Key players in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s air freight supply chain have signed a Best Effort statement, committing to digitalise landside delivery and collection processes.
This is set to combat long truck wait times at the hub through the introduction of a new Smart Cargo Mainport Program initiative, ‘Digital Planning’.
Handlers, truckers, and forwarders, along with representatives from Schiphol Airport and Air Cargo Netherlands, signed the statement on September 18, paving the way to implement a new way of working.
Congestion has been a long-running challenge for air cargo hubs across the world, especially regarding the trucking of freight in and out of airports, and costs supply chain stakeholders money, impacts the environment, and demotivates employees.
The ‘Digital Planning’ initiative aims to put an end to this, with the new system optimising landside processes by drawing up a clear system of agreements that enable digital planning between handlers and air freight truckers.
It will mean that anybody who comes to deliver or collect air freight at Schiphol must first request a time slot digitally through a central platform.
If the time slot is granted, parties can then go directly to a handler’s loading door.
The airport says that vehicles with unregistered freight will have to wait in a buffer parking lot, which will be developed with a reporting and calling system, from where they will be called as soon as their handler has the capacity.
This new framework will be made possible through the introduction of a set of business rules managed by trade organisation Air Cargo Netherlands, along with a new central planning portal which will be built by Cargonaut and SmartLOXS.
Handling facilities will also be upgraded with decentralised capacity planning systems.
Dimitri Brink, vice chair of the ACN/FENEX Freight Forwarders Sector Council, said: “Within the Smart Cargo Mainport Program, the air freight industry has taken the steps necessary in recent years to digitise the supply and removal processes chain-wide.
“Digital Planning is the golden piece of the puzzle that should make waiting times at Schiphol a thing of the past once and for all.”
Jeroen Giling, chair of the ACN Sector Council for Handlers, said: “Freight handlers at Schiphol work towards a uniform system of pre-registration to enable door planning at handlers Schiphol-wide.
“Success depends on the involvement of all chain partners. Signing the Best Effort today is therefore an important step.”
Joost van Doesburg, head of cargo at Schiphol Airport, said: “The Schiphol Cargo Community’s ambition is to offer a competitive, high-quality, and sustainable air freight hub.
“With this combination of digitalisation and chain process agreements, we save a lot of unnecessary waiting times and frustration for customers, we optimise the logistics process, and we make the supply and removal process of freight at Schiphol airport more sustainable.”
Maarten van As, managing director at Air Cargo Netherlands, said: “Chain parties have been irritated by costly and demotivating waiting times for years.
“We are now entering a joint process where chain parties will really see each other as chain partners by drawing up business rules that enable far-reaching digitalisation of supply and disposal processes.”
‘Digital Planning’ is being developed in close consultation with future users within the Smart Cargo Mainport Program.
Support and coordination regarding secure data sharing will also be provided by the national Digital Infrastructure Logistics (DIL) programme within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.