“The times, they are a’changin”, are the words of a Bob Dylan song from 1964. The message fully applies to the Hungarian branch of cargo-partner, a subsidiary of Vienna, Austria-based logistics agent, cargo-partner. The Hungarian arm of the forwarding company has been present in the country for more than 25 years but entered a completely new era, three years ago.
To be precise: It all changed in NOV19. That month, the Hungarian branch of cargo-partner moved from its former, structurally unattractive, and rather small freight facility, located roughly five
kilometers off the airport, to Budapest’s newly erected and inaugurated (that same month) cargo complex on airport. Since then, local freight forwarders and cargo ground handlers have relocated
to the airport, making use of the floor space of the large, state-of-the-art, handling warehouse, or they have rented office rooms in an adjacent building which houses forwarding agents.
BUD meets the needs of its cargo customers
For cargo-partner Hungary, the step resembled a leap in time from the past century to the present, compared to its former station off airport. The agent has rented floor space totaling 1,200 m² to process shipments, and an office wing for the staff, measuring 450 m². cargo-partner was one of the first tenants, as were ground handlers Menzies Aviation and Kuehne+Nagel. “The large and very modern facilities for freight processing, and the entire ground infrastructure at BUD Airport meet the needs of forwarding agents and ground handlers,” applauds Domonkos Molnár, Regional Product Manager Air Cargo for Central and Eastern Europe at cargo-partner. Next year, the facilities will be enlarged due to increased demand, the airport management announced.
Large catchment area
According to the cargo-partner manager, his company meanwhile ranks amongst the top players in air freight and logistics services rendered to the Hungarian market and beyond. “Our catchment area stretches from the Baltic region to the Balkans, including high potential markets in the CEE area, such as Poland,” he illustrates.
The soaring air freight business is mainly the result of a chartering deal with a Moldovan cargo carrier, inked in MAR20 [Due to a non-disclosure agreement, cargo partner has asked us not to mention the name of the freight airline in this report, HS]. The accord foresees that the carrier operates regular charter flights on behalf of cargo-partner on routes between China and Budapest, by deploying Boeing 747-400 freighters. This includes two round trips per week linking Zhengzhou and Budapest, complemented by two weekly import flights taking off from Hong Kong to the Hungarian capital. “Thanks to the deal, we have secured significant air capacity which we are offering our customers for their goods,” states Mr. Molnár.
Compared to Vienna, Munich, Zurich, or Frankfurt, the costs of transporting cargo shipments door-to-door, coming from China and destined to central Europe, are cheaper in Budapest, mainly thanks to favorable fees and overall cost advantages, holds Attila Becze, Director Sub-Region Hungary and Romania. However, the import-export ratio is unbalanced, with 70% of the entire air freight processed at BUD consisting of incoming shipments. These are mostly raw materials and semi-finished goods, which are then processed in one of the numerous industrial plants that have settled in Hungary in recent years.
Unbalanced import/export ratio
Trucks transport the products to their final EU destinations, or to North or South European ports to be shipped overseas. These specific industrial conditions explain the negative import/export ratio in air freight handled in BUD, Mr. Becze says, since most imports are trucked and not flown from Budapest if their final destination is within Europe.
Last year, cargo-partner’s Budapest station turned over 100 million euros. “In 2022, we expect this to increase to 140 million euros, which includes air freight, ocean freight, road, and rail transports; so, all traffic modes including ground handling and other services rendered,” forecasts Attila Becze.
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