Schiphol Airport: More than a bit of concrete

“An airport, if you look at it unkindly, is a bit of concrete. It’s got runways. It’s got aprons…They’re all the same.” Well, an airport is an airport, but the similarities however, end with the physical attributes and no one knows it better than Enno Osinga, senior VP, cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The airport – the cargo wing to be precise – has been hitting the headlines regularly for its performance despite the lethargic nature of the air cargo industry. Manfred Singh reports.

Schiphol Airport: More than a bit of concrete

Part of these headlines have been driven by Schiphol’s Q2 of 2014 which has been especially noteworthy: Air cargo tonnage has shown a growth of 8.84 per cent in the year to date. Schiphol handled 801,700 tonnes – flowers, Amsterdam’s traditional trade mark, make up some 15 per cent of the volume – January-June 2014, outstripping 2013 in every month of 2014 with the peak in May this year when it touched a whopping 14.1 per cent.

Schiphol’s performance in comparison to the other gateways in Europe can only point to efficient procedures that have been built over the years and are now working to perfection. The ‘outperformance’– if one may term it that – highlights the airport’s “continuing drive towards streamlined processes”.

An elated Osinga commented that the reason for Schiphol’s growth figures being the strongest once again among the major European gateways was that “our logistics community and our authorities strongly supporting the continuing drive towards streamlined processes”. He went on to say: “We believe in an integrated support of the entire logistics chain; given our current results, this seems to be paying off.”

Optimising processes

What is so different about what Schiphol has been doing to put it at the top? Osinga and his team were quick to understand that most of what comprised airfreight actually happened on the ground like complying with regulations and security measures. Both were taking a toll on transit times. The only way to counter that was to optimise processes “to preserve speed, improve efficiency and achieve cost savings”.