E-Commerce Benefits CGN

… says Athanasios Titonis, Managing Director Cologne-Bonn Airport. The parcel business plays a paramount role, contributing roughly 98 percent to the total cargo volume handled there.

MD Athanasios Titonis of Cologne-Bonn Airport - courtesy: CGN
MD Athanasios Titonis of Cologne-Bonn Airport - courtesy: CGN

CFG: What’s your position on involving CGN in developing e-commerce traffic further, your bread-and-butter business together with passenger traffic?

AT: The buoyant global economy is fuel for the industry and – hand in hand with this - also the cargo business. This applies in particular to e-commerce, which according to all indicators will continue its double-digit growth rate in times ahead. As a matter of fact, Cologne/Bonn Airport benefited from this trend considerably since we are a hub for express freight, chosen by integrators such as UPS, FedEx and DHL as gateway. This puts CGN in an extremely strong position in a market that is extremely competitive. To grow this segment constantly, we are in permanent talks with the integrators to leverage the e-commerce potential even further. This worked out well so far, proven by the record result of 840,000 tons handled at our airport in 2017, up 7 percent to the previous year.

CFG: Lufthansa’s low cost subsidiary Eurowings increased their number of intercontinental flights from / to CGN lately. Does this traffic have a relevant effect on freight flows via CGN?

AT: As of today, belly-hold freight is still a segment that needs to be improved, as seen by the throughput of 5,500 tons. We still see considerable business potential for growth in the future.

CFG: One hears that CGN is not so interested in handling general cargo but concentrates on express shipments instead. What’s your position on that?

AT: This assumption is inaccurate since we do our utmost to provide optimal support to airlines, sales agents and forwarders alike, wherever possible, to drive this segment forward. The traffic results are evidencing this, and since last year 31,000 tons of standard freight were flown via Cologne/Bonn. This is a remarkable increase of 25% compared to the previous year. In 2015, we transferred the handling of general cargo to an external service provider. In addition to the paramount role of express freight, standard shipments will remain a key pillar of our cargo business.

CFG: Are there any plans in your drawer to expand your cargo handling facilities, not just for integrators?

AT: Not really, because all existing freight facilities are optimally utilized.         Therefore, we don’t have any expansion plans for the time being. Should additional needs arise, we will of course respond to market demands

CFG: Which growth and tonnage are you anticipating for 2018?

AT: According to forecasts, air freight and particularly e-commerce volumes will continue to grow in 2018, provided the economic circumstances remain as they are. This will be of benefit for us, although at this stage it would be premature to mention any precise growth figures.

Interview: Heiner Siegmund

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Heinz Boller (Monday, 29 January 2018 12:31)

    Once again one sees that most things are not handled very well in Cologne !

    a) how can one focus on express cargo knowing how much you depend on their development and figures if there is no other segments which could stable your own business in case
    b) CGN has absolutely NOT executed any significant action to attract general cargo carriers
    c) a total of 31.000 tons of general cargo in 2017 out of 840.000 tons total volume means this segment accounts for 3,7% !
    And in total figures means CGN is playing at the same level as STR, HAM, or TXL which do not host any cargo-only operators
    d) CGN did not attract a single rotation after the AMS freighter slot reduction issue. Other like LGG did !
    e) as far I know CGN has not pharma accredition even its a growing market and nearly all other airports around here do already have one

    Finally is has to be said that CGN is N O T a H U B of Fedex and DHL. Saying so states that some people do not really understand the meaning of this word. It may be (small!) base for these carriers, but with a handful of flights per day one cant call this a hub operation interchanging volumes one flight with another !

    If you look at this matter strictly with business eyes : its not comprehensibly why an airport like AMS at the edge or Europe and strongly congested attracts any cargo carrier where as in CGN you may find 3 accounting for a handful of rotations not per day, but per week !