TIACA ES: Airport communities are the future of air cargo

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A growing trend in the air cargo industry is the forming of airport freight communities and key decision makers believe for industry to be a success in future then further development of them is essential, writes Justin Burns.

On the second day of The International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) Executive Summit in Miami on 20 October, the community approach was discussed at length in the session ‘Building Airport Communities’.

TIACA chairman and Delhi International Airport head of cargo, Sanjiv Edward was behind the development of a community in Delhi back in 2012 and hailed the success of the initiative.

He told delegates: “We realised there is loads you can do on your own, but unless you have people working together you will not get anywhere. All parts of the supply chain are part of it. Everyone is represented and we have got the voice of everyone.”

“If you want to progress then airport communities are a necessity. The government listens because we come as one voice,” he added.

Edward said Delhi is also sharing best practices with other gateways in India on how to develop air cargo airport communities.

Frankfurt Airport’s (FRA) Air Cargo Community Frankfurt continues to go from strength to strength and improve efficiency at FRA.

The operator is Fraport and the firm’s senior vice president of cargo Felix Kreutel said communities are the “best way to fully optimise” airport freight businesses.

The panel was chaired by Brussels Airport Company head of cargo, Steven Polmans, who then asked panelists what they see the role of the airport is in regards to the air cargo chain.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol head of cargo, Jonas Van Stekelenburg said he sees hubs as having a functionality role: “I think because of the all these that are different, we need somebody (airports) to oversee it all and have some kind of neutrality.”

Kreutel felt airports have to facilitate and enable the best possible conditions for companies to do business and it is about creating efficiency, quality and optimising the whole business.

Stekelenburg also added he thinks there is an even greater role for airports to play in the supply chain, citing how Schiphol is working with Dutch Customs on various projects.

Kreutel agreed: “We can add more to the supply chain. We as an airport can orchestrate the players and harmonise and sychronise the processes. We can contribute to standards.” He added: “For shippers, airports are black holes and communities create new visibility.”

And Edward said TIACA can in future play an important role, as it can help bring airport communities together to work collaboratively as its members come from across the supply chain.