It is already a good five years since the Milkrun Import project was awarded Schiphol Airport’s Cargo Award. The experience gained in that project has been used in the development of Milkrun Export the pilot of which commenced last summer. Cargo Magazine talked to two of the initiators, Jeroen Giling of Swissport and Dimitri Brink of DHL Nederland over the partnership that arose through that project.
What was the reason for the Milkrun Import project at that time?
“At that time, I was working for Menzies and Dimitri with Panalpina”, Jeroen begins. “The direct reason was the load factor of the trucks picking up cargo from the handling agent. This was pitifully low and both Panalpina and Menzies were of the opinion that it must and could be different.” Companies such as Bos Transport, DHL, Nippon Express and Rhenus shared this view and quickly joined in. Together these parties tackled the project in close cooperation with ACN and Schiphol Airport. In response to the question what are the benefits of Milkrun Import for a handling agent, Jeroen responds: “Combining consignments from multiple forwarders in one truck means there are far fewer truck movements on our forecourt. Less traffic means less chance of congestion and delays. Through good planning, cargo can be shifted more quickly to the participating agents. A smaller number of full trucks contributes to a reduction in CO2; as opposed to a large number of trucks with a low load factor.”
Dimitri indicated the benefits for a forwarder: “Reduced pressure at the handling agent helps with waiting times. Exceptions aside, we no longer have to pick up consignments ourselves thus we no longer have to do our own planning. Furthermore, the reduction in CO2 emissions is very important for DHL as our company has set a goal of zero emissions by 2050*”.
Heart for air cargo
Both Jeroen and Dimitri lament the low level of enthusiasm among air cargo players to commit to projects to improve the industry. “There are always lots of comments about things that are not running properly but, when it comes down to it and a project actually get started, they appear not to notice and therefore it is often the same parties and people who get on with it” says Dimitri. “As this is about benefits and improvements for the whole industry, you would hope that everyone holds air cargo in their hearts” Jeroen adds.
Milkrun Import, as a project, may be termed a success in itself but unfortunately there are (still) too few parties participating. This can be due to various reasons Jeroen says. “Agents could have done an in-house calculation and concluded that it is not cost-effective. The question is: have they only taken their direct costs into account rather than also including their indirect costs which are less easily calculated? What can also play a role in this dismissive attitude is the fact that employment is also involved. Maybe it would be at the expense of their planning and transport section. Another reason to not take part is simply not being willing to share wheels with other agents but rather wanting to use a dedicated truck.”
Dimitri: “A better flow-through at the handling agent is certainly of interest to the industry but a solution to achieve this, unfortunately, is not being borne industry-wide. That not all the handling agents are on board could be for various reasons: one has too little import volume, another wants to retain control and a third says that he already pursues the concept but under another name.
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