Frankfurt Airport: Import process is delayed

Increasing airfreight volumes meet infrastructure bottlenecks.
30/09/2021

At Europe's largest airfreight hub in Frankfurt, the infrastructure is currently unable to cope with the strong increase in freight volumes. "Shipments that are normally delivered within 24 hours sometimes have a much longer handling time due to a slowdown in ground handling," says Peter Zink, Business Development Manager Middle East and Greater China at a. hartrodt in Frankfurt. Jessica Sowieja from the three-strong Airfreight Import Frankfurt team explains why: "We have longer check-in times after landing and there is a considerable delay in receiving shipments. Groupage trucks picking up airfreight at multiple loading points break off after waiting several hours at the handling agent."

Extra manual work due to new customs program

According to Zink, the main reasons for the increase in import volumes are the year-end business and continuing problems with sea freight. The situation has come to a head since new clearance processes were implemented during ongoing operations in mid-September. "In addition, we have to check everything manually in the customs program," Sowieja reports. With increasingly small consignments, this means considerable extra work for freight forwarders and ground handling agents.

Separate truck or routings via other airports

"Because of the delayed processes at Frankfurt airport, customers should allow more time and inform us in good time, especially in the case of time-critical freight," advises Zink. The air freight import teams at a. hartrodt at all German locations will find solutions: "For example, we offer expedited shipping, whereby a separate truck takes over goods for just one customer," says Sowieja. As a further option, routings via other European airports such as Amsterdam, Li├Ęge, Luxembourg or Munich are possible. "Ultimately, the customer has to make a financial decision, because alternatives mean additional costs," underlines Zink.

From January to August 2021, airfreight volume in Frankfurt increased by 27.3 percent year-on-year to 1.5 million tons. In order to coordinate the handling process in the best possible way, a. hartrodt is in close contact with airlines, ground handling agents and long-standing trucking partners.

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