Improving the air cargo industry first and foremost means improving ground processes with digital solutions, but also in customising and modernising the facilities accordingly, believes Dorothea von Boxberg, the new CEO and chair of the executive board of Lufthansa Cargo
Looking back at 2020, I have to say that it really was a challenging year. Air cargo is always a very volatile business. But what we have experienced in 2020 is even more extreme. At Lufthansa Cargo, we are proud of the fact that we have managed to maintain our global freighter network at all times, despite a multitude of ever-changing regulations as reactions to the pandemic. We – and the rest of the industry – are dearly missing the capacity on passenger aircraft. The lack of capacity was then the reason for what we called the ‘preighter’ at Lufthansa and contributed to the worldwide supply. First, of personal protective equipment, and later of test kits and vaccines. After all, it has perhaps never been as clear to the world as it is today what an important contribution air cargo makes every day.
Three key topics for 2021
For 2021, three topics will be very important for Lufthansa Cargo. The first one is helping to ease the pandemic. Whether it is flying vaccines, test kits or PPE – we are there to bring back normal life as soon as possible. We now offer a new product, Covid-19 Temp Premium, which meets all specific requirements of the vaccine transportation. By preparing early for the global distribution, we are now ready to tackle this enormous challenge. Being flexible and adjusting our network – even on short notice – helps us find quick solutions and compensate for the lack of capacity.
Apart from that, sustainability and digitalisation will remain important topics for us. Lufthansa Cargo is eagerly driving forward both of them with several projects and initiatives. When it comes to sustainability, we take our responsibility seriously by committing to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Climate action is important for us. We recently operated the first CO2-neutral freight flight and we are planning on offering a green product to our customers. Also, we are driving digital solutions and initiatives in the air freight sector. Among others, we will roll out our PreCheck offer worldwide – which is the air freight equivalent to off-airport check-in for passengers.
Additionally, we are part of different IATA working groups, such as for One Record. I am convinced that the pandemic was and is a strong catalyst for digitisation. That’s why I’m very pleased that we as Lufthansa Cargo have already made considerable progress in recent years in terms of digital services for our customers. And it is and remains right to continue on this path with a lot of emphasis. In times of extensive cross-border e-commerce, it is simply not conceivable that some data errors only become apparent on a paper manifest during a physical check at goods acceptance and then lead to an offload.
“In times of extensive cross-border e-commerce, it is simply not conceivable that some data errors only become apparent on a paper manifest during a physical check at goods acceptance and then lead to an offload”
Dorothea von Boxberg
We will only be able to further accelerate air freight with further and, if possible, complete digitisation along the value chain. Improving the air cargo industry first and foremost means improving ground processes with digital solutions, but also in customising and modernising the facilities accordingly.