Asian market still a key focus for Germany

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Frankfurt Airport

Despite concerns about China with its stock market problems, German companies are still looking towards Asia as a market for continued growth.

At Berlin’s airports, about 50 per cent of exports is destined for Asia. Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, which operates the gateways, exported 6,950 tonnes to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, followed by 6,800 tonnes to Beijing Capital International Airport in 2014.

At the start of 2015, Yangtze River Express moved German operations from Frankfurt Hahn Airport to Munich Airport, which was good for the latter but bad for the former. Frankfurt Hahn general manager, Markus Bunk, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW): “2015 didn’t offer a great start for Frankfurt Hahn as Yangtze River Express, decided to leave the airport.”

Bunk says though China is an important market, the airport will continue to look elsewhere for growth opportunities. He explains to ACW: “We think it is time to look at other, maybe smaller but interesting markets with a high potential for the future. We keep a wary eye on the present and future developments in these markets.”

Munich Airport saw an 11.6 per cent increase in cargo volumes in the first six months of 2015, helped by Yangtze River Express moving from Frankfurt Hahn. Airport operator, Flughafen Munich director for cargo traffic development, Markus Heinelt, tells ACW the airport has seen a boom for the Southern German market and Yangtze is an important growth driver.

Leipzig-Halle Airport (pictured) has seen cargo volumes grow by 8.1 per cent up to August this year to 640,000 tonnes and is expecting more of the same for the rest of 2015. Leipzig-Halle’s operator, Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding head of business development for cargo logistics, Mario Patyk, explains to ACW: “We are expecting a significant increase in the last quarter too. The assumption is based on the growth in export volumes from Germany to China and a spurt at the end of the year in express operations, powered by business at Christmas time.”

Lufthansa Cargo says Asian markets are proving challenging and it sees Africa as driving growth. The carrier’s vice president area management for Germany, J. Florian Pfaff (pictured), says: “Most challenging is the business on routes to the Americas and Asia, especially China and Japan, whereas Africa and the Middle East are performing quite well. For 2015 we expect a stable development of the market. Africa will most likely remain a growth driver.”

Pfaff tells ACW imports from Asia to Germany are mainly perishables and electronics while exports from Germany consist of machine parts, medical products and automotive parts and equipment.

Fraport Cargo Services (FCS), which handles cargo at Frankfurt Airport, says 2015 has been successful so far, boosted by a contract with China Southern Airlines. FCS general manager, Andreas Helfer, tells ACW tonnage has risen by 12 per cent despite reduced frequencies to Malaysia and Taiwan. He says: “Our major customers, have done well in significantly increasing their volumes and market share in Frankfurt, which also reflected that our growth was above market average.”