Air Cargo: 2020: Working together for a sustainable future

As we look back on 2019 and establish goals for 2020, we are feeling optimistic at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

It has been well documented that the past two years have been challenging for us, our partners, and the cargo community as we have operated under slot restricted conditions leading to a rethink of how we conduct our business.

At the start of this year, we were hoping that the decline in full freighter movements in 2018 would not be repeated in 2019, but after recording a similar decline this year we have had to accept the reality of the situation and see how we should respond to this.

This has resulted in a revised Cargo Approach to protect the full freighters and an increased focus on sustainability to ensure the future of cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

We have also witnessed how the cargo community and the team here at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol have worked together despite the challenges, which has ultimately made us stronger and ready to move forward.

The end of a year is always a time of reflection and planning for the coming 12 months, and we are looking forward to continue to working together to create smarter and greener cargo operations.

A Cargo Strategy for a new era

Cargo is fundamental for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a Mainport for the Netherlands and is crucial to ensure the long-haul network has a viable future.

We acknowledge that business is different at a slot constrained airport and the main focus of the revised Cargo Approach is to maintain and grow our existing cargo network.

There are several ways in which we are approaching this.

Our main priority is to protect the full freighters at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and we are seeking a structural solution to allocate a fixed number of slots to maintain full freighter flights by stressing the value of cargo to the economy of the Netherlands.

Furthermore, to utilise the maximum capacity available on planes we are ensuring that capacity is as full as possible, which will result in a more sustainable approach towards the business of cargo.

We are also continuing to transform Amsterdam Airport Schiphol into the smartest cargo hub in Europe through the Smart Cargo Mainport Program (SCMP), which is a programme of optimisation initiatives to become paperless, encourage collaboration, and improve data sharing and transparency.

We are working with partners on ongoing projects, such as the Ideal Flowerbox, which is a concept from the Holland Flower Alliance to reduce wastage and optimise capacity in the flower supply chain through the use of a standardised box and pallet.

Pilot results already show a promising average extra load of 15 per cent of flowers when using the same aircraft capacity.

Working towards a sustainable future

For the period after 2020, we intend to reach a new agreement to enable moderate sustainable growth in balance with the environment and the local community.

But we have to earn this growth and we can only do that by adopting a more sustainable approach to cargo.

That is where SCMP comes in with SCMP projects including Landside Pickup and Delivery to reduce throughput time in the cargo chain, Automated Nomination to utilise smart software algorithms to identify and deliver goods quicker, and the Compliance Checker, which is a tool to speed up the customs process for exporting goods.

Digitalisation, collaboration, and data sharing are the key components of SCMP and after welcoming Edwin Wenink as the new Program Manager earlier this year, there is now an additional dedicated sustainability track to align the initiatives with the revised Cargo Approach.

Sustainability is fundamental for the future success of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and with the revision of the SCMP, plus the support of our partners, we are confident that we can reach our goal of becoming the smartest and most sustainable cargo hub in Europe.

Finally, as digitisation and data become increasingly more important, we are also aiming to take more control and ownership of Cargonaut to ensure our ambition will be fully supported.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners and the cargo community for their hard work and patience during this past year.

By working together and taking a proactive approach to a challenging situation, we are looking forward to 2020 as we continue to implement our revised cargo approach.

Wishing you all happy holidays during this festive season and a very prosperous new year!

Maaike van der Windt
Director Route Development, Cargo and Customer Experience