E-commerce is hot: dnata elaborates on how to handle growing e-commerce volumes:

During the 2nd ‘luchtvracht café’, the cargo community gathered at Schiphol to discuss and catch up on growing e-commerce volumes and the challenges this brings.

Saskia van Pelt, Director Business Development at Schiphol, kicked off by explaining the trends in e-commerce.

‘E-commerce is hot; each year we see e-commerce volumes rise, as consumers are more confident to shop online anywhere in the world. Countries with the highest online spend are China, the UK, and Germany.’ (Source: thuiswinkel.org).

‘The Dutch are also becoming more confident, spending 637 million euros in cross-border e-commerce shopping in 2016. For Amsterdam, China is the largest e-commerce market. The most popular items that arrive from China are related to gadgets, high-tech accessories, and low-cost fashion items. The Chinese tend to buy milk and baby powder, and high-end fashion items and cosmetics from the European market.

‘Challenges that we need to tackle as a hub are related to Customs clearance, data transparency in the chain, and processing times, as well as being able to measure exact cross-border e-commerce volumes. Last year the Cargo Community e-commerce workgroup was set up to discuss amongst each other how to best handle these issues.’

Richard Koot, project manager at dnata, took the stage after Saskia and explained how a first line ground handler serves the growing e-commerce business and how they have managed to reduce lead times by 24-48 hours.

Richard explained the importance of a fast and efficient process flow – technically e-commerce comes in as ‘regular’ air cargo which needs to be sorted, scanned, security checked, and weighed, highlighting that this process takes less than 24 hours. He stressed the importance of continually looking at process improvements and product changes in order to be able to keep up with customer demands.

dnata has managed to reduce lead times by looking closely at the entire supply chain, from the shipper, all the way to someone’s doorstep. They have managed to reduce lead times by taking out two steps in the chain; that of transport to and from the agent and storage at the agent, by arranging for import cargo to be brought directly from airside to dnata once unloaded. This is only possible by tightly monitoring flights and shipments, as well as maintaining close relationships with (‘preferred’) airlines, handlers, and forwarders.

Through these relationships information is easily shared and dnata knows what shipments are coming in, making it easier to regulate the flow and plan staff.
Richard mentioned that changing customer demands have impacted the way dnata handles e-commerce shipments; it is separated from general cargo and handled first to ensure delivery times are met. After being asked how dnata will handle growing volumes in the future, Richard commented that they are ready for the future.

Thank you Richard, for sharing your views and best practices!

After the presentation and the discussions drinks and Dutch ‘bitterballen’ were served.

Save the date! The next Luchtvracht café will take place on Thursday August 31st at 3:30 pm in the Schiphol Head Office.

Feel free to share your thoughts on topics that you would like to discuss with the Cargo Community. Send your ideas, input or feedback to cargo@schiphol.nl.