Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Logistics students analyse air cargo trucking for KLM

9 Jul 2014 09:00 | Communication

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) has studied road-based alternatives to air cargo on behalf of KLM Cargo. Six Logistics students interviewed 30 air cargo companies around Schiphol airport and analysed the players and their competitors. This has provided KLM with new insights into the conditions in the market.

They travel all over the country: the air cargo trucks that transport air cargo to its final destination under a flight number. Because not all airlines always serve the closest airport. Therefore air cargo trucking saves money while simultaneously reducing emissions of particulate matter.

KLM Cargo wanted to find out about the possibilities offered by the air cargo trucking market, and the AUAS students subsequently interviewed carriers, forwarding agents and handling agents.

Fierce competition

The students’ analysis revealed that the air cargo trucking market is characterised by fierce competition. Airlines often choose to work with larger parties that offer an extensive network. Small companies lose out and often have to operate below cost price. This leads to an imbalance in the market.

Efficient loading

Due in part to the financial crisis, the market is currently facing overcapacity; there are too many trucks to carry the load. Therefore, the trucks regularly drive around with partial loads (approx. 45 percent loaded). However, thanks too good cooperation, and in spite of the competition, half-loaded trailers are combined, resulting in an average loading rate of around 80 percent. Thus there is little wastage. Further research is needed to determine how much money can be saved in this way.

Catchment area

The students also analysed air cargo trucking regions in other countries, and concluded that in Europe most of the trucks are driven around Frankfurt, London and Paris (FLAP). Frankfurt Hahn is particularly successful in terms of air cargo trucking, with many companies opting for this route.

Trends: sustainable and digital

Environmentally conscious transport of cargo is a hot topic in the market, and the demand for cleaner trucks is increasing. There is still much progress to be made in this area as sustainability is not always the top priority. Digitisation is also playing an increasingly important role, for example in E-link, a pilot project by ACN, Schiphol Group and Amsterdam Connecting Trade to speed up customs clearance of air cargo goods without long waiting times. There is also an ACN pass, which drivers can use to identify themselves to handling agents. In combination with E-link this eliminates the need to sign the consignment note, which makes the process more efficient.

Dick van Damme, Professor of Logistics, on the students’ research: “Cooperation in the chain is sustainable and also efficient, as shown by the research, and thus essential.”

The study was conducted by the following six students: Jesse Keller, Dirk de Kempenaer, Ricky van Dijk, Hans Minten, Bjorn Goslinga and Jorn Engels. The research was conducted as part of the minor in Airport Seaport Logistics of the Logistics research programme. Simon de Rijke, Sander Onstein and Rover van Mierlo supported the study on behalf of this research programme.