Cargo congestion at Schiphol shows signs of easing

By Damian Brett

Congestion issues at Schiphol are showing signs of easing following the creation of a task force to tackle the issue.

The Dutch airport, like many in Europe, has faced extended truck waiting times for the pick-up and drop-off of cargo over recent weeks as the peak season kicked in and the pandemic affected operations.

However, Air Cargo Netherlands reports that the congestion at Schiphol has eased over recent days with hardly any traffic jams on the public roads and reduced waiting times for drivers.

The group said measures taken include Swissport’s extra import terminal, extra access to the Anchoragelaan area of the airport, traffic controllers, individual agreements between handlers and forwarders and wider community consultation.

“These are all initiatives that help take the pressure off so that Schiphol remains an attractive and reliable air cargo hub, even in the corona crisis,” Air Cargo Netherlands’ managing director Maarten van As said.

“For the coming week, we expect ‘more of the same’. It will be busy, but workable as long as everyone sticks to the agreements. Together we can handle this.

“The challenge is the increasing number of ‘off schedule’ charter flights. And, of course, the fear of rising absenteeism due to corona infections.”

The task force will now examine data and look at other ways the cargo areas can be optimised to reduce congestion.

In the longer term, van As said the Schiphol cargo community should look to learn lessons from the situation.

“We continue (and must) look for sustainable solutions to turn this crisis into an opportunity,” he said.

“After a few days of less congestion, let’s not think we’re there and, above all, let’s keep our solution-oriented energy.

“After all, logistics chains and the air cargo chain are far from stable. The challenge now is to make the chain resilient towards the future… prepared for snow showers, and coronavirus outbreaks etc.”

Cargo handlers feel the peak season strain

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