Responsible growth is the way forward

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Responsible growth is the way forward


It’s been a busy year for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The Dutch airport processed 837,671 tonnes of cargo from January to June 2021, up 27.7% on the same period last year. There was 572,111 tonnes carried on freighter flights, up 23.4% on the first half of last year and 265,560 tonnes in bellyhold, up 38.10% on the same period last year.

“Although we see an increase in passenger numbers, airlines still realise that cargo is a very important business in these challenging times,” David van der Meer, cargo partnership director, Schiphol told ACW. “This results in a slight shift to directing time and resources to the revival of pax flights, but it is a limited shift at this point and we expect it to remain limited for some time to come.”

Airport of the Year

Not only have cargo operations boomed but Schiphol also scooped up the Airport of the Year award at ACW’s World Air Cargo Awards back in May.

“The award means a great deal, we feel supported by our local air cargo community partners but also internationally we feel supported to carry on with our efforts to surpass expectations in our air cargo performance.

“We also greatly appreciate the good work that the ACW organisation yearly puts into this event to make it happen. I think it safe to say that we all miss our friends and hopefully we can catch up again soon face-to-face!”

The cargo team, which was recently restructured, are riding the momentum built during the first half of the year. From the March 1, the airport restructured the cargo division and brought its new Aviation Business Development Division under the umbrella of business unit Airport Operations and Aviation Partnerships.

“Our organisational changes were on the one the hand driven by the COVID-19 crisis, but were initiated internally: Schiphol aims to work more efficiently and our primary interest is to have our customers benefit from achieving our goal. In regards to operations, our restructuring brought Cargo directly into our operations department. This allows shorter lines of communication, directly to the benefit of our customers,” said van der Meer.

He added that the Airport’s recent investments solidify this commitment to put customers first.

“The most concrete example of recent investments into cargo infrastructure is the Airport’s recent acquisition of Cargonaut, which is a company that aims to facilitate and optimise the exchange of information about the cargo process to all stakeholders involved. Schiphol will renew Cargonaut’s Port Community System (PCS), incorporating suggestions from its users and future-proofing it for the cargo community.

In addition we are reinvigorating our Smart Cargo Mainport Programme. This programme entails several subprojects, mainly aimed at introducing hands-on solutions to digitalise the cargo process. The programme is a community effort in which Schiphol takes the lead.

Zero emissions and zero waste

In terms of growth for the cargo business, we need to see it coincide with our integral strategy. As Schiphol is a congested major airport, we face the same challenges as our competitors: growth comes at a cost. We aim to grow but to do so responsibly, in line with our ambition to become a zero-emissions and zero-waste airport in 2030.

“To achieve our goal, we’ll be working with the cargo community as a whole, keeping in mind that responsible growth is the way forward.”