At Europe's largest cargo airport in Frankfurt, air freight set a new record in January 2021 with a volume of 172,000 tons. This tonnage growth is expected to continue. Hendrik Khezri, Managing Director Air Cargo at a. hartrodt in the Cargo City South at the airport, is following this development with some mixed feelings: "Capacity is getting tighter, some airlines are no longer flying to Frankfurt because of the handling bottlenecks." The good news: a. hartrodt continues to consolidate reliably export air freight for customers.
Export consolidation in shift operation
At a. hartrodt's Air Service Center (ASC), export shipments from customers throughout Germany are consolidated in shifts directly at Frankfurt Airport. "Through the cargo mix, we generate mass, which gives the customer a price advantage," explains Nadine Wild, Manager Pricing & Procurement Airfreight at a. hartrodt in Frankfurt. Every week, the air freight forwarder builds 120 consols to worldwide destinations. For this purpose, up to 40 aircraft pallets are assembled by a. hartrodt every week and handed over to the airlines as ULDs (Unit Load Devices).
Two thirds of export shipments at the weekend
"Aircargo is trucked to Frankfurt overnight from our nine stations in Germany," says Wild. At the Rhine-Main hub, a. hartrodt consolidates around 130 tons of air freight a week, which is flown to 75 destinations worldwide on up to four days a week. However, the volume spreads unevenly: "70 percent of the shipments reach us at the weekend, when we have peak days," says Khezri. Ground handling agents can barely reduce the import backlog at the moment, and as a result, exports are also stalling. Khezri's advice: "Flexible customers benefit from faster handling and cheaper prices on weekdays."
In the short term, Wild expects little improvement at Frankfurt Airport: "Capacity remains tight because flights are canceled every week." She recommends planning as early as possible: "If regular volumes increase significantly, the customer should notify us two to three days in advance."