Was that a step towards the "old normal"? In any case, the live event held by the Frankfurt Air Cargo Community on Wednesday and Thursday last week (25/26AUG21), was a successful one attended by more than 200 participants. Bringing people together at one venue was courageous because the pandemic is far from over, but worth the effort for two reasons: it was an in-person event and provided important takeaways for those who attended.
The packed agenda included important issues such as the current state of digitalization in the industry or – next example – the mega topic of sustainability that came up in its various facets and
ran like a common thread through the show.
Various start-ups presented their business models, some of which were extremely innovative, benefitting the industry in the medium or even short term.
The increasing utilization of drones was illustrated by a manager of drone producer and operator, Wingcopter. Airport operator, Fraport, and IT manager, Dakosy, jointly presented a new digital platform, named FRA-OS, which enables an automated data exchange among all participants of consolidated import shipments, speeding up customs clearance processes. The fast-growing packaging specialist, va-Q-tech, presented its innovative and fascinating product range. These, among other exciting topics, were some of the highlights that stimulated discussion.
The event was extremely well staffed, as exemplified by the appearances of Ashwin Bhat from Lufthansa Cargo, Glyn Hughes from TIACA, Susanne Klingler-Werner, MD UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Thomas Mack from DHL Global Forwarding, Christian and Tobias Riege of Riege Software, MD Patrik Tschirch of ground handling agent LUG, or Frank Liebelt and Hendrik Bender of Sovereign Speed, one of Europe’s leading independent express courier and ground handling agents.
The bottom line is that it was worth attending for two reasons: because it was an in-person event, and because there were important takeaways for those in attendance.
However, at least as important as the topics tabled in Frankfurt, was the fact that industry representatives were able to meet and exchange ideas in person after all the impersonal and tiring Zoom and Teams events. From this point of view, networking, bilateral talks, or enabling the participants to just chat with each other played an outstanding role at the two-day show.
The following personal statements, collected at the event, underline the above:
Finally, a face-to-face event again
My sincere gratitude goes out to everyone making this year’s air cargo conference in Frankfurt such a great success. It was so good to finally see and meet people again face to face; it makes such a difference to all the online meetings during the past 18 months. Despite the pandemic and all the challenges it brought into everyone’s day-to-day life, it was excellent to learn from the exceptional sessions how our industry made significant progress in all areas, especially in terms of digitization.
Nina Strippel, COO of ground handling agent LUG
The world’s most resilient air cargo conference
Since the pandemic started rolling across the globe like a wave, our industry demonstrated impressively that air cargo helps saving lives day after day, by transporting much needed anti corona vaccines, face masks, PPE supplies etc. Therefore, air freight became an indispensable part of the solution to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We were able to master these challenges by capitalizing on our strengths such as agility, collaboration, resilience, and turning passenger aircraft into freighters practically overnight, thus supplying much needed additional capacity to the market.
The next challenge coming our way is developing and keeping talents. This topic is paramount to safeguard our further existence, becoming a matter of survival. The time to act is now, since the boom will continue for years making a capable and motivated workforce a prerequisite for mastering the challenges lying ahead.
Of note, and probably unique, is the fact that throughout the pandemic, Frankfurt’s Air Cargo Community always conducted its annual meetings live, rather than online.
Joachim von Winning, Exect. Director Frankfurt Air Cargo Community
FRA’s Air Cargo Community is internationalizing
…stresses CEO Tobias Riege of Riege Software.
It was great seeing everyone in person again after such a long time. Logistics and air freight are people businesses, and people need personal exchange, facing each other, building trust, fostering dialogue and mutual understanding. I would like to emphasize one aspect in particular: the brilliant moderation and discussion-steering by Joachim von Winning, the executive director of the Frankfurt Air Cargo Community. Kudos to him and his team for making this conference not only happen, but also enabling the direct exchange of views to pressing topics affecting the entire industry, such as sustainability, fostering young talents, and give a stage to startups so that they could present their business models.
Joachim did a superb job from beginning to end. We appreciate that the conference has become more international, and that big shots like Susanne Klinger-Werner, Thomas Mack, Glyn Huges, and Ashwin Bhat, showed up to share their knowledge with the audience.
Dr. Tobias Riege, CEO Riege Software
DoKaSch-TS increased Opticooler rentals massively
By and large, DoKaSch Temperature Solutions has come through the corona crisis quite well. We were able to further increase our Opticooler rentals significantly in both 2020 and 2021 (ytd). Some of this - by no means all of it - is attributable to various corona effects and their impact on the global pharma supply chain, and almost exclusively affected our classic live-savings-pharmaceuticals business.
Vaccines have so far only been flown on Opticoolers to a limited extent: Mainly because intercontinental export volumes by air freight were relatively down due to the high in-house demand for vaccines produced in Europe, the USA, and India.
Operationally, the massive capacity reductions in air freight and the often sudden suspension of flight connections caused some challenges in the provision and repositioning of containers. However, we were able to master these issues in close cooperation with our airline partners and forwarders very satisfyingly, enabling us to serve any incoming Opticooler request as we did in the past.
Andreas Seitz, Managing Director, DoKaSch TEMPERATURE SOLUTIONS GmbH
Zoom is an inadequate substitute
Logistics is confronted with almost identical problems for the last 20 years. These are: digitalization, process optimization, and quality improvement without cost increase. That said, most of us agree that the scope of action as a single company is quite limited, and that we can only find binding solutions through fruitful dialog. This is precisely what events like the one now initiated by the Frankfurt Air Cargo Community, are driving forward. Not only through prepared presentations and statements voiced by panelist or speakers, but also through bilateral or multi-lateral discussions and the exchange of ideas on the sidelines of the show’s official program. Virtual events are an inadequate substitute for this.
Diana Schöneich, Senior Director AirBridgeCargo / Volga-Dnepr, European Region
Text and statements collected: Heiner Siegmund
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