The logistics heavyweight is increasingly tapping into freighter operations to offer customers reliable air transportation despite the ongoing lack of lower deck capacity caused by the pandemic grounding most passenger services. On 16JAN21, DB Schenker launched a new route directly connecting North America, Europe, and the Far East. It is a first, with another flight bridging three continents to follow on 25FEB21.
Both services add to DB Schenker’s current asset free air network based on blocked space agreements with different cargo airlines, totaling an impressive 43 weekly intercontinental flights. This
equals the lower deck transport capacity that would be available on 135 widebody passenger flights.
The latest service, announced now and launched a week ago, takes off from Chicago to Munich, Tokyo, and Seoul, and returns on the same route. The second flight taking to the air at the end of February, will link Munich with Chennai and Chicago. Both services are contracted for one year and operated by U.S. carrier National Airlines, which deploys B747-400F equipment.
Well prepared in Munich
We asked DB Schenker Communication Officer, Mario Arnold, why Schenker chose Munich as its European hub, and not Frankfurt, Cologne, or Amsterdam, to name some of the other options: “Our warehouse and facilities at Rhine-Main Airport are already well utilized, while in Munich we are quite well prepared for the new routes. That’s why we opted for the Bavarian Airport.”
Touching on the airport issue, Thorsten Meincke, Member of the Management Board for Air and Ocean Freight at DB Schenker, enthuses: “I am especially excited about our new routes via Munich Airport. (This way) our existing and strong flight network will become even more global.”
His statement is music to the ears of Josef Lammers, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board at Munich Airport: “We are very pleased that DB Schenker, one of the most important and largest logistics service providers in the world, has chosen Munich Airport as the hub for its intercontinental cargo flights between the USA and the Far East. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there is unfortunately a great deal of belly-load capacity missing due to the greatly reduced number of flights. This makes cargo-only traffic all the more important for Munich Airport. For this reason, Europe's first 5-star airport not only offers passengers an excellent range of services, but also customers the highest level in cargo handling.”
Asset free air freight strategy bears fruit
The two new inter-continental flights reinforce Schenker’s strategy to control and market cargo capacity provided by partnering airlines. While most of the services were originally established to substitute missing passenger flights, they have meanwhile become a centerpiece of the logistics company’s global strategy to safeguard supply chains in order to best serve its customers.
As passenger traffic is unlikely to recover in the near future, demand for reliable air transportation remains high, Mario Arnold states. “We are currently working on concepts to further expand capacity between China and Europe, and China and the USA.”
So, it seems that additional cargo flights will be announced soon by the management.
On another note: Following the temporary suspension of road freight shipments from the EU to the UK (CargoForwarder 17JAN21), the logistics company has resumed trucking services between continental Europe and the British Isles, after controversial documentation and data issues were settled.
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