Air freight consignments picked up in Hamburg and bound for Frankfurt are often routed via Amsterdam. The same happens occasionally to shipments originating in Berlin, Leipzig or Hanover; they travel to the Benelux countries first, before being loaded on board an aircraft in Frankfurt. The German forwarding association now wants to stop this climate-killing madness.
From an ecological standpoint, it’s a piece of lunacy: Trucks full of air freight shipments stemming from German producers are heading to Amsterdam or other airports in the Benelux countries.
Once there, the goods are security-checked and handed over to the shipper’s or forwarder’s airline of choice.
What follows then, is absolutely crazy and hard to comprehend, at least for outsiders: The carrier’s local Benelux stations send the trucks and their entire loads back to Germany, mainly to Rhine-Main, but also Cologne or Hahn airport. There, the secured shipments are finally loaded on board intercontinental flights and flown out. This easily doubles the total number of road kilometers covered.
Differing security interpretations
This absurd practice results from differing interpretations of safety and security rules in air freight by the EU member states. While German federal and local authorities demand a very strict and meticulous execution of the regulations, other European authorities permit ground handling agents and their warehouse staff a more flexible and less bureaucratic, cost and time-saving procedure.
"Today, we observe security and ecological insanity when air freight coming from German producers is transported to other countries in order to be controlled and secured under the same European law, but interpreted differently by the block’s member states, before being returned to Germany to be uplifted there,” Volker Oesau criticizes the daily procedure. In his role as board member of the Forwarding and Logistics Association of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatium, this practice has annoyed him and his colleagues for years.
Ecological madness must end, says Oesau
What’s badly needed, are uniform European security procedures which ensure a level playing field, ending competitive disadvantages and ecological insanity without compromising on security matters, Mr Oesau urges.
However, despite mounting pressure, changes might take years as experience has shown.
Faster to realize might be steps for reducing pressing infrastructural deficits such as the construction of thousands of additional parking lots for trucks along German motorways, enabling drivers to comply with the legally prescribed resting periods, coupled with urgent investments in the country’s digital technology.
Political demands that are standing high on the forwarding and logistics association’s list of claims.