The cooperation between the Atlanta, Georgia-based freight forwarder and the ground handling agent applies to weekly cargo imports handled at Rhine-Main Airport. It complements JAS’s existing handling agreement with local agent, Cargo Handling International – CHI, and will start on 01JAN22. The contract, valid for 5 years, is a novelty, because it is the first time that Swissport’s Frankfurt branch will process cargo shipments coming from a forwarding agent, not an airline.
Handling contracts with renowned customers such as Air-France-KLM Cargo, Cathay Pacific Cargo, SAS Cargo, Vietnam Airlines or Oman Air Cargo, are Swissport’s bread and butter business at Rhine-Main Airport and in general. Until now, not a single forwarding agent relied on the ground handler’s services, at least not in FRA.
First forwarder to become a customer
Weekly charter flights organized by JAS were probably the litmus test for or against the U.S. agent’s cooperation with Swissport. Apparently, this turned out to be successful, meeting the expectations of the logistics company’s management.
It's a wide-reaching agreements signed by JAS and Swissport. It includes the handling of imports arriving at Rhine-Main and the exports of pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments. "Our pharma and healthcare customers will have access to more than 1000 square meters of IATA CEIV certified temperature.controlled space in one of the newest and most suitable buildings constructed," states Volker Werner, MD of JAS Germany. In addition, the facility will be seamlessly integrated with the JAS dedicated freighter network Blue World Atlantic, pairing secured capacity with end-to-end cold chain handling.
However, despite the Swissport deal, JAS continues cooperating intensely with local competitor CHI, that handles other B47F FRA flights, including exports.
“Against this background, we are pleased to welcome JAS as the first forwarder whose pharma air freight shipments we will handle, clear, and redistribute from the beginning of next year in our Swissport Pharma Center at Frankfurt Airport,” enthuses Henning Dieter, CEO Germany & Austria Swissport Cargo Services. In order to reduce risks, both partners have agreed on a minimum tonnage in the Fraport-built facility that opened its gates in November 2020 and is rented by Swissport for 10 years.
First-class warehouse with large temp controlled section
Main USP for JAS was the temp-controlled section within the freight terminal, comprising 2,000 m². The agent has secured 50% of this space, exclusively for having its own climate critical shipments stored, handled, and processed by Swissport. This is because JAS intends to step into the remunerative pharmaceutical business on routes crossing the North Atlantic. “They have chartered a B747-400F from Atlas Air, which primarily has general cargo on board, but we expect the share of pharmaceutical shipments to increase successively after the turn of the year,” says Swissport’s Mr. Dieter.
To raise the efficiency of the handling processes, ULDs are stored and retrieved by an automated material handling system, offering storage capacity for 115 main deck boxes. Swissport’s cargo teams at FRA were among the first to be equipped with a new cargo app and mobile devices to further digitize the operation and increase efficiency. In addition, an unmanned, automated vehicle will up the flexibility and safety of cargo handling within the building.
Sustainability stands high on the agenda at the terminal
Ecological aspects were also considered from the start of construction. A photovoltaic system mounted on the roof of the building is the largest of its kind at Frankfurt Airport. It feeds more than 1.5 million kWh of sustainable solar energy per year.
The climate aspect is complemented by a fleet of electric powered vehicles operated by Swissport within the 17,000m2 terminal. “Although our traditional colors as a Swiss company are red and white, the Frankfurt facility is very green,” manager Dieter emphasizes.
Utilization of the building is very high, he says. While exports run smoothly, there are sometimes delayed deliveries for imports. This is due to the large number of small packages leading to Himalayan volumes whose handling is very time-consuming, he reports.
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