Not everything is in lock-down over in Germany this month: Over in Frankfurt/Main Airport, at Building FRA544, the new Swissport Cargo Services Deutschland GmbH cargo sustainable warehouse threw its doors open on 02NOV20, promising not only state-of-the-art equipment, but also highly efficient, modern customer services. A welcome, positive step in an otherwise unstable industry environment.
Completing a project during a year marked by uncertainty and additional hurdles given the pandemic chaos, is not easy. Henning Dieter, CEO of Swissport Cargo Services Deutschland GmbH, attributed
its success to a number of factors: "What was important, was the smooth collaboration and coordination of all departments and project partners […]. Given the corona restrictions, this was
particularly challenging. A further focus was on internal and external communication: customers needed to be informed in a targeted manner, and employee acceptance and support were
A change-process was established using an internal website to keep staff updated on the design of the new processes and procedures. “The effort was worthwhile. Our employees are highly motivated, and we have a very modern infrastructure, innovative technology, digitalized processes for traffic control and see ourselves optimally positioned for the future,” the manager stated.
“FAIR-play” thanks to Dakosy’s FAIR@Link system
One of the innovative technologies, is Dakosy’s FAIRLink slot-booking system, which enables efficient and automated steering of traffic to the warehouse: something that was vital for Swissport, given that access to the warehouse is via a single, central entrance area. FAIR@Link uses data on planned deliveries and collections to establish the best use of resources and to avoid peak situations or bottlenecks at check-in counters and on ramps. Drivers can book slots, must arrive within 15 minutes either side of that slot, and are then handled without having to wait.
“The efforts of the last few months have paid off,” project manager Mirjam Sladkowski emphasized. “It was a challenge; not just the construction work, but also to establish the new processes in time. The start was successful. We were able to go into operation as planned on the morning of 02NOV20. At precisely 06:30, the first truck, pre-registered via FAIR@Link, drove in via our entrance barrier. As expected, during the course of the day, vehicles also arrived without slot bookings. However, those drivers were able to book the slots at our Freight Acceptance office, so that they could be dealt with according to their subsequently allocated time slot.”
The system will greatly improve handling processes and enable a smoother supply chain.
Air France KLM Martinair Cargo delighted with “state-of-the-art”
Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, which is handled by Swissport at Frankfurt Airport, welcomes the new, state-of-the-art warehouse, since it will not only help enhance existing services, it will also place AFKLMP in an excellent position to deal with the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines transports. GertJan Roelands, SVP of Sales & Distribution at AFKLMP Cargo stated “Germany is a strategic market for Air France KLM Martinair Cargo. We are continually striving to enhance our product proposition to assure our customers of the best possible service. Together with Swissport, we will be taking the next step in achieving this ambition,” and announced that AFKLMP “is preparing itself, together with other directly involved partners, for the future transport of Covid-19 vaccines. This includes expansion of handling facilities, improved monitoring and intervention management, strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical container suppliers and many more activities. We have created a Covid-19 Task Force to ensure that we can successfully execute this logistics challenge from an airfreight perspective.”
Perfect set-up for Covid-19 vaccine transports
The sustainably constructed 17,000 m² Swissport facility includes a state-of-the art pharma center with varying temperature range storage possibilities for all types of cargo, along with e-driven warehouse equipment, solar panels, and is set up to ensure efficient shipment delivery and handling. Peter Visser, director for Germany & Austria at AFKLMP Cargo: “We congratulate Swissport on the opening of this ultramodern warehouse. Together, we are ready for a future in which we will offer customers extensive capabilities, including the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines.”
Frankfurt Airport is a shadow of its former self
Reporting a 70% decline in passenger figures so far this year, with just 18-19 million passengers expected for 2020, compared to the 2019 record of 70.5 million, travelling through FRA must seem like entering a ghost airport. Strict cost-cutting measures are in place to soften the negative result somewhat (JAN20-SEP20 yielded a net loss of 537.2 million euros), but the outlook is bleak, with passenger figures expected to only start picking up slowly from summer 2021. Dr. Stefan Schulte, Chief Executive Officer of Fraport AG predicted: "We currently assume that next year we will only reach about 35% to 45% of the passenger volume of 2019 in Frankfurt, given that we expect a very weak first quarter in 2021. Even in 2023/24, we will probably only reach 80% to 90%. So, there is still a long way to go. But we are certain that the measures we have now initiated will enable us to successfully realign our company, and that we will then see sustainable growth again in the long term.”
Why no cargo board representative?
It is a different picture altogether when it comes to cargo volumes. Fraport announced an increase of 1.6% to 182,061 tons for the month of OCT20 compared to OCT19, and stated that, for the first time in 15 months, the previous year values had been surpassed. The press release went on to say that pure cargo flights had more than compensated for the lack of passenger belly capacities, and that “The upturn in global trade and the solid development of the industrial sector in the euro zone were the main reasons for the high demand.” All the more reason, surely, for Fraport to reconsider not having a cargo representative at the helm.
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