel. “Its expansion is driven by internet sales as well as transport of high-value products. In comparison with maritime transport, express is also the better option for medical and pharmaceutical parcels.”

More freight traffic to come
For 2015, ADP expects a lot of the new daily service of Emirates Cargo and the doubling of the capacity of Qatar Cargo. In April AirBridgeCargo is expected to introduce a fourth frequency.  In all, 17 all-cargo companies touch down at CDG, offering 72 destinations. They account for 44% of cargo and mail tonnage, the remaining 56% is carried as belly freight. The three largest cargo carriers, Air France-KLM, FedEx and Europe Airpost, account for 55% of the volume.
Today, Paris-CDG can handle up to 3.5 million tonnes annually.  The cargo zone has a surface of 300 hectares, with 500,000 m² buildings, spread over 2 large zones. Together they have access to 80 aircraft parking positions. The airport has a catchment area of 25 million people within a 200 km radius and some 100,000 companies. Some 20% of all imports into France and over 30% of the country’s exports are handled at Paris-CDG.

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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