Until now, Germany was uncharted territory on the global map of Dubai-based handling giant, DNATA. Today, however (06APR22), the company announced the acquisition (100%) of Wisskirchen Handling Services at Cologne-Bonn Airport. The deal is subject to final confirmation by the relevant competition authorities.
Exactly two months ago (06FEB22), CargoForwarder Global reported that DNATA is interested in taking over the handling business of local player, Wisskirchen, at Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2022/02/06/dnata-paves-the-way-for-new-amsterdam-cargo-city/
According to people close to the case, the price paid to Wisskirchen owner, Oliver Hellwig for the sale of his long-term handling concession including its assets, is around 4 to 4.5 million euros. Proprietor of the freight terminal is Cologne/Bonn Airport, so the facility is excluded from the deal.
CGN major clients are integrators
Whether DNATA ultimately paid this sum is unclear, as the parties involved do not provide any information on the financial details of their accord. Other figures and facts are better known, however. Through the takeover, DNATA will become the exclusive operator of the Cologne Bonn Cargo Center (CBCC), comprising 12,000 m² and offering direct apron access. Last year, the 180 staff of the CBCC handled 85,000 tons of air freight, including perishables, pharmaceuticals, dangerous goods, electronics, and fast-moving consumer goods, as well as general cargo.
With its investment, DNATA has secured a strong foothold in the highly industrialized and booming cargo market of the Rhine-Ruhr area, becoming CGN’s exclusive ground handling agent.
CGN offers freight carriers 24/7 ops
Cologne/Bonn Airport is the third largest airport in Germany in terms of cargo operations, and offers the market significant capacity for further growth. It operates 24/7/365, and hosts the 3 large integrators: UPS, FedEx, and DHL Express, which contribute the lion’s share to the throughput. However, since they handle their shipments inhouse, that integrator business is unattainable for DNATA. Last year, cargo handled at CGN increased by 14% year-over-year, a new all-time record, of which express services accounted for the bulk of the volume.
DNATA sees great potential to develop CGN further
Following the inking of the acquisition, Stewart Angus, DNATA’s Regional CEO for Europe, said that the takeover “is part of our continued broader investment in cargo infrastructure. Since 2014, we have invested in nine new cargo facilities in Europe. We look forward to playing our role in the next stage of development of Cologne/Bonn Airport as a major cargo hub, and I would like to thank Oliver Hellwig for his professionalism during this process.”
A key factor, however, will be whether DNATA succeeds in retaining Amazon as a major Wisskirchen customer at the CBCC. This is questionable because the U.S. e-tailer is currently investing heavily in setting up its own sorting and distribution centers, for example in the vicinity of Düsseldorf Airport, located 40 km north of CGN.
On the other hand, the ground handler could try to motivate some of its global accounts such as Qatar Cargo, Singapore Airlines, or Air India, to integrate Cologne/Bonn into their intercontinental network if flight rights permit.
CGN is Germany’s 3rd largest cargo airport
Thilo Schmid, the newly appointed Chairman of the Executive Board of Cologne Bonn Airport, thanked DNATA for its commitment “that will help to further increase the efficiency in cargo handling in our Cargo Center.” The manager went on to say that it is proof of the great attractiveness of Cologne/Bonn Airport and confirms its leading role as the most important logistics hub in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.
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