New customs requirements for freight add pressure in Frankfurt
Freight shipments at Frankfurt am Main airport continue to experience delays due to high demand and new customs procedures for imports.
Latest figures from Europe’s busiest freight hub show demand at the airport continues to rise – in September freight volumes increased 13.4% year-on-year to 188,177 metric tons, while compared to 2019, freight volumes for the month increased by 7.7%.
Meanwhile, new import rules are contributing to the problems and slowing the processing of goods. The new requirements mean that each individual air waybill must be pre-registered with customs individually and, as a result, waiting times for customs clearance have increased.
The freight forwarder, Senator International, said the ground handling situation at the airport “remains critical”.
âIn addition to the customs issue, there are delays in global supply chains and the high volume of freight,â the freight forwarder said in a recent update.
Handler Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS) said it was working on a backlog of shipments and making good progress.
The company hopes to clear the backlog over the next few days, depending on volumes during that time and also pickups by agents.
“[The backlog] is mainly due to irregularities in the implementation of new software as well as the processes required by the new customs directives.
âFCS has gone back to the previous system and processes and has taken many steps to clear the backlog.
“It has progressed well in recent days, but the high backlog still results in high utilization of our warehouses, which further affects the clearance of imported shipments.”
The manager has also employed additional staff while the current staff is deployed in additional shifts.
Additional storage and handling areas have been set up at CargoCity South at Frankfurt Airport using three other warehouses as a contingency with partners.
âFCS provides free shuttle services for importation to airport warehouses,â added the manager.
A spokesperson for airport operator Fraport said: âRepresentatives of the Frankfurt air cargo community remain in close contact in order to keep the flow of cargo in the Cargo Cities.
âHowever, this strong growth challenges the handling processes, as the traffic pattern since the rebound in passenger volume has clearly changed.
âPassenger and freight airlines often schedule flights on very tight deadlines. On occasion, this leads to isolated but sharp peaks in volume during a given day and on weekends.
âEven though we are only about half of the passenger traffic levels in 2019, these peaks are close to the volumes recorded before the crisis. This requires the support of a large number of employees. At the same time, the strong sustained growth of air freight, in particular with the cabin load of airliners, once again immobilizes a large number of staff.
The operator said it is in dialogue with all players in the supply chain on how to handle this situation and develop common solutions with customers.
âYet we see that the collection of import freight fluctuates. We therefore call on everyone involved to make the best possible contribution to document quality and a continuous flow of freight and thus avoid unnecessary waiting times.
The latter point was reiterated by FCS, who urged customers to pick up goods at quieter times.
âFrankfurt Cargo Services is in close contact at all times with its partners and customers. They are constantly informed of current developments and the collection of import goods is coordinated. It is crucial that imported shipments are collected 24/7. Especially on weekends, collections are very low.
âParticularly from Sunday to Monday noon, we do not see a high demand for freight collection, but it is urgently needed to empty the warehouse. “
Fraport added that it made additional airside areas available so as not to compromise warehouse performance and that all of its employees involved in handling air cargo were working full time and not working short-term.
Freight forwarder Flexport said the disruption in Frankfurt is expected to continue through the remainder of the fourth quarter. He added that there were also delays at Schiphol.
“Very strong pressure on the AMS and FRA import terminals,” said the forwarder. âIt is essential to allow for additional delivery times to destination, as this disruption is expected to persist for the remainder of the fourth quarter. Export terminals are also facing tensions.
Airport handlers also struggled with volumes earlier in the year, pushing some freight operators move services to alternative gateways.
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