SOME 3.5 billion surgical masks and 22,000 shipments of protective gears, pharmaceuticals, industrial goods, post, packages and food for the German and European markets, have been handled by Frankfurt Airport, Fraport, since the Covid-19 crisis began in mid-March.
"When supply chains break down in times of crisis, only air cargo has the ability to link industry and trade on intercontinental markets within hours," said Frankfurt Air Cargo Community chairman Harald Gloy.
Said Fraport board member Michael Muller: "With the slump in passenger traffic, the option for loading additional cargo on these aircraft has disappeared. That's why around 50 airlines in Frankfurt are now using passenger aircraft just for cargo transport."
Said LUG ground hander managing director Patrik Tschirch: "Another challenge is the 30 per cent increase in the number of packages - on peak days fivefold - and the number of recipients in relation to tonnage by weight."
As a result of the shift towards an enormous import volume and the almost complete elimination of transfer cargo, flexible cooperation between the partners involved is essential, he said.
"Within the community, we have spent years working on digitised and automated processes - also in collaboration with the authorities and forwarding agents. But right now, it is becoming evident how indispensable digitisation is," said Mr Tschirch.
"Customs officials will be aware of this if they know in advance which consignment is critical, as will truck drivers, who will be given a pick-up time and will not have to wait for hours at the airport or rest area. As a community, we will work even harder to push this forward together with the authorities to make Frankfurt even more competitive as a location, ¡°he said.