Kuehne+Nagel, the world’s premier airfreight forwarder by income and quantity, is setting up a cargo transfer facility at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Global Airport in Alabama to guidance the expansion of its non-public air provider and avoid freight congestion plaguing most big airports. One shopper that potentially could appreciate considerable improvements in supply chain effectiveness from the arrangement is Mercedes-Benz.

The shift represents the company’s first presence in Alabama and its 1st air logistics station at a secondary airport in North The united states. It is the most current example of freight forwarding firms shifting business to extra reputable, cargo-pleasant regional airports that allow speedier deliveries.

The Swiss logistics supplier announced final 7 days that it will start functioning intercontinental cargo flights to Birmingham on April 2. It at first will procedure shipments at an airfield hangar owned by Kaiser Aircraft Industries and transfer early next year into a focused air cargo facility immediately after it is built.

Flights are operated by contract carriers these as Atlas Air and Cargolux. The organization is in essence operating as a private-label airline without the need of physically operating plane.

Kuehne+Nagel (CXE: KNIN) reported the twice-weekly flights from Stuttgart, Germany, will primarily provide shoppers in the automotive, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries — three of the 6 key industries the corporation has centered on for producing higher yields. The route will go on to Chicago O’Hare Intercontinental Airport. 

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth airport (BHM) is centrally positioned in the Southeast, which is quickly rising as a U.S. producing location, 150 miles west of Atlanta. Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda and Toyota have assembly vegetation in Alabama, all supported by a local supplier foundation. Airbus manufactures aircraft in Cellular, Alabama.

Kuehne+Nagel notably did not pick Huntsville airport in northern Alabama for its new air hub. Huntsville was a pioneer amid next-tier airports in the U.S. in attracting direct freighter provider when Panalpina, acquired by Danish logistics large DSV in 2019, released its Dixie Jet product or service between the northern Alabama metropolis and Luxembourg in 1990. DSV and Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics just about every immediate quite a few flights for each 7 days to Huntsville. 

K+N handles a whole lot of airfreight for the Mercedes-Benz (DXE: MBG) plant in Vance, Alabama, that makes SUVs, in accordance to logistics experts in the state. Mercedes past year also opened a lithium-ion battery factory in nearby Bibb County and commenced developing all-electrical versions. Vance is about 34 miles from BHM. Until eventually now K+N has been working with Atlanta-Hartsfield Intercontinental Airport for its Mercedes shipments. BHM is considerably closer to the Mercedes plant, giving the enterprise a lot quicker transit and much more flexibility.

“Birmingham’s proximity to other significant hubs that are enduring congestion owing to heavy activity gives an option where by we have far more overall flexibility to boost assistance for our shoppers who will need speedier recovery time. We believe Birmingham is a good location simply because it is an global airport and has the infrastructure to tackle significant freighters,” stated Juergen Gentzke, regional vice president for Kuehne+Nagel, in an e mail information. 

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Global Airport (Image: BHM)

He declined to go over regardless of whether Mercedes was a major impact in beginning the new airfreight provider, but the automaker is headquartered in Stuttgart and has had a longstanding partnership with K+N. Mercedes also makes engines, axles and transmissions in Stuttgart. 

The Birmingham Airport Authority has discovered air cargo as a new location of financial development. Most cargo action at the airport comes from parcel carriers FedEx, UPS and FedEx feeder airline Mountain Air Cargo. Kuehne+Nagel represents Birmingham’s very first global, heavy-freight scheduled services.

Officials past yr accomplished design and style function on a new $25 million air cargo facility. Design crews are scheduled to crack ground on the 53,000-square-foot cross-dock centre in May perhaps. Operate is anticipated to just take about 10 months. 

K+N will lease the entire building, which involves a temperature-controlled space, for 6 decades. It has contracted with Alliance Ground Global, a fast-escalating airport products and services firm primarily based in Miami, to choose treatment of all-cargo aircraft on the ramp, loading and unloading, and cargo preparation.

The airport authority constructed a 500,000-square-foot ramp practically 20 a long time back with the intent of eventually acquiring a devoted cargo facility. In 2007, the principal runway was prolonged from 10,000 to 12,000 feet to allow a totally loaded, fully fueled Boeing 747 cargo jet to just take off. Far more lately, it obtained property and demolished buildings adjacent to the apron to make place for the cargo growth and created an accessibility street to the web site. 

The scenario for cargo-centric airports

Many secondary airports have attracted new cargo enterprise from freight transportation providers looking for faster, more cost-effective cargo processing than is out there at massive airports where travellers are the focus. Fantastic infrastructure, buyer company, extended functioning several hours and precedence clearance from customs authorities make it less difficult to choose up inbound shipments at second-tier airports, freight transportation experts say.

Logistics corporations can lease airside cargo terminals at 2nd-tier airports, providing them direct manage about their freight as opposed to utilizing a 3rd social gathering for disassembling and making ready hundreds for pickup. Cargo bottlenecks are common at significant passenger gateways exactly where a lot of terminals are outdated, lack contemporary know-how, have constrained truck obtain and dock doorways, and haven’t adopted appointment programs.

At cargo-targeted airports, arriving freight can be damaged down and rolled on to vehicles for supply to consumers within a couple several hours. Freight retrieval at significant airports can take a working day — and frequently many times — as shorthanded floor managing agents have to track down and consolidate shipments for dozens of freight forwarders right before they can be introduced. 

Chicago Rockford Intercontinental Airport very last month unveiled a very long-time period lease with cargo handler Menzies Aviation to function a new cargo facility as it activities desire from mega-forwarders like Maersk Air Cargo and DB Schenker for productive logistics services. 

Final year, Crane Throughout the world Logistics launched a important air constitution method and routed several flights to significantly less crowded Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Intercontinental Airport, the place Amazon and DHL have air hubs. Maersk Air Cargo, a pure airline with a forwarding arm, is heavily utilizing Greenville-Spartanburg Global Airport in South Carolina to assist BMW and other shoppers. Other airports geared for all-cargo operations, or investing in cargo infrastructure, consist of Rickenbacker Global Airport in Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh Global Airport and San Bernardino Global Airport in California.

Meanwhile, Danish logistics powerhouse DSV is getting ready a new freighter hub at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, about 30 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Intercontinental Airport, to serve the semiconductor marketplace.

Other common offering details for these airports are reduce charges and fuel prices and shorter taxi time from runway to ramp.

Click on right here for a lot more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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Rockford airport prepares future cargo growth as Menzies moves in


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