Evo instead of Neo in the Lufthansa Cargo Cool Center
Whether it is insulin being sent to the USA or vaccines for Brazil, the handling professionals working in the Lufthansa Cargo Cool Center (LCCC) at the Frankfurt hub ensure that temperature-sensitive airfreight stays within a specified temperature range when handled on the ground. According to Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline hub for temperature-sensitive goods has now been expanded from 4,500 to 8,000 m².
“Excellent cooperation with a large number of consignors of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry in particular has allowed demand for our services to grow steadily,” says CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG Peter Gerber about the expansion. “In ‘LCCC Evo’, we developed a concept that enabled us to modernize our Cargo Cool Center in a modular way. We didn’t just expand the space, we also improved the entire infrastructure.”
In this case, Evo stands for “Evolution”, just like our other project “LCC Evolution”, which includes the extensive transformation of the entire Lufthansa Cargo Center (LCC) at Frankfurt Airport. Our recent “LCC Neo” project to build a new airfreight center is no longer required. “Rather than constructing a new building, the Evolution concept is making it possible for us to meet the increasing demand of our customers and to offer them exceptional services at significantly lower unit costs,” says Gerber. Modular architecture with various segments that can be gradually integrated into the existing systems without getting in the way of daily handling processes was used as the basis for the expansion.
In addition to pharmaceutical products, biotechnological materials, or vaccines, Lufthansa Cargo mainly processes temperature-sensitive high-tech products such as semiconductors, as well as hazardous goods and high-quality food that must be refrigerated at the Frankfurt Cargo Center. It is equipped with four cold storage rooms kept at different temperature ranges varying from 15°C to 25°C, 5°C to 15°C, 2°C to 8°C, and -12°C to -20°C as well as a freezer, and has direct access to the apron.
Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG
According to Gerber, a total of € 4.4 million have been invested in the evolution of the LCCC. In addition to being outfitted with a new warehouse with enclosed ramp areas, a new conveyor system was integrated to improve the acceptance and shipment of temperature-controlled airfreight containers. Lufthansa Cargo expanded the warehouse storage space by tripling the size of the area for actively cooled containers by adding 15 new positions and doubling the space for passively cooled units with 13 new positions. Air curtains and many new high-speed doors now ensure that the goods are minimally affected by cold and warm air from outside.
Not only is it our home hub in Frankfurt that is benefitting from the investments made in the Cool Center: “We’ve developed a Cool Masterplan composed of several different elements in order to build an international network,” reports the Lufthansa Cargo boss. “We will also have a close look at important locations around the world where infrastructure needs an expansion. We look into the customers’ needs and how best to meet them. The range of measures stretches from new cool containers to new infrastructure and process optimization.”
Always at the Right Temperature on the Road with RFS Cool
Lufthansa Cargo has been offering its customers a new transport option for several months now: The Road Feeder Service Cool, also known as RFS Cool. The carrier’s goal is to ensure that temperature-sensitive cargo is actively or passively cooled or heated, not only in the LCCC and onboard airplanes, but also when in properly equipped trucks on the road with Lufthansa flight numbers. Customers can now order sensitive drugs, for example, that are flown by Lufthansa Cargo to Frankfurt and then further transported throughout Europe using the new “Road Feeder Service Cool”. Lufthansa Cargo ensures that goods remain within a specified temperature range during this part of the journey, too.
RFS Cool is part of the Cool Masterplan, which also includes other measures, such as the use of special reflective covers exclusively designed for Lufthansa Cargo: At no extra cost, the airline is able to protect temperature-sensitive cargo in the passive cooling segment, even on hot sunny days when they are exposed to direct sunlight on airport aprons all around the world.
High-efficiency thermal containers are also used by Lufthansa Cargo so it can continue to grow its share in the area of passive refrigerated cargo. The airline therefore works with various service providers such as ‘va-Q-tec’ which has its containers stationed around various locations. According to va-Q-tec, the thermal containers ensure a stable temperature for up to five days under all imaginable and real-life conditions. Customers with pharmaceutical goods in particular benefit here.
This is how Lufthansa Cargo Transports Temperature-Sensitive Goods
Fraport Certified for Pharma Expertise in Ramp Handling
Fraport AG’s ramp handling team has dealt with the transportation of temperature-controlled shipments in Frankfurt for more than 20 years, ensuring the safe transport of main and lower deck cargo in the exact range between -30°C and + 30°C. The ramp transportation dollies are equipped with an electronic temperature-monitoring system and tracking capabilities. As a world’s first, the airline association IATA has now integrated this ground equipment into Fraport AG’s successful CEIV Pharma certification. Lufthansa Cargo is also internationally CEIV certified as an airline.
Based on the company’s own information, Frankfurt is the world’s largest airport with a consistently certified pharmaceutical process. The international classification CEIV (Center for Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics) confirms the reliable handling of temperature-sensitive goods that must be delivered within a specific time frame. IATA developed the global standard to help airlines, handling companies and freight forwarders comply with international rules and standards for the demanding transportation of pharmaceutical goods.
Frankfurt Airport handled more than 100,000 tons of vaccines and pharmaceutical products in 2017.
Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos, graphics and videos: Lufthansa Cargo