Swissport opens new FRA air cargo warehouse and pharma centre

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Swissport has opened a brand-new air cargo facility at Frankfurt Airport today. The 17,000 sq m warehouse with an integrated Swissport Pharma Center is equipped with state-of-the-art handling technology and has direct tarmac access. An automated material handling system ensures efficient air cargo handling and storage while the FAIR@Link slot booking app controls the access of trucks and optimises workflows.

With the new building, Swissport increases its handling capacity by about 50% compared to the former facility at Frankfurt´s Cargo City South logistics district. The integrated Swissport Pharma Center covers 1,560 sq m, expanding the space reserved for temperature-controlled shipments by a factor of seven. 1,300 sq m are dedicated for shipments which require a 15°C to 25°C storage temperature, 260 sq m are available for pharmaceuticals in the 2° to 8°C range. An additional 2,400 sq m of office space will be available for the head office of Swissport Cargo Services Germany and administrative and operational roles. The building will also be home to the operations offices for Air France-KLM, Swissport’s main customer in Frankfurt. The warehouse, locally known as FRA544, was built in time in less than a year after the ground breaking in November 2019.

The additional space and the prime location of FRA544 enables Swissport to expand its customer portfolio and handle the anticipated increase of freight volumes for standard cargo and pharmaceuticals, including a COVID-19 vaccine which is expected to enter global distribution in the coming months.

“We are delighted to service our customers at this state-of-the-art facility, which adds to our global network of 115 warehouses and 14 Swissport Pharma Centers”, says Rudolf Steiner, head of cargo for the EMEA region.

Swissport has signed a long-term lease agreement for the new location and has invested heavily in digitalisation and equipment, including an all-electric powered fleet of ground service vehicles for the handling of shipments inside the warehouse. To raise the efficiency of the handling processes, unit load devices (ULD) are stored and retrieved by an automated material handling system (MHS) with a storage capacity of 115 main deck ULDs. The photovoltaic system on the roof of the building is the largest of its kind at Frankfurt Airport. It feeds more than 1.5 million kWh of sustainable solar energy per year, making it one of the most sustainable airport buildings.

“The combination of sustainable infrastructure, innovative technologies and digitalized processes ensures we are optimally positioned for the future,” says Henning Dieter, head of Swissport Cargo Services Germany. “I am very proud of this joint achievement, which will greatly benefit our customers and our employees.”

To guarantee the efficient and automated handling of trucks delivering and picking up goods, Swissport relies on the “slot booking procedure” of FAIR@Link. It will make sure Swissport receives information about planned truck deliveries and collections with more lead time and improved accuracy. This allows for efficient resource planning, helps avoid peaks and mitigates the risk of congestion at the counters and ramps. FAIR@Link will in future also support Swissport with regards to the management of empty ULD and road feeder services (RFS/trucking).