Exclusive – Cologne Airport Outsources Cargo Handling to Wisskirchen

The decision has now been taken!
Cologne Airport has awarded Wisskirchen Handling Services a 30 year concession as the new operator of the “Cologne-Bonn Cargo Center (CBCC).” The 12,000 sqm comprising facility is operational since early 2009.

On photo (L > R) are: Volker Steingross (CGN legal), Dr. Bernhard Steinmetz (CGN Personnel Manager), Michael Garvens (CGN CEO), Sueleyman Demirci and Oliver Hellwig (owners Wisskirchen), Athanasios Titonis (CGN Tech- Director), Franz van Hessen (CGN Cargo
On photo (L > R) are: Volker Steingross (CGN legal), Dr. Bernhard Steinmetz (CGN Personnel Manager), Michael Garvens (CGN CEO), Sueleyman Demirci and Oliver Hellwig (owners Wisskirchen), Athanasios Titonis (CGN Tech- Director), Franz van Hessen (CGN Cargo

The agreement with the Wisskirchen management was signed on the 16th of April at an official ceremony held in the offices of CGN’s CEO, Michael Garvens.
Wisskirchen will take over all the airport’s cargo handling activities at CGN as of 1. July this year.
It is the aim of the airport to further secure the growth and development of the cargo handling sector in the coming years and they are convinced that Wisskirchen Handling Services is the right partner to go hand-in-hand with them to realize this.

The CGN management had decided already last year (CargoForwarder Global reported) to issue a European tender with the aim of attracting a suitable enterprise which would be willing to invest in and further grow the cargo business at the airport.
The purchase price has not been revealed by either party, but Franz van Hessen, CGN’s head of cargo states that the deciding factor for selecting Wisskirchen lies mainly in the airport’s belief that the Frankfurt based enterprise brings with it the necessary on-hand experience which he and his team were looking for with regards to future cargo handling development at the airport.

CGN cargo staff remain as airport employees
Wisskirchen will take over the running of the cargo warehouse but the 40 strong workforce in the CBCC will all keep their jobs and continue to be employees of the airport.
It is also planned that Wisskirchen will add extra staff in the very near future in order to ensure an enhancement of the present operations quality.

Wisskirchen is no stranger to CGN’s cargo handling environment.
The company has been working together with the airport since 2011 in providing office and warehouse staff support in times of need.
The newly struck deal also means that the airlines handled by CGN Cargo will be automatically contracted over to Wisskirchen.
The handling services unit is part of the Wisskirchen group of companies which offers individual logistics solutions to airlines and handling companies as well as handling over 500,000 tons of cargo per annum with a force of more than 500 employees.
Wisskirchen Chief Oliver Hellwig informed CargoForwarder Global that his company already has plans for the new set-up which entails them investing a considerable sum of money in the near future.
This says Hellwig “is necessary for us to ensure that quality and performance at CGN are upheld and increased further.”

Warehouse of Excellence
Oliver Hellwig, who is also co-owner of Wisskirchen Handling Services told CargoForwarder Global that he and his team are deeply thankful to Cologne airport for the trust placed in Wisskirchen for the long term cargo handling arrangement.
He goes on to say that, “we very much look forward to a lasting cooperation and dialogue with all parties involved in this venture. This deal gives us the chance to realise a long standing vision of ours; namely the opening of what we see as a “Warehouse of Excellence.”
This Cologne enterprise should be seen in the future as a “showcase operation” according to Mr Hellwig.

Why not at other airports also?
If the above mentioned “Warehouse of Excellence” works for CGN, then why not for other airports in the future?
It is CargoForwarder Global’s belief that there are airports within Germany and other European countries which are having difficulty in keeping costs at an acceptable level and who may only would be happy to reach such a deal as CGN has done in the future.
This agreement could well be a sign to others.

Cologne looks to adding new business
Cologne’s Franz van Hessen says that the decision to add a new cargo terminal at the airport will be taken once the present facilities are reaching their limits.
It seems that the CGN cargo team is well on the way to realizing this.
Cargo flows are again positive according to Franz.
Since the lean year of 2013 where BA withdrew their freighter operation and Bluebird Airlines cut back services, volumes have again increased considerably and the recent upgrading of services by the Canadian carrier, Cargojet which operates a turnaround service through CGN, has added a new impetus.
Franz van Hessen would not be drawn out on any future views regarding the recently advised marriage between FedEx and TNT Europe.
Whether FedEx decides to put more weight into CGN, less in Liege or Paris, remains to be seen.
Surely it would be counter-productive for all concerned if Liege and Cologne were to be at loggerheads with each other.
Both airports are so near to each other that one wonders whether they could not both benefit from cargo flows through some form of future joint venture?

Any interesting agreement and one which as we noted earlier, will be surely followed closely by other airports in Europe.

John Mc Donagh

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