Süleyman Demirci, managing director of Germany-based service provider Wisskirchen Logistik, says airfreight is more than a boon to Germany’s economy — it is the economic engine. “Given the continuing demand for German goods, especially in high-quality segments, we assume that international air cargo will continue to grow at an estimated growth rate of about six percent, even though handling volumes in 2012 decreased temporarily by 2.2 percent to 4.3 million tonnes,” he says. Facilitating such growth has led numerous German airports to expand their cargo facilities, Demirci reveals. Unfortunately, he says, night-flight bans — such as that imposed at Frankfurt Airport in October 2011 — have drastically impaired the nation’s freight capabilities. Since cargo carriers often fly at night, restricting their hours of operation cuts into their profit margins, Demirci explains. It has also compelled carriers to move their freight operations to secondary European airports. The rise of low-cost carriers is ushering in a new era for German airports even further, he maintains.

“Similar to passenger air traffic, air cargo carriers are facing increased competition from low-cost carriers, as well as competition from emerging markets, and are forced to adjust their prices accordingly,” Demirci tells ACW.

Add to this challenge the implementation of a new European Union directive on export airfreight security, and it makes for an even more difficult environment for German airports and freight carriers. According to Demirci, companies that weren’t recognised as official consignors before the allotted deadline are now facing

heightened freight costs, as well as risking significant delivery delays.

Demirci says Wisskirchen Logistik, which operates at Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne/Bonn airports, has responded to this challenge by developing integrated security services to complement the overall handling process. The company’s services will be rolled out soon, he says, and will enable consignors to avoid lengthy and costly certification processes.

Wisskirchen Logistik’s security initiatives will also help companies when the EU directive is applied to imports — legislation that is slated to take effect in 2014.

“Together with globally operating handling companies, we will be able to fulfil the requirements of this new directive by providing integrated security services already abroad — before goods are shipped to Germany,” Demirci says.

He’s hopeful that such advancements will enable the German airfreight market to better handle the influx of goods entering and exiting the region and allow cargo to remain the nation’s preeminent economic engine in future.