“We see ourselves as innovation leader in the air freight industry”

In an interview with the new website innoFRAtor.com, the Fraport managers Felix Kreutel and Dirk Schusdziara explain why innovations are important for the future of Europe’s largest cargo airport as well as for the entire air cargo industry. As of October 1, 2017, Kreutel will take over as head of the Cargo Development & Management department from Dirk Schusdziara, who will move on to the position of Head of Commercial Affairs at the Fraport Airside and Terminal Management division after two successful years as the Senior Vice President Cargo.

Mr Schusdziara and Mr Kreutel, you are once again assembling important players from the air cargo industry in Frankfurt at the second “Frankfurt Air Cargo Innovation Lab” on September 26–27, 2017. What expectations do you have for this year’s event after the successful premiere in 2016?

Dirk Schusdziara: After the success of last year’s event, we want to bring the industry together again in September, and we can’t wait to meet the exciting speakers and highly interactive participants. This year, we invited market newcomers in order to get a better idea of their concepts and ideas and discuss how we can benefit from innovative power. Platform solutions and their influence on traditional business models will also be another key focus.

Felix Kreutel: In addition to the presentations, it’s generally very important for us to provide plenty of space for dialogue and discussions. Of course, we will also have some of the latest technologies on site again for people to try out.

New technologies require new business models: Dirk Schusdziara at the Frankfurt Air Cargo Innovation Lab 2016.

Big data and IT security, 3D printing and collaborative robots – there are many new trends and technologies in the transport and logistics industry. In your view, which ones are the key drivers?

Felix Kreutel: The trends and technologies you mentioned are changing our business, but the physical transport of goods remains the same. In general, IT security is a major issue that the industry still has to make major investments into. Otherwise, it is difficult to pinpoint just one trend due to the fact that the technologies are used for other aspects in the transport chain. What they all have in common, however, is that they help make better and more sustainable use of resources, and thereby make the supply chain faster and more productive. We benefit from this across all industries.

Dirk Schusdziara: Digitization gives us the opportunity to coordinate our flow of goods between market participants in a far more efficient manner. The key task here is to talk to the parties involved about the exchange of data streams using the right degree of sensitivity. New technologies therefore also require new ways of working together along the transport chain. That’s why we strongly emphasize collaborating locally and actively supporting our Air Cargo Community Frankfurt. Here, various stakeholders at FRA have joined forces and are working together on various projects to further improve processes. During the last few years, we also set up various formats to foster even closer exchange with our customers. To name a few examples, we organize a yearly user committee as well as a range of different customer workshops.

A cargo volume of around 2.2 million tons was processed at Frankfurt Airport in 2016. In terms of handling freight, how innovative is Fraport already and what other projects do you have planned for the future?

Dirk Schusdziara: We see ourselves as innovation leader in the air freight industry. Frankfurt Airport is a world leader when it comes to the digitization and automation of air freight processes. Using the latest technologies, we continually strive to provide our customers with even more efficient processes and thus a higher quality of service. We are currently working on connecting consignors and the EU border inspection points to our cargo community system called “Fair@Link”, for example. As a result, the processes in our cargo cities will be simplified and expedited.

Felix Kreutel: Of course, we hope to also reach this goal with the projects that we will be rolling out in the coming months. Our agenda here includes introducing a new digital registration system and developing a driver database for trucking companies.

Felix Kreutel promotes innovations at Frankfurt Airport.

Regular information on innovation-related topics can be found from now on at the new website www.innoFRAtor.com. What is the background?

Dirk Schusdziara: We want to be pioneers and trailblazers in the industry, but we’re also aware that new ideas only arise through the exchange of information and the courage to implement such ideas. That’s why we launched the first Frankfurt Air Cargo Innovation Lab last year. We were surprised by the positive response.

Felix Kreutel: We want to use our new website to offer the cargo community a year-round platform that provides them with the latest trends, and lets them exchange ideas so that they can actively pursue topics. We want to play a decisive role in creating the future of the air freight transport chain and offer our customers a location that continues to meet all the requirements of an efficient cargo hub.

Who is the target audience of your innovation website? And what added value does it offer visitors?

Felix Kreutel: Our website is targeted specifically towards all companies involved with air freight, but should also serve as the first point of reference for the entire world of logistics. InnoFRAtor.com will address different topics from a variety of fields and industries. Of course, we also present innovative projects at Fraport, the Air Cargo Community Frankfurt and our local partners, but we will also highlight groundbreaking examples from other sectors. It’s often worthwhile to look beyond your own backyard in order to produce creative solutions to tackle future challenges.

Dirk Schusdziara: Even though I’m about to start a new job very soon, I look forward to following the latest trends and developments in the world of logistics every now and then.

Interview conducted by Benjamin Klare
Photos: Fraport (2), Tim Wegner