Double-figure productivity boost at Europe’s seventh busiest cargo hub: Liège Airport

Benelux Special – Part 2

Nallian’s Slot Booking application launched successfully in the second half of 2019, increased ground handler LACHS’ productivity by 33% already within the first 6 months of
implementation. A remarkable success story.

2019 was an excellent year for Liège Airport. While neighboring Brussels saw an 8.8% drop in tonnage, and Schiphol, Amsterdam operating at slot-saturation point dropping even further in its
full-freighter cargo volumes, Liège not only started that year off confirming a 21.5% increase in tonnage for 2018, it even managed to increase another 3.6% last year, bringing its total handled
tonnage to 902,480 in 2019.
A clear success indicator when it comes to its #FreightersFirst strategy, and one that has the potential to transform it into a significant eCommerce hub over the coming years. The groundwork is
there, given that recent signings with Alibaba/Cainano bring an agreement to invest €75 million in creating a 220,000m² hub due to start operations in early 2021, in addition to the 30,000m²
warehouse already being made available to operators such as AirBridgeCargo who selected Liège as their European hub last year.
More tonnage and warehousing space require intelligent IT solutions to ensure smooth operations. Nallian’s Slot Booking for Air Cargo is just one of a
number of collaborative applications within the LGG Cargo Cloud that Liège Airport chose to
invest in back in 2018 already, in its aim to securely facilitate data sharing and ensuring a “single version of the truth” in data processes. Nallian’s LGG Cargo Cloud is the Belgian answer to
German Dakosy’s FAIR@Link Air Cargo Community System for airports,
already in place in Frankfurt and Hamburg airports, enabling handling agents, forwarders, truckers and airlines to streamline their processes along the logistics chain.

Drivers who arrive with a booked slot enjoy priority treatment, both when accessing the cargo zone and at the registration desk. Image courtesy of Nallian website
Drivers who arrive with a booked slot enjoy priority treatment, both when accessing the cargo zone and at the registration desk. Image courtesy of Nallian website


LACHS is now working smarter
LACHS (Liege Airport Cargo Handling Services), as one of the main ground handlers at the airport, handles over 20% of Liège’s total tonnage, dealing with nigh on 200,000 tons a year and 150
trucks a day. With its own operations growing by 50% in the past 2 years, LACHS looked to Nallian’s Slot Booking in order to maintain a high level of customer service while coping its rapid
growth. Hossaine El Bouayadi, IT Manager and Business Process Development at LACHS, is delighted with the results after just six months usage already:
“Our main ambition was to improve the quality of our service, not to work faster. Using the Slot Booking application, we managed to do both. […It] helps us to better channel pick-ups and
deliveries. We can make sure we have the right staff and equipment available when the drivers arrive and prepare the goods pro-actively. It also enables us to better coordinate acceptance and
warehouse operations, which makes life easier for both our staff and the drivers and speeds up operations. Prior to using the Slot Booking app, the handling of a truck, including paperwork and
warehouse operations, would take on average 3 hours. Today this is done in only 2 hours.”

The impressive 33% productivity increase is just one of a number of benefits that the app has brought including more balanced peaks, less idle times, better manpower efficiency, maximized
capacity in view of cargo specifics, better customer service with waiting times having been eliminated.

Jean Verheyen is CEO of Belgian IT provider Nallian  -  photo: CFG/hs
Jean Verheyen is CEO of Belgian IT provider Nallian – photo: CFG/hs

How does it work?
Based on information that LACHS provides the app regarding its capacities, and taking into account a number of parameters such as cargo type, type of location, day of the week, the Slot Booking
app shows available time slots to customers wishing to drop off or pick up at LACHS. The app user requests a slot and the system automatically matches availability and demand or proposes
alternatives if necessary. Those drivers who arrive with a booked slot receive priority treatment, both when accessing the cargo zone and at the registration desk.
When it comes to starting out with the app implementation, El Bouayadi points out the importance of involving all relevant people from the start, be they in warehouse operations, truck
management, quality management, admin, IT, or general management. Clear communication and trainings for bookers helped to enable fast understanding and adoption of the app, with operations
increasingly improving as more and more booking details were fed into the system.

Share in the success
Given LACHS’ enormous benefits, Aurélie Dethier, Deputy Customer Service & Operations Manager at Liege Airport, is certain that this will lead to other handlers wanting to follow suit:
“We have implemented the LGG Cargo Cloud with the aim to empower
all actors at our airport to drive efficiency and transparency in their cross-company processes. We are excited about these results and look forward to extending the benefits of the Slot Booking
to the other ground handlers active at our airport shortly.”

Nallian’s CEO, Jean Verheyen, hopes that Liège’s success story will attract other airport customers: “Liege Airport was worldwide the fastest growing cargo airport in 2018 and we are thrilled
to see our collaborative applications are helping them to drive this growth in their cargo operations. Enabling airports to drive efficiency and transparency by ‘working as one’ is one of the
reasons why we designed Nallian for Air Cargo. It is also why we keep continuously keep on extending our open app ecosystem, together with forward-looking players such as Liege Airport and their
cargo community.”

Meanwhile, Luc Partoune, chief executive of Liege Airport, is preparing for another record-breaking year of success in the airport’s forward-looking strategy: “This year, 2020, will be a year
of major works and projects including, in particular, the impact study for lengthening the contingency runway. We are also working on the implementation of Alibaba, the bypass road, the
construction of a hydrogen station and on training personnel to meet the very high demand. It will be a busy year during which we shall have to provide quality services to our customers, as well
as investing in infrastructure and innovative solutions.”

Brigitte Gledhill


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Source: Cargoforwarder

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