The state-of-the-art facility closes a gap within the broader network of more than 30 Pharma Stations run by the cargo carrier worldwide. It follows the opening of the LH Cargo Center
Chicago (750 sq. m) last June and will receive the IATA CEIV certificaton in fall. The operator expects high long-term utilization of the Hub.
Meanwhile LCAG Board member Ops, Harald Gloy, confirmed that parent LH does not intend to sell stakes in LH Cargo.
"Lufthansa Cargo shares are not for sale. You can quote this word by word,” Harald Gloy, Board Member Operations of the cargo airline, affirmed.
With this statement, the executive reacted to a question raised by CargoForwarder Global at the Munich event as to whether the freight carrier might possibly face a similar fate as its sister company, Lufthansa Technik. According to media speculation, the Lufthansa Group is considering selling shares of its very profitable Technik subsidiary in order to stabilize its own financial situation. “Concerning Lufthansa Cargo, this is not an issue at all,” Mr. Gloy confirmed.
Mr Gloy made this statement at the inauguration of the airline’s new Pharma Hub at Munich Airport last Wednesday (19AUG20), attended by a hand-picked number of employees and invitees.
“The timing for the Pharma Hub couldn’t have been better,” CEO Jost Lammers of Munich Airport exclaimed in his short welcoming speech. “It is a forward-looking project from which both Lufthansa Cargo and the airport will jointly benefit,” he added.
Norman Rexin, Manager Strategic Projects at Lufthansa Cargo, also pointed out the time factor. “Once Covid-19 vaccines are available on a large scale, we will be able to handle and accommodate major volumes of this presumably much sought-after and temperature critical commodity at our new Pharma Hub here in Munich, complying with the product’s specific requirements,” he stated.
Different temp zones
The cool facility built within Munich Airport’s large Cargo Center with direct apron access, comprises 900-plus m² and can accommodate up to 96 pallets, and loose shipments. It consists of different rooms offering temperature ranges from +2 to +8°C and +15 to +25°C. It also contains a freezer where items can be cooled down to -18°C. A special feature is the heat exchanger that uses the waste heat from the cold store to air-condition the adjacent room, making the entire system very eco-efficient.
The corona crisis was kind of a driver of this project, whose founding stone was laid last March. In contrast to other investments that fell victim to Lufthansa Cargo’s stiff austerity program as reaction to the near standstill of aviation since March costing the carrier a fortune, the Munich pharma plans were never considered to be put on the backburner, the management confirms.
In his short presentation, Board Member Gloy pointed out that both the Chicago and Munich pharma facilities are a key component in his company’s product strategy. “The transport of pharma and other cool products are of decisive importance for the success of our company - not only since the health crisis.” The executive added to this that the pandemic has strengthened the particular role of air freight as a significant part of the supply chain to keep vital goods moving, making this contribution visible to many. In pre-corona times, pharma and special products accounted for roughly 10 % of his carrier’s sales, outgrowing other items, Mr. Gloy told CargoForwarder Global.
MUC and Lufthansa on way to strengthening their strategic partnership
Ola Hansson, Lufthansa Hub CEO Munich, spoke of a “visionary decision to build the Pharma Hub at Munich Airport, that we should all be proud of.” As reaction to this, Airport Chief Lammers confirmed that MUC’s management considers the entire cargo business and particularly the pharma turnover as a cornerstone to the further development of the airport. “As an airport, we have a long-standing, strategic partnership with the entire Lufthansa Group which we want to develop further,” Mr. Lammers stated.
This, however, will take months if not years, so time will elapse before the new Pharma Hub is in full swing. A key precondition is that passenger traffic returns to nearly normal, making lower deck transport capacity available for pharma and other shipments. When this will be the case – next year or even later – is a matter of speculation.
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