FRA Lays Claim to Being Leading Pharma Airport

IATA’s  CEIV Certification Program which was initiated together with Brussels Airport in 2014, seems to have become an important part of many airports planning and positioning as viable pharmaceutical transit points throughout the world.
The CEIV stamp has in the meantime become a ‘must’ for many airport operators after airports such as Brussels, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Singapore and so on, have achieved this now coveted status.

From l > r: Joachim von Winning/ACC  -  Winfried Hartmann/ACD  -  Dirk Schusdziara/Fraport -  courtesy: Medienbureau am Reichstag
From l > r: Joachim von Winning/ACC - Winfried Hartmann/ACD - Dirk Schusdziara/Fraport - courtesy: Medienbureau am Reichstag

Pharma industry still claims that ocean carriers have the better product
This was an important statement also made at the German Air Cargo Club meeting on 10. May where a joint Fraport Cargo and FRA Air Cargo Community presentation to the ACD members tried to convince the audience that FRA despite not yet having its CEIV Certification, is the leading airport of choice for pharma producers.

The presentation was not convincing to all in the audience
The fact that FRA Airport is a leading global logistics hub is not to be disputed.
In 2015, Germany’s largest airport and number ten in global air freight tonnages, handled more than 2.1 million tons of air cargo.
However, the airport, as does many of its competitors, lays much value on the increasing pharma production and winning a large share of ‘flown-pharma’ business to pass through its cargo handling facilities.
This at least is what Dirk Schusdziara, Fraport Area Manager for Air Freight and Joachim von Winning, FRA Air Cargo Community Managing Director, tried to make clear to their audience in a joint presentation.

CargoForwarder Global spoke with some members who indicated that they were not convinced that although FRA may well claim to be presently the largest pharma handling airport in Europe that the airport is not moving fast enough to cement this claimed position and convince the pharma industry to move more away from moving their products by sea freight.
The presentations, although informative, were not geared enough to forcing and convincing the FRA cargo community to speak and act as one voice in promoting the airport as ‘hub of choice.’

Stating that “what airports such as Amsterdam and Brussels have - we have had for a long time” - is not really convincing when one sees what the mentioned airports have achieved in the past two years compared to FRA with regards to cementing the cargo community together to speak and act as more-or-less one entity in promoting the airport’s value to the industry.

The Fraport presentation was too top heavy with subjects such as the takeover of 14 Greek airports, passenger figures and the ‘bad-boys’ in the Arabian Gulf states who are way ahead of Europe.
Maybe Fraport forgets that those very Gulf carriers have become an indispensable part of their business portfolio in FRA and it’s not them that’s the problem.

FAIR@Link is not the only answer
Some emphasis was laid on the importance of the recent Cargo Community System’s FAIR@Link process (CargoForwarder Global reported earlier this year) which is meant to standardize data flow between companies regarding the handling processes.
FAIR@Link is meant to speed up the handling process on the landslide through real-time information of cargo deliveries and subsequent loading and offloading at handlers warehouses.
This process has its values and it should be noted that it is still in its infancy stages and needs time and more input by all players.
Whether this is or will be the case, was a subject of internal discussion at the ACD meet.

FACC needs more local support
The FRA Airport Community now boasts a total of 38 members but some voice the opinion that there is far too little support from the community, especially from the forwarders, to really push a common understanding and action forward.
Dusseldorf Airport has already reached its CEIV certification and has invested around 3.5 million euros in renewing and upgrading their facilities.
What has been, or planned on investments in FRA, was not tabled at the ACD meeting.
In FRA, there are five airlines, one ramp handler, six cargo handlers and a disappointing number of only two forwarders who are in the CEIV mode.
Those members already on board and their support teams are trying hard to get others interested, but some say that the process is too slow and interest to little from those areas where it should be most noticeable.

The cold-chain market continues growing and the prognosis is that it will show a 37 percent increase between 2013 and 2019.
But, pharma movements by airfreight continue to lose ground to ocean freight simply because the ocean carriers have a more streamlined and easier to monitor supply chain. This they can ‘cold-heartedly’ take advantage of.

A lot of work still for the FRA Air Cargo Community. Not only to convince the pharma shippers of the location, but also to get the community to really act with one voice.

John Mc Donagh

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