Europe

Asian uncertainty sees cargo rates drop at European hub

Cargo passing through one of Europe’s busiest transport hubs, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, was down slightly in the first half of 2015 as the economic slowdown in Asia, and uncertainty over Russia, persists.

Traffic from Asia was down 3.8% at 293,293 tonnes, from Europe down 16.2% to 64,198 tonnes, from the Middle East down 3.4% at 103,243 tonnes, and Africa was marginally down (0.1%) at 88,860 tonnes.

By comparison, traffic was up from North America (4.7% increase, to 150,494 tonnes) and Latin America (4.8% increase, to 84,482 tonnes).  

The airport handled 784,567 tonnes in the first six months of 2015, down 2.1% on 2014; freighter movements rose 1.4% to 8,218. Schiphol’s best month in the period was March, with a total of 139,597 tonnes.

Schiphol’s Director of Cargo, Jonas van Stekelenburg, said: “It’s disappointing that we have not seen some growth again in 2015 so far but, given the current softness of our major market, China, the tonnages are better than we might have expected. The weakness of the Russian economy also impacted one of our biggest flower markets, affecting exports around Valentine’s Day and other events in (the Russian) calendar when flowers are given.

“The figures are also better than they might appear, as they are compared against a very strong first half of 2014, when we experienced a growth of 7.2%. The tonnages for 2015 are actually still 6.5% up on 2013.”

Schiphol is also making moves to reduce CO2 and road traffic levels caused by in-bound freight.

Currently operating as a trial, a new Milk Run concept replaces forwarders’ own vehicles with a single delivery from the handling agent to multiple forwarders’ facilities.

The Milk Run’s launch partners are DHL, Panalpina, Nippon Express, Menzies, Bos Logistics and Cargonaut. An online portal enables participants to monitor shipments prior to arrival at Schiphol, right through to delivery to the forwarder.

 The number of vehicle movements used to handle the import traffic between the trial participants has already been reduced by 30%, with load factors increasing from an average 25% to over 60%. The Milk Run pilot will run until the end of 2015, when a full evaluation will take place.

If the trial is considered a success, the eventual aim is to operate a similar facility for export cargo.