We asked some of the attendees to convey their impressions on the AFKLMP Cargo / Swissport event recently held in Frankfurt. As a result, praise was heard but mixed with some critical thoughts on the role of German airports compared to their European neighbours.
Bernhard Stock, Director Air Freight Germany and Global Network, EMO Trans: All in all, it was an informative and inspiring event, mainly illustrating new business opportunities
enabled by digitalisation. The organizer’s core message became very clear that customer demands and expectations should be anticipated by their partners within the supply chain in a pro-active
manner instead of waiting until shippers or consignees eventually knock at the doors of their forwarding agent.
Although visions are needed they are only part of a whole. With regard to AF-KL Cargo this means that they need to do something about shortcomings like offloads, service deficits or shipments that are not flown as booked.
Professor Christopher Stoller, Cooperative State University, Baden-Wuerttemberg: Kudos to the organizers of the meeting putting customer issues up front. It was AF-KL Cargo’s way
of expressing their thanks to forwarders, shippers and truckers alike. Triggered by shippers and consignees, the gathering provided new ways of thinking, innovative business approaches and
strategic thoughts to master future challenges. It also shed light on the close relationship between AF-KL Cargo and ground handler Swissport mainly based on their constant data exchange, making
cargo flows transparent and traceable.
Frankfurt Klassikstadt with the many cars showcased there provided a perfect venue, not only because it’s an inspiring location but also due to the fact that a huge number of car parts and spares are transported by air day after day to production plants around the globe keeping the industry running. However, it has to be asked why these items have to be trucked to Amsterdam, Liege or Paris first to be uplifted there, considering that they are produced in Germany and could be best flown out at nearby airports Frankfurt, Cologne, Leipzig, Dusseldorf or Munich.
Felix Kreutel, SVP Cargo, Fraport: The AF-KL Cargo and Swissport organized event was impressive. It well illustrated that the French-Dutch freight carrier’s aim is to intensify
competition with Lufthansa Cargo right on their German home market, adopting innovations already implemented by the cargo subsidiary of LH. Secondly, it showed that Germany is increasingly
becoming kind of a European battlefield for cargo airlines, with each of the carriers trying to get the thickest possible slice of the market. That’s evidenced by the fact that AF-KL Cargo
selected Frankfurt as the place for the customer event instead choosing Paris or Amsterdam, their natural hubs. Without being nationalistic it must be asked why a huge portion of freight stemming
from Germany-based producers are trucked to airports located in other countries. It’s a free EU market, but it only works properly if the appropriate framework conditions for fair competition are
everywhere in place. Having said this it must be emphasized that it would be false to blame others for benefitting from omissions German politicians and their authorities are responsible for.
Bureaucratic customs procedures, lengthy ad-hoc charter admissions, complicated security schemes, night flight bans like that decreed in Frankfurt in 2012 are just some of the obstacles affecting
the German carriers negatively, leading to the migration of high cargo volumes to places where aviation and air freight is more appreciated by the legislator.
Statements collected by Heiner Siegmund