Agility’s flexible business model

IF YOU WANT to know why big hub airports continue to thrive in the air cargo business, you could do worse than study the new 6,300-sq m airfreight hub that Agility Logistics opened in Frankfurt airport’s CargoCity South at the start of April. 
It was aimed initially at Asian manufacturers – particularly in hi-tech, but also fashion and textiles – shipping to customers in eastern Europe. Agility reckons it can provide a better service to such shippers via Frankfurt than they can flying cargo direct to eastern European airports.
How so? Well, firstly as Buelent Buelbuel, Agility’s airfreight manager for Europe points out, if you want to move cargo from Hong Kong to Budapest or Shanghai to Prague, you have a pretty limited choice of carriers – maybe only one or two. That means higher rates and less choice of departure times.
“It is much easier to negotiate consolidations to Frankfurt than bits and pieces to Slovakia or Croatia,” he says. “Using Frankfurt also gives us the opportunity to use an airline that is perfect for the customer’s needs and transit times.”
On flights to and from Frankfurt, Agility can also combine different types of traffic to get that all-important optimal mix of cargo.
Buelbuel candidly admits that given the competition for the larger hi-tech accounts and the “extremely demanding” nature of these shippers, it is very hard to make money on this traffic alone. “You need to mix high volume accounts and small to medium ones,” he says.
Next, once landed in Frankfurt the cargo is swiftly transferred to Agility’s new facility, where it will be kept in accordance with highest security standards. The forwarder is in the process of getting TAPA ‘A’ certification, the highest level offered by the security standards organisation.
That focus on security also extends to the next stage of the service, which is delivery from Frankfurt direct to the customer’s door. Agility trucks are at least TSR 3 level – the minimum TAPA requirement – but Buelbuel says they can be up to TSR 1 if needed. 
Most importantly, the cargo is moving on Agility’s own trucking network, so the company has full oversight right to the door.
“In the past, the airline forwarded the shipment by road to its final destination, but then you are depending on the airline’s track and trace system to find out where the goods are once they are on the ground. With our system we are in full control,” Buelbuel says.
Read Peter’s interview in the next edition of Air Cargo News 2 December 2013 – Issue No. 766

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