Success is no fairy tale for Denmark

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When it comes to Danish airfreight, Copenhagen airport dominates. It handles 90 per cent of total Danish exports and imports compared to other airports in the country and is used by global logistics providers such as DHL, Kuehne & Nagel and Fedex as their Nordic airfreight hub, writes David Craik.

In 2017, the airport handled 365,431 tonnes of air cargo compared with 347,000 in 2016. To the end of May 2018, it has handled around 114,000 tonnes. It has been boosted by new direct routes between Denmark and emerging economies such as Air India to New Delhi, Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and Air China to Beijing.

Worldwide Flight Services, the world’s biggest air cargo handler, has also opened a new temperature-controlled facility in Copenhagen and won the contract to handle the cargo operating on the three times weekly Air India Boeing 787 flights to Delhi.

Further growth is expected at Copenhagen. Last year its plan for a proposed Airport Business Park was approved meaning it will build an area of 150,000 square metres for a logistics park, doubling air cargo capacity from 500,000 to one million tonnes annually.

Last November, Copenhagen also signed an agreement with the German developer AXXUS Capital to develop a brand-new air cargo centre occupying around 20,000 square metres and with a big focus on refrigerated and pharmaceutical facilities.

“We see huge potential in developing air cargo at Copenhagen. In the coming years there will be an even greater need for air cargo facilities for handling the growing cargo volumes to and from China and other places,” said Axxus CEO Markus Wolf at the time.

Head of supply chain and logistics, Paul Dhami at Copenhagen Capacity, which drives investment in Greater Copenhagen, says both the airports and surrounding infrastructure is driving present and future demand.

“The airport is growing rapidly including the Airport Business Park and Axxus development, but we are also seeing more infrastructure improvements in railways, tunnels and motorways connecting Copenhagen with other Nordic countries and to Germany,” he says.

“Norway and Southern part of Sweden use Copenhagen Airport for air cargo due to its connectivity worldwide and improvements in infrastructure and logistics parks. The easy access to sea- and airport and fast customs clearance also play an important role, which were some of the decisive factors for Unicef placing one of their global warehouses in Copenhagen.”

He adds: “The Nordic region is the fourth biggest purchaser of e-commerce goods in Europe boosted by our advanced digital infrastructure and broadband coverage. Again, this is driving air cargo demand and logistic investments from global providers into Copenhagen.”

Aarhus-based freight forwarder Martin Bencher entered the air freight market in 2014 and has seen an ever-increasing demand for its services.

“Many of our clients use us for big project movements of cranes and other big machinery,” says Martin Bencher general manager for airfreight Mikkel Kristensen.

“[Our clients] recognise that airfreight means shorter transit times than at sea. That has been a real driving force behind or growth.” Kristensen says airfreight volumes have jumped by around 50 per cent in the last 12 months compared to an overall Danish air freight rise of 15 per cent.

“Our main customers are manufacturers, paper industry producers moving machinery, wind energy firms, aircraft parts and automotive. We are moving these products to primarily Asia but also the US, South America and the Middle East. Danish companies are in greater demand from global markets especially wind turbine components which are heavily produced in Denmark.”

Bollore Logistics has also shown appetite for expansion in the Danish market. In January it took a majority stake in Danish freight forwarder Global Solutions to help it better serve its key Danish and Scandinavian customers.

“We support Danish companies in their international development and logistics projects, particularly in Africa,” Bollore Logistics CEO Europe Henri Le Gouis, said at the time.

Speaking to Air Cargo Week, Bolloré Logistics current managing director of Global Solutions Thomas Toubro, adds: “Being the biggest logistics provider in Africa with its own offices in 46 countries for aid/relief and commercial business will be a natural area for us to grow. We are already in talks with leading Danish companies on business to Africa in shape of projects and demand for warehousing/distribution. The group holds large contracts with airlines to the African continent that we can use.”

It is also seeing growth in e-commerce, electronics and textiles. Indeed. Toubro personally visited Myanmar earlier this year after identifying it as one of the countries to where textile production could be moved to from Denmark.

“Bolloré Logistics is present in the country with both sea, airfreight and excellent warehouse operations and we believe that a number of European companies looking into Myanmar options,” Toubro says.

“With China focusing on the domestic market some Danish companies have moved or considered moving production from China to other areas in the Far East or even pulled back to Europe.”