The freight forwarders are increasingly putting their mark on the logistics industry. This is the courtship for Liege Airport wishes to pursue. Hence, VP Marketing & Sales Torsten Wefers (TW) and Communication Manager Christian Delcourt (CD) have their work cut out for the years to come.
CFG: Mr Wefers, what path would you like LGG to follow?
TW: Our focus will be on further growth on the commercial side, making contacts with the potential clients. For a couple of years, the focus in the logistics market has been shifting to the forwarder side. Not only is there a trend of consolidation into larger groups within this segment, but there is also a sharp increase in forwarder-controlled flights.
CD: Equally important is the further development of second-line handling at Cargo North. We have an agreement with SOWAER (Société Wallonne des Aéroports, the company that owns the infrastructure of the Walloon airports, cfg) providing to make LGG the leader of the economic development in the area. We have a very important focus on keeping control on the 1st line with dedicated services for airlines and handlers. Bearing in mind that Liege Airport Business Park is a subsidiary of the airport means that we control the entire area.
TW: This fact enables LGG to offer tailor-made solutions. This is really unique within the industry: an airport that has all the tools and the control.
Freighters will prevail
CFG: Contrary to other airports, Liege Airport does not have any belly-carrying passenger flights, that could support short-haul on-forwarding. Does that not put you at a disadvantage, especially when more trucking is needed?
TW: I don’t see this as a negative. Our focus was, is and will always be on freighters. Besides, having no short-haul flights takes away a lot of noise. Compared to other airports our ratio of tonnage per flight is really impressive. We transport more with less flights. As for trucking, most of the volume is consolidated.
CFG: Last year, there were some complaints about capacity constraints at LGG. Has this problem been addressed?
TW: We do not have the same capacity constraints as last year. In fact, there was no major cargo airport in Europe that did not have them. This being said, on my to do list is operational quality.
CD: All handlers have had a big improvement in their quality, by upgrading their facilities and processes, training etc. The airport is supporting this.
TW: We also have to reinforce digitization, by building an IT platform. In this respect, we are talking to various providers, but no decision has been taken so far. This is a process that needs some thinking. Therefore, we have drawn up a digitization map. Given the appointment of myself, a new CEO and a new IT director you could say that the entire decision-making process has been refreshed.
CFG: Is Liege Airport sufficiently known within the global air cargo community?
TW: I have the impression that LGG has a very strong brand. We are still the new kid in the block, having started as an underdog.
CD: I must admit that Liege Airport is not of much interest for the Flemish region, in spite of its value as a logistics hub.
TW: We are still working on our brand and image and we will continue doing what we have been doing over the last few years. Our trump cards are impressive:
we have an airport, a rail port, a inland port and excellent road connections. Within the Belgian context there is the port of Antwerp-Bruges.
Together we can show value and knowledge about logistics activities. The freight forwarders are taking the lead and they will decide. Within this environment it is imperative that the strong players cooperate to make it even stronger. This is no marketing talk. We have big assets and advantages, which are all being used and are all working.
Marcel Schoeters in Liege
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