Innovations in motion

posted on 17th March 2022
Innovations in motion

Digital pre-notification has become the new standard for all ground handlers at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, with ‘automated nomination’ set to roll out this year – where import shipments will automatically be assigned to the correct forwarder before they physically arrive at Schiphol, says Anne Marie van Hemert, head of aviation business development

What have you been doing to improve air freight operational efficiency and communications, and what will you do this year?
Last year, the cargo team moved into a newly established Aviation Business Development Division, putting all airline and cargo commercial and operational business in a single department and introducing new faces. This year, Luc Scheidel has joined the team as Manager Cargo Network, and he will also act as programme manager for the Smart Cargo Mainport Program (SCMP). He comes from Cargonaut and is very familiar with and experienced in cargo community and airfreight logistics and data. Together with the Cargo Community and David van der Meer, they will put innovations in motion that will enforce smart solutions for the landside logistics at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Last year, we accelerated our Smart Cargo Mainport Program, ensuring faster handling of export cargo, resulting in Digital Pre-notification as the new standard for all ground handlers at Schiphol. Going forward, Automated Nomination is going to be the new standard as well. Automated Nomination helps ground handlers plan their operations more efficiently. Import shipments will automatically be assigned to the correct forwarder before they physically arrive at Schiphol. Automating this process decreases throughput times and increases accuracy, as manual errors are substantially reduced. Needless to say, sustainability also remains an important driver for the SCMP and as in integral part of all our digitalized innovations.
Other projects that will gain momentum this year are Milkrun Export, Road Feeder System (RFS) and Digital check-in, Digital Handshake and more initiatives to come. This year will also see the continued modernisation of airport cargo information platform Cargonaut’s Port Community System under the flag of Schiphol.

How can you and other stakeholders in the air freight supply chain work more effectively this year to improve visibility and streamline cargo operational processes – to minimise some of the congestion, delays and volatility experienced last year at certain cargo handling stations and airports?
Schiphol has devised a refreshed overall cargo strategy for 2022 to tackle the challenges ahead, including capacity shortage, landside congestion, sustainability, security for valuable cargo, smart Customs policies and digitalisation. We hope to lead change and take concrete steps towards this goal by engaging in stakeholder co-operation to define minimum standards.
We have been working hard with our stakeholders and partners on the development of the local rule 2, which states that slots that are given back or re-delivered will be used by cargo as a priority. We hope to gain approval from the ministry and ACNL and finalise these negotiations this year.
We also look forward to accelerating efforts within the Cargo Community at Schiphol on our mutual innovative, digital, and sustainable initiatives that will lead to a safer, more reliable and more efficient cargo flow at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Together, we want to shape Europe’s smartest cargo hub.

What role will new and emerging technology play?
Improving IT is a pre-requisite to achieving Schiphol’s common goal to be a competitive and sustainable airport and to ensuring seamless processes that enable a predictable cargo flow. The introduction of Digital Pre-notification as the new standard for ground handlers at Schiphol and the planned introduction of Automated Nomination to expedite cargo throughput are just two examples of how Schiphol is embracing the important role of technology in optimising cargo operations.
We believe that embracing emerging technology is key to future-proofing the air cargo industry. Schiphol has been invested in its philosophy for many years, but now, given the impact of the global pandemic on digital adoption, we are optimistic that this view is shared by the whole industry.

Expectations for air freight in 2022:
We expect that, globally, sustainability and data exchange will play a more prominent role as central subjects in all activities that will take place in air cargo. This is almost inevitable and we all have an important role to play in the green change that is to come.
We have also seen over the past years that air freight has an important social role to play when a pandemic is in place. We expect this essential and critical life-saving function will remain for airfreight.