Cargo demand at Schiphol dips as passenger services take a hit

By Rachelle Harry

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at night

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport saw cargo volumes decline in 2020, as passenger services worldwide — and bellyhold capacity — were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

For the year of 2020, the Netherlands-based hub posted an 8% year-on-year decline in volumes to 1.4m tonnes.

The majority (61%) of cargo handled at the hub last year was from full freighters; preighters carried 10% of cargo processed there and bellyhold cargo from passenger services represented 29%.

The hub recorded a 4.7% year-on-year decline in inbound cargo volumes to 754,361 tonnes. Outbound demand decreased 11.7% to 687,161 tonnes.

The three biggest destinations for cargo tonnage from Schiphol were Shanghai, Doha and Chicago.

Patricia Vitalis, incoming director of airport operations and aviation partnerships, commented: “The 2020 figures are in line with our expectations given the challenging year we all had to face.”

In response to the “challenging” environment, Schiphol stepped up its Smart Cargo Mainport Program, which the hub says has made its airfreight operations faster and more digitised.

Last year it also joined the Circular Plastics Alliance, which supports the sustainable transportation of flowers. 

“The Alliance has introduced standardised box sizes for flower consignments with the aim of reducing the product importers’ carbon footprint by 25%, whilst also increasing their profitability by 25%,” a spokesperson for Schiphol informed.

Schiphol has also streamlined its airfreight operations into an Aviation Business Development Division.

In addition, this year Royal Schiphol Group acquired full ownership of cargo community platform Cargonaut as part of efforts to drive digitisation across the supply chain.

Vitalis added: “I am proud of our cargo community and our team at Schiphol, who have worked hard to continue supporting our customers through the pandemic in a constantly changing business landscape and for providing new routes for new cargo airlines to transport essential PPE consignments.

“The cargo community at Schiphol has focused on collaboration to find solutions including the launch of Vaccines Gateway Netherlands, which is a task force of more than 60 companies providing the swift, secure, and safe transportation of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“We will continue to work together to ensure that supply chains keep moving”.

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