Exclusive - KLM Cargo Goes Speedy Gonzales

The Dutch freight carrier has initiated a pilot scheme for faster data processing of air freight shipments and enhanced flows of goods between Frankfurt Rhine-Main airport and Amsterdam Schiphol. It’s an initial step with much more to come, connecting different stations with the airline’s central AMS hub, announces KLM Cargo’s Executive Vice President Marcel de Nooijer in an exclusive interview with CargoForwarder Global.

EVP Marcel de Nooijer of KLM Cargo expects the trials to deliver beneficial results   -  company courtesy
EVP Marcel de Nooijer of KLM Cargo expects the trials to deliver beneficial results - company courtesy

The first test run operated last week went “according to our expectations,” says Marcel. However, to gain sufficient data and valid results, the trial phase for hauling goods from Frankfurt to Schiphol fast, reliable and steadily will last 6 months, ending in April 2017. He points out that the project, supported by the Dutch government and driven by smart data exchange, is fully in line with the objectives of the ‘Schiphol 2020 Mainport Program’ aimed at making the gateway the smartest airport in the world.
Partnering in the “European green fast lanes” named initiative are KLM Cargo and Schiphol Airport, with logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel, trucking company Jan de Rijk, ground handling agent Swissport, local customs and also tax authorities being the other participants in this concerted action to speed up the flow of goods.

The tests involve all products
“Our target as carrier is to deliver better quality at lower costs by optimizing the supply chain and ultimately attract additional business,” explains Marcel. Asked about the range of products that qualify for the fast lane initiative he says that any kind of goods are included from special items like pharma, express or valuables to shipments declared as general cargo.
Cornerstone of the project is a cloud platform making the shipment data visible and accessible by all project partners who then can exchange, process or even modify them. Right from the start, assures KLM Cargo, the information obtained is automatically verified against the applicable customs regulations and safety standards. “Not only will this support the exchange of administrative data, it will also facilitate the exchange of status information relating to the shipments,” assures the carrier.

Jan de Rijk helmsman Sebastiaan Scholte  -  courtesy Jan de Rijk
Jan de Rijk helmsman Sebastiaan Scholte - courtesy Jan de Rijk

Logistics is top sector in The Netherlands
The mastermind behind the ‘green fast lanes’ initiative is Netherland’s Neutraal Logistiek Informatie Platform (NLIP), a government supported think tank that was set up to develop solutions to give the country’s logistics industry a competitive advantage in Europe. This includes developing AMS Schiphol as best-in-class airport for air freight throughput. “Logistics is seen as top sector by Dutch politicians,” applauds Mr de Nooijer.
Besides Schiphol, his enterprise should benefit most from this promising approach since the flow of shipments will be enhanced enabling KLM Cargo to offer clients a superior product.
The Frankfurt-Amsterdam link was chosen for the initial test of the project because Rhine-Main is “one of our busiest air freight stations in both size and volume,” he explains. A smaller place wouldn’t have delivered sufficient data for giving a good overview, Marcel adds.

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First Frankfurt, then Europe, followed by the U.S. and Hong Kong
Should the Frankfurt experiment prove to be a success, the project of ‘green fast lanes’ will be rolled out Europe-wide. Much to the delight of Jan de Rijk’s CEO Sebastiaan Scholte who speaks of a “huge transport potential”, the fast lanes are offering for his trucking company.
Introducing the scheme at a later stage in the U.S. and Hong Kong is also part of the program. This, however might still take some time. Prior to that, KLM Cargo’s top deck will have to decide how to best enlarge the sprint system – gradually or through a big bang.
For the time being the challenge is to further optimize all processes concerned by using and evaluating the available data, states Jonas van Stekelenburg, Schiphol Cargo’s helmsman.

Heiner Siegmund

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