Fraport new senior vice president for cargo Max Conrady shared his plans to develop cargo at Frankfurt Airport during Air Cargo Africa in Johannesburg on Wednesday (20 February).
He took over the role from Felix Kreutel in November after moving from head of operations planning terminal management at Frankfurt and spoke to CAAS report Chelsea Kerley.
Conrady (pictured above right) was joined in the discussion with vice president sales cargo, Roland Weil (pictured above left), where they discussed Brexit and the challenges for air cargo going in and out of the airport.
Conrady said: “I’m learning airside and cargo, and why we need more space for developing freight at Fraport. With increased traffic volume, we want more land for cargo at Frankfurt Airport.”
Cargo is very important to the German hub according to Conrady, with over two million tonnes of cargo passing through the Europe’s busiest freight gateway in 2018.
“We have the ability to make transit transaction successful at our hub, which is still the best-connected airport in Europe and why we are a good choice for transferring goods.
“Although we saw a decrease in the final quarter of 2018, because of Brexit and the affects on Europe, we still went without any operational hiccups. This proves all our different suppliers did their job,” he said.
Conrady and Weil talked about their plans for the airport over the next two years, claiming that even with uncertainties in British parliament, Fraport has more or less stable figures.
Conrady said: “We want to build a cargo community, as an airport operator, to ease operations at Frankfurt Airport. Our recruitment campaign at Frankfurt—the economic powerhouse in Europe – is to employ young people who are educated and interested in the industry. We already have 85,000 employees working at our airport premises.”
Fraport has acquired expansion land from the German military, where there they will build cargo stands next to Terminal 3.
Weil said: “As a result of the (already completed) Terminal 4 expansion, we had 50 per cent more airside traffic. We do not want to neglect cargo. We have direct apron access for easy and fast cargo shipping, which is especially for cargo, which we only use as and when we need. We even have a cargo train station with two dedicated tracks.”
When asked about the potential cargo ‘hold ups’ that could be caused by Brexit, Conrady said: “At the moment we are doing our best to prepare for the worst case. There is no agreement on traditional rules between Europe and the UK, but we will treat the UK as a normal third-party country – this process is not new in freight.
“There can be struggles around Brexit in the first days and weeks, but I think every party involved holds interest in growing prospects as soon as possible.
“We expect minor changes, but air freight will be the easiest way to get goods in and out of the UK. Terminals on airside are prepared but trade routes will change. We are also preparing to recruit more customs staff to offer further support through Brexit.”
Concluding the interview, talking about ground handling and GSE, Conrady said the airport has plans to introduce autonomous driving from warehouse to apron, to track the location and condition of cargo vehicles, making better use of them and optimising overall operations.
According to Weil, Fraport is also looking into the use of hydrogen propelled vehicles to enhance strategic operations for its air cargo movements.