Ground handling agent Celebi’s Frankfurt station has decided to take trucking services to the next level by introducing an electronic slot booking system. Technical supplier is Hamburg, Germany-based software solutions provider Dakosy AG. Celebi is thus Dakosy’s latest customer at Rhine-Main Airport, following LUG aircargo handling and Swissport.
The Celebi managers are set to press the “GO” buzzer to activate Dakosy’s Fair&Link system on 01JUN21. From that day on, all trucks that deliver or pickup air freight consignments at Celebi’s 12,000+ m² FRA warehouse, will get a fixed slot in advance so that they can accomplish their task in a time definite manner. In the event of a slot change at short notice, the system will automatically inform the affected driver via SMS and send them an updated slot. Therefore, as of June, queues of parked vehicles waiting for a free gate in front of Celebi’s warehouse will be a thing of the past, Celebi and Dakosy expect. Today, drivers wait around 3 hours on average until the ground handler is able to offer them an empty gate to load or unload shipments. “That's far from ideal and called for a change,” exclaims Markus Schmidt, Manager Commercial & Marketing at Celebi FRA. At some of his company’s local competitors, the conditions are even more critical, which does not make things any better.
If it all works out as planned, time losses will be reduced, the flow of consignments accelerated, and the drivers’ operating hours shortened. The tool will also allow Celebi to optimize personnel planning.
Two reasons speak in favor of Fair&Link
This brings up the question as to what motivated the cargo ground handler to opt for Dakosy’s Fair&Link slot booking tool instead of another platform? Because of two main reasons, manager Schmidt explains: “The system has sufficiently proven its efficiency in daily use at two ground handling companies here in Frankfurt” (i.e. LUG aircargo handling and Swissport, HS). “Secondly, it allows us to communicate with each other, despite the fact that we are competitors.”
He illustrates this by pointing at delays that could occur at Swissport or LUG. In that case, Celebi is automatically informed by the system, and the driver, on whose schedule Celebi is next, is assigned a new slot. “This cooperative interaction, although we are competitors, also strengthens Frankfurt’s position as leading cargo hub.”
Increasing efficiency gains
This is confirmed by CEO Ulrich Wrage of platform operator Dakosy, who speaks of another important milestone in the digitalization of traffic at Frankfurt Airport. Thanks to Celebi, “we are now connecting the third handling agent to the platform; more are in the pipeline. With each additional handler, the efficiency gains for the community increase.”
He goes on to say that in addition to handling agents, trucking companies can also better plan their pickup and delivery processes, thereby saving trips. “This, in turn, relieves traffic in Frankfurt’s Cargo City, reduces congestion, and speeds up handling processes overall," he stresses.
Celebi FRA reports thriving business
Last year, Celebi handled 200,000 tons of air freight in Frankfurt. In 2021, this figure will easily be beaten, forecasts Mr. Schmidt. The number of packages in pandemic times has quadrupled compared to the past, and the boom has continued unabated since last fall. Monthly growth rates keep fluctuating between +35% to +40% in a year-on-year comparison. However, handling smaller shipments containing face masks, hygiene articles, or Covid-19 test kits, requires a lot of manpower. Unfortunately, it’s not very lucrative, because volumes handled and earnings generated do not equate, Markus Schmidt regrets.
Currently, at Celebi FRA, the ratio export / import is 56% to 44%, but imports are outgrowing exports. “Therefore, we expect the remaining difference to level out step by step,” the manager states.
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