Through the signing of a Best Effort Declaration on 18SEP23, the Schiphol (SPL) air cargo community renews its efforts to extensively digitalize the landside process. The aim is to have the system ready by mid-2024, to reach full implementation on the handlers’ side in the year after.
In spite of an earlier attempt to tackle the problem, lengthy waiting times for trucks are still a problem at SPL as well as at air cargo hubs the whole world over. The signing parties, Air Cargo Netherlands, its Sector Councils FENEX (forwarders) and Ground Handlers, as well as Schiphol Group and Smart Cargo Mainport Program (SCMP), admit that “for years, we have regularly seen long waiting times in the air cargo delivery and collection chain at Schiphol. These up expenses for parties involved in the chain, impact the environment, and are demoralizing for employees. Attempts to structurally reduce waiting times have, to date, had little effect.”
“Some years ago, a project named Easy (Export Aanlever Systeem) was launched, which ran aground quite fast because, in spite of the fact that it worked technically, it lacked an underlying commitment regime,” says Managing Director, Maarten van As of Air Cargo Netherlands. “How far in advance can you book a slot? What if you’re late or too early? What if the handler does not respect the time agreed? These kind of business rules are essential for success or failure.”
The aim of the joint declaration is to establish clear business regulations that will make digital planning between handling agents and air cargo truckers possible and binding. In concrete terms, this will mean that everyone either taking cargo to, or picking cargo up at Schiphol, will first have to digitally request a time slot via a central platform.
Once allocated a time slot, parties would then go directly to the handling agent’s loading dock. Vehicles carrying cargo without having sought a time slot, will have to wait at a buffer parking lot from where they will be called once capacity is available at their local handling agent.
This new working method will require:
- Joint business rules to be managed by industry association, Air Cargo Netherlands
- Decentralized capacity planning systems at the handling agents
- A central planning portal to be developed by Cargonaut and SmartLOXS
- A buffer parking lot with a reporting/call system.
Mr. van As expects the new system to be up and running next year. “With this, the implementation at the handlers can take shape. The exact moment may be different for each handler depending
on its own IT agenda, for which they all will be given the time they need. We hope for full implementation by 2025.”
Completing the puzzle
Through the SCMP, the new system will be integrated in a more comprehensive mapping of the on- and off-forwarding chain, Maarten van As concludes. “After some concertation with all the member groups, we set out a clear path of jigsaw pieces in which we will bring together efficiency and security (aviation as well as anti-theft) within the chain (with AVSEC always being the decisive factor).
These pieces are now coming together. With Digital Planning we will make the puzzle complete.”
Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam
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