Airport Operator Fraport and Freight Agents Settle Royalties Dispute

The long ongoing dispute between Frankfurt airport‘s owner, Fraport and tenants and users at the Cargo City South area has it seems been settled in an out-of-court agreement reached last week.
This was announced by The Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (SLV) in a circular to its members. Unofficially, the SLV is “very pleased” with the outcome of the controversy. 

Part of Rhine-Main’s air freight area CargoCity South  /  source: Fraport
Part of Rhine-Main’s air freight area CargoCity South / source: Fraport

The collective lawsuit which was brought against Fraport  in 2013 by twenty companies domiciled in Cargo City South (CCS), was against so called cost-based user charges (KNE‘s) which Fraport insisted on levying on companies which entered into the area. The charges originally demanded by the airport operator would have exceeded €5 million annually.

A typical Fraport move?
No other airport has recently been known to want to charge users extra costs for entering into the areas where they work.
It is said that Fraport’s plan was to transfer certain costs for the upkeep of the airport infrastructure onto its users, among others, by means of increasing costs for airport ID-Cards.

Both Fraport and the Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (SLV) now state that they have reached an agreement but so far decline to make public what this is.
It is said that both parties will issue an information sheet to all users within the coming days explaining what has lead to the stand-down by both parties.

CargoForwarder Global’s information is that all Fraport demands “except one” are off the table.
The only outstanding issue seems to be the costs for staff bus transfers within Cargo City South to the outside parking areas. These it seems will be borne by the users and the costs thereof will be “priced into” the CCS users costing.
If this were the case, then the agreement can be seen as a triumph for the airport users and an almost 100% back-down by Fraport.

We remember also that about ten years ago Hamburg airport tried to introduce a similar costing structure.
They backed own pretty fast when the Users Committee said they’d take the airport to court.

It will be interesting to see what the joint information sheet will have to say next week.

John Mc Donagh

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