Luxembourg is one of Europe’s principal airfreight gateways and handling agent LuxairCARGO is at the forefront of activities, and is the eighth largest air cargo platform on the continent.
Air Cargo Week spoke to the handler’s executive vice president, Lauren Jossart about how LuxairCARGO is performing along with plans and to get his future outlook for the industry.
Justin Burns, ACW: How did LuxairCARGO perform in 2015?
Jossart: Volumes increased by almost five per cent to 760,000 tonnes, which means a surplus of 35,000 tonnes compared to 2014. However, the end of the year peak was tremendous (plus nine per cent). Our best week was in November with a 16 per cent increase compared to the same week in 2014.
Justin Burns, ACW: What is your forecast for tonnage this year?
Jossart: We expect for 2016 a more moderate growth, which conservatively has been estimated to be an additional 20,000 tonnes, which would be a 2.5 per cent increase.
Justin Burns, ACW: How will this be achieved?
Jossart: Our aim is to make available the best possible conditions in terms of:
1) Infrastructure: GDP certified Pharma Center, high capacity AVI station, high sensitive shipment storage areas (CCTV surveillance)
2) Processes: dedicated dangerous goods (DGR) handling processes, integrated forwarders handling processes, integrated ramp-handling processes etc.
3) People: specialised outsized cargo handling teams.
4) Trucking network: provide competitive and efficient trucking solutions to more than 50 different European destinations to support the operations of our customers.
Our focus will be on time, cost and quality. A major focus will be on streamlining the processes to avoid unproductive inefficiencies.
Justin Burns, ACW: Where are you planning on making investments in?
Jossart: During 2015 we invested in a first phase of the extension of our outsized handling area and in 2016, we will construct another shelter to accommodate under best possible conditions the increasing volumes of non-standard shipments (HEA). We plan to have additional covered and secured warehouse space for sensitive outsized shipments to prepare the ground for our customers to offer additional high value niche products through Luxembourg.
Our overall investment budget for next year surmounts to seven million euros including infrastructures, equipment and advanced training for our staff.
Justin Burns, ACW: Do you think cargo handling consolidation will continue?
Jossart: As you can see, some of the traditional carriers are no longer investing in replacement of their fleet of ageing cargo aircraft and concentrate on belly freight.
Therefore, we assume for those shipments, which will need freighter capacities (outsized shipments, AVI and DGR), the market shares will consolidate on a few airports providing an extensive network with adequate capacities.
In this sector, Luxembourg is well positioned and therefore also our focus suitable infrastructures and handling equipment to accommodate those commodities.
Justin Burns, ACW: What are the challenges for air cargo handlers in the future?
Jossart: Again, time, cost and quality. To do better than today, it requires innovation and more partnership and cooperation among all players of the air cargo logistic chain: airline, forwarder, road feeder services and handler. We need to keep up with other transportation modes to extend the advantage of air cargo.
Justin Burns, ACW: How important is the adoption of e-freight and technology?
Jossart: E-freight and technology are very important to improve time, cost and quality. You will neither significantly reduce the flight time nor the ground time for the physical handling part.
But by reducing the manual information transfer and providing accurate and timely automated information prior to the arrival of the aircraft and/or the truck, the ground handling agent can better steer the operation and thus reduce idle time of shipments sitting on the ground in a warehouse waiting for the documentation to be prepared before the next step of the supply chain can start.
E-freight and technology will help to keep the cargo flowing, reduce unproductive work steps with the help of automated steering tools of the physical handling steps and provide a more transparent supply chain to the end customers.
Justin Burns, ACW: Where do you see the air cargo industry in 10 years time?
Jossart: We are rather confident about the future of the air cargo industry and optimistic innovation will bring us the necessary tools to defend our position and thus continue to play an important role in the supply chain of the global trade.