Europe: Airport focus

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Airport focus: Amsterdam Schiphol

Volumes grew 3.2% in 2013, taking Schiphol close to its 2007 all-time record, as the global economy and consumer confidence continued to recover. Head of cargo Enno Osinga says the airport’s “three-pronged strategy” – process innovation, airline network development, and vertical industry penetration – helped the airport out-perform other major European gateways in retaining and creating business.

Osinga is mildly optimistic about 2014. “The steady growth trend throughout the second half of 2013, along with signs of a return to the tradional Q4 traffic peak, and a universal warming of confidence among our airline and logistics customers, leads us to believe that 2014 will be at least as good as 2013, and possibly better – although we are certainly not predicting any new booms,” he observes.

He says there have been many instances of significant new investments by the Schiphol Airport community in the past 12 months, particularly in perishables and life-science facilities.

Work has also continued on the E-link project, “effectively our local extension to the paperless concept of e-Freight”, says Osinga. “We are also a partner and driver in NLIP, an innovative Dutch project for sharing information along supply chains and across multiple transport modes.”

Strategic partner ACT (Amsterdam Connecting Trade) is this year also allocating the first 15 Ha of the Schiphol Trade Park, expected to attract companies from across the logistics chain.

Work on the airport’s security infrastructure also continues this year. The current ULD scanning facility has recently been upgraded by customs with the addition of a new roller-bed with increased capacity. Centralised monitoring and analysis of the remote scanners is planned for 2014, and mobile scanning teams will be introduced throughout 2014. Dutch customs are also adding a nuclear detection capability at all cargo entry points.


Frankfurt-Hahn Airport had a difficult 2013, with total freight, including transit cargo, down 27% to 152,000 tonnes. The global economic challenges caused key customer Air Cargo Germany to go into administration, and Aeroflot ceased freighter operations to focus on its bellyhold business.

Infrastructure improvements included receiving certification for the B747-8 freighter following the completion of the €4 million RESA (runway end safety area).

A special focus in 2014 will be on using the airport’s experience and expertise in handling outsized shipments and project cargo. Sales manager Christoph Goetzmann says Hahn also wants to make further use of its long history and experience working with carriers and forwarders from the Russian language area.

Berlin (SXF and TXL)

Berlin airports had a good 2013, with full-year cargo volumes up by 10%, including a 33% year-on-year increase in December, thanks to new or expanded intercontinental flights from airberlin/Etihad, Hainan, United, Miat, and Qatar.

For 2014, Berlin’s airports expect to see a further 3-4% growth, including increased airberlin frequencies to New York and Chicago from May.

Recent developments included the opening of the new BER cargo centre last August for the handling of cargo from Schönefeld Airport (SXF) and as a distribution point for scheduled road feeder services, to relieve the overcrowded Tegel (TXL). Plans for 2014 include optimising the handling areas of Wisag Cargo Service and Swissport at TXL.


Flown and trucked volumes increased 5% in 2013 to 79,000 tonnes, thanks to higher volumes from Turkish Cargo, Cargolux and Royal Jordanian Cargo. Off-line deliveries from Asia also grew substantially in connection with the recovery of the hi-tech/consumer electronics sector. The region immediately surrounding MST has several major high-tech distributors, and many of its freight forwarders specialise in servicing hi-tech customers and their European Distribution Centres.

CEO Sander Heijmans is bullish on the prospects of a continued air cargo recovery across all sectors in 2014. “Hi-tech is already showing a solid recovery and exports from the Netherlands and Germany have been growing modestly through 2013,” he says. “Therefore we expect to be able to continue to grow our current volumes with our current customers. We also have a very realistic chance to restore our direct import lanes from China with the rise in demand for MST as a destination.”

Last year saw the completion of a new 10,000 sqm handling shed, which the airport is preparing now to move into. Priorities for 2014 include continuing to work towards becoming a centre of excellence for hi-tech products, “offering high-security and very flexible services”, including a TAPA-certified first-line airport handling facility.