Four axes to secure long term growth at Groupe ADP

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To secure long-term growth of cargo at the Paris airports, Groupe ADP has a cargo strategy based on four axes, Marc Houalla, executive director and director of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport tells Air Cargo Week.

The four axes are recovering traffic, commitment to better quality of service and a more attractive cargo zone, promotion of air cargo transport and plan the development of the cargo business over the long term.

Houalla says the fourth axe is important to attract pharmaceutical flows with high added value and “as true growth drivers for the cargo business”.

Houalla says: “In summer 2016, Groupe ADP, working with IATA, launched an initiative that enables the Paris- Charles de Gaulle cargo community to obtain CEIV Pharma certification; this has become the standard certification in response to increasing demand from the pharmaceutical industry.”

The first phase, co-financed by Groupe ADP was launched on 27 January 2017 included 10 cargo partners representing the cargo chain. Two additional partners obtained certification in 2018.

Houalla says: “Similarly, work has been undertaken to create labels or initiate certification of other French sectors of excellence in order to develop flows around these high value-added products.”

In 2018, exports from Parisian airports, covering Charles de Gaulle and Orly were over 1.2 million tonnes and imports were over one million. Perishables have an important place in French foreign trade, while other products are also important such as pharmaceuticals, agri-foods.

Houalla cites consulting firm Utopies’ study, which said most exports from Paris-Orly are machinery and equipment, chemicals, metallurgy, fashion and textiles, with imports of cardboard, printing and machinery. At Charles de Gaulle (CDG), the main products are AOG, aeronautical parts and pharmaceuticals.

Houalla comments: “We observe also a clear raise in e-commerce parcels to which we adapt our infrastructures.”

In 2018, the Paris airports handled 2.25 million tonnes of cargo, down 1.9% on 2018. Cargo at CDG was up 1.8% to 2.16 million tonnes while Orly was down 4.8% to 95,000 tonnes.

Houalla says that 2018 was the first year since 2011 when there was a decrease in the proportion of cargo on passenger aircraft with an increase in freighter traffic. 56% of cargo was carried in passenger aircraft in 2018, down from 60% in 2017 while cargo aircraft carried 44%, up from 40%.

Houalla says: “The explanation is no doubt the combination of three factors: 1) an +2.3% increase in all-cargo movements and therefore the related hold capacities (compared to stability over the previous years); 2) an +2% increase in passenger luggage on wide-bodied aircraft, reducing the residual hold capacities for Cargo transport and 3) an overall -1.8% decrease in cargo tonnage.”

Cargo volumes on passenger aircraft still exceeds that transported on freighter flights. Houalla says: “The strategy of the major cargo transporters, consisting of taking advantage of the significant hold capacities in passenger aircraft in order to optimise the revenue/cost mix, is not called into question.”

He adds: “This strategy of using “passenger” holds rather than all-cargo aircraft holds is also made possible by the change in aircraft and the high frequencies and connections offered by the Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub.”

Another area of focus for Groupe ADP is partnerships with other major cargo airports to develop trade flows, by setting up corridors for strategic segments.

Groupe ADP signed two cooperation agreements in 2018, firstly with Hong Kong in June, followed by a second one with Dallas Fort Worth at the TIACA Air Cargo Forum in Toronto in October.

Edouard Mathieu, development director for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport tells Air Cargo Week: “The aim is to build a world, premium quality, end-to end services network with the partner airports, for specific goods. This objective also requires working with other airport partners in the logistics chain, such as air transporters, customs services, etc.”

As the coordinator of a cargo community with more than 200 companies in addition to government services, Groupe ADP is supporting initiatives to facilitate processing and handling operations.

One project is the electronic data exchange platform Cargo Community System, developed by Cargo Information Network France and Group GDP to trace cargo operations at the airport.

Mathieu says: “The success of the deployment is evidenced by the fact that 115 airlines and 80 cargo forwarding agents are already using it. This exchange platform pertains to the logic of e-freight.”

He adds: “This project, conducted with the Roissy Interregional Customs Service, will reduce the number of paper documents that accompany each shipment.”

An airside equipment geolocation system has also been launched, along with a quarantined export animal station. This year will see the first “innovation challenge” for start-ups and SMEs to invent and design new solutions to be deployed at the Paris airports.

One more project is worth a mention, Mathieu says: “Groupe ADP is a member of the “Roissy Carex” association, which was created to study the economic and technical feasibility of a high-speed cargo rail connection to the Paris-Charles de Gaulle platform.”

Houalla says as an airport operator, Groupe ADP unites the cargo ecosystem to foster growth for all members. The group has invested in rebuilding a professional air cargo association, ACFA (Air Cargo France Association) to help promote France’s air cargo and highlight the economy, geographical position, infrastructure and technological innovation.

Houalla says: “Moreover, by coordinating air-cargo-community studies that bring together airline companies, handling agents, forwarding agents and all the players involved in the logistics chain, ACFA aims to contribute to improving the service provided to air-cargo customers in France.”

He says that an IATA study on French attractiveness identified five key areas of the ease of doing business being identified including cargo facilitation.

Houalla says: “These measures enhance shippers’ experience by enabling the seamless cross-border movement of goods. While France scores below the European average for overall Cargo Facilitation all the recent initiatives on facilitation of cargo movement will increase the scores and overall air transport regulatory competitiveness of France in the future.”