… by means of an ambitious program aimed at turning the airport's tarnished image into a positive one - with a reputation as a top cargo performer. The initiative is led by a team headed by three experienced cargo managers: Martina Schikorr from operator, Fraport, with Kai Domscheit and Janina Meininger, both from CHI Deutschland Cargo Handling GmbH. The kick-off meeting took place last Thursday (02NOV23), and was attended by leading managers from most key stakeholders.
Figures don't lie. In a preliminary survey, the air freight business in Frankfurt achieved sobering scores: Process quality, digitalization, reputation, degree of handling process
standardization, sustainability, and data availability were all below par.
Sobering results, indeed, confirms Kai Domscheit, CEO of ground operator, Cargo Handling International (CHI). It is therefore absolutely urgent that things change quickly, collectively, and now: “The good news is: what gets measured gets done and the soon to follow regular measurements and reporting will keep us focused on the road to #1 in Europe,” states Mr. Domscheit.
The questionnaire’s results illustrate the grievances that have accumulated in recent years. Even though FRA has faced repeated backlogs in air freight, staff shortages, infrastructural shortcomings, cost disadvantages compared to European peers, and process complexity, the Hub Performance Team is determined to immediately begin tackling these shortcomings. It is a mammoth task and an extremely time-consuming program, comments Felix Toepsch. He heads the Air Cargo Community Frankfurt, an organization with around 70 members from all sectors of the air freight industry.
Two competence teams, concentrating on different focal tasks, will now initiate the turnaround for the better, i.e. create tailwinds for Frankfurt’s air freight. Priorities have already been identified to convert FRA into the #1 CargoGatewayEurope by 2025, as Kai Domscheit summarizes: “Our ultimate goal has to be that, immediately when someone is faced with the challenge of getting cargo into Europe, their obvious choice and preferred solution will be FRA.”
In addition to the targets mentioned above, the team's agenda also includes external issues that are thwarting air freight processes in Frankfurt and other German airports, but which require political will in order to be solved. For example, the approval of RASCargO security controls performed by trained sniffer dogs. Based on Remote Air Sampling gained from truck loads, trained dogs sniff the filters to detect traces of explosives or drugs. Although permitted by EU law, the scheme is forbidden by regulator Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA) in Germany. This leads to the bizarre practice whereby trucking companies deviate their journeys to FRA and stop at Strasbourg or Amsterdam to have their loads secured by canines. Once done, they continue their journey to Rhein-Main Airport, where the secured goods take to the air.
These detours cost time and cause unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.
Unnecessary national hurdles
In contrast, process optimization and data sharing seem to be easier to realize than overcoming politically imposed obstacles in order to achieve the desired improvement in hub performance, says Felix Toepsch. Brussels Airport, where a platform developed by IT provider, Nallian, has been in place for some time and is used by all players, demonstrates day in, day out that data sharing massively benefits the entire air freight industry.
Hendrik Bender, CEO of ‘Haus61.com’, an important innovation incubator located within calling distance of the airport, also recommends collectively moving in this direction. Despite fierce competition, for example between the various handling agents at FRA’s CargoCity South, the common interest must prevail for the benefit of all. “If the freight cake grows in Frankfurt, everyone gets a bigger slice of it,” is the manager's credo.
“Preferred Cargo Hub in the EU”
‘Haus61.com’ partners with the local Air Cargo Community, and acts as a logistics startup accelerator where ideas, concepts, and new business models are born and practically implemented in daily cargo processes. “We are a hotbed of innovation that can play a supporting role in improving the hub's cargo performance,” emphasizes the manager.
To become the self-proclaimed ‘preferred cargo hub in Europe’ with clearly defined and implemented quality standards, the members of the Taskforce Team ‘Hub Performance’ will meet twice a month and will each invest 3 to 5 hours every single week.
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.