Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Freight Forwarders Can Avoid Haulage Queues at Airport with 'Milk Run' Logistics Concept

Airport Scheme Designed to Achieve Environmental Benefits
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – Sometimes the simple answers can solve the trickiest problems and long queues of traffic around Schiphol Airport as freight forwarders' chosen hauliers jockey for priority, each pursuing their own small consignments, certainly fall into that latter category. The streams of vehicles around the site produce unnecessary dangers and unacceptable pollution at a time when all serious players in the logistics industry strive to reduce these.

Now members of the Schiphol logistics community, organised by the steering committee forwarders of Air Cargo Netherlands, aims to optimise the inbound supply chain at Schiphol and reduce CO2, by streamlining the delivery of import shipments from the handling points to individual forwarding warehouse facilities using a so called ‘Milk Run’ option, with one vehicle at a time touring the site and dropping off cargo en route.

The launch partners in the new Milk Run service are DHL, Panalpina, Nippon Express, Menzies (as the handling agent triallist and scheme manager), Bos Logistics (which provides the collection and delivery service on behalf of Menzies) and community system provider Cargonaut. Another ten forwarders will take part in later trials. The Milk Run system will incorporate an online portal that enables all participants to monitor their shipments prior to arrival at Schiphol, until the freight is delivered to the forwarder’s door, bringing greater transparency to the entire import process.

As well as the obvious environmental advantages of less fuel, CO2 and truck congestion, the forwarders' own drivers are freed up for other duties. Luc Scheidel, Commercial Director of Cargonaut, is eager to point out that the Schiphol community’s well-documented collaboration has once again enabled an innovation that would not otherwise have been possible. He explains:

“In the Milk Run, innovation has been achieved through commitment and collaboration from the industry, and the launch partners have co-funded the initiative. This is yet another example of how the Schiphol community’s close collaboration enables progress to be made that no individual party could accomplish on its own. This is as important as the early results, which incidentally look very promising.”

To date, the number of vehicle movements used to handle the import traffic between the participants has already been reduced by 30%, with load factors increasing from an average 25% to over 60%. The Milk Run pilot will run until the end of 2015, when a full evaluation will take place. If the trial is considered a success, the eventual aim is to operate a similar facility for export cargo. Dimitri Brink, Business Unit Manager Amsterdam, Panalpina World Transport B.V. is another cheerleader for the scheme, saying:

“We wanted to be involved in the Milk Run as we are keen to support any initiative that saves time and improves efficiency in the airfreight supply chain. The Milk Run is already exceeding our expectations, freeing up our vehicles and drivers, and giving us earlier access to import freight. If this success can be extended to all imports through Schiphol, it will score yet another advantage for the airport in its role as a major gateway for Europe.”