National associations and politicians issue warning: Germany is losing its competitiveness"
Germany’s transport and logistics industry is championing competitive operating times at this country’s commercial airports. The Association of German Freight Forwarders and Logistics Operators (DSLV), the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Disposal (BGL), the Forwarding and Logistics Association of Hessen/Rheinland-Pfalz, the Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG) and the Air Cargo Club Germany (ACD) joined with Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt on June 24th to found the "Cargo needs the night" initiative. At a press conference at Frankfurt Airport, the honorary managing director of the initiative, Ewald Heim, presented the aims of the alliance. "The logistics sector is the backbone of Germany’s export business. The basic prerequisite for its success in world markets is reliable, trouble-free air cargo connections. The ‘Cargo needs the night’ initiative will therefore press hard for competitive operating hours at commercial airports in Germany."
The initiative will highlight the importance of the logistics industry for Germany’s economy. About 40 per cent of the value of domestic exports is transported worldwide by air. Night flights are a key component in functioning global supply chains. Politicians and the public at large must be made more aware of the importance of air cargo for German industry, which is dependent on exports. That is what the companies that belong to the associations represented in the initiative and their hundreds and thousands of employees are calling for.
Responsibility for jobs and Germany as a business location
Following the founding of the "Cargo needs the night" initiative, Lufthansa Cargo CEO and Chairman Carsten Spohr opened the specialist conference under the same name. Addressing some 150 representatives of the logistics industry as well as representatives from politics and academia, he stressed the importance of conducting a balanced discussion. "The right of local residents living near the airport to be protected from unnecessary noise is not at issue. We accept our responsibility as an airline and we are investing massive sums in new technologies. At the same time, we are responsible for thousands of jobs in the logistics industry in Germany, which is an export and industrial nation. Germany is the world’s secondlargest exporter - thanks above all to its logistics expertise. Anyone who shuts down central logistics hubs at night is acting irresponsibly and putting the future viability of Germany’s export industry at risk."
Speaking on behalf of the federal government, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Jan Mücke, stressed the importance of having a competitive logistics industry in Germany. "In order to retain and expand Germany’s leading position in the logistics sector, politicians must optimise the conditions for competition in the industry. Besides increasing airport capacity, the government’s aim is to guarantee internationally competitive operating hours."
Germany already has the most stringent night flight restrictions
In recent years in Germany, courts have tended increasingly to issue one-sided rulings. Absolute bans on night flights jeopardise the competitiveness of Germany’s airports and of the entire export industry. All important air cargo hubs in Europe that compete with Germany as a business location, such as Amsterdam, Paris, London or Madrid, ensure economically essential night flights. This applies to an even greater extent to airports in the Gulf region that compete with Germany on transcontinental routes between Asia and Europe or Asia and America.
Lufthansa Cargo CEO and Chairman Carsten Spohr, also speaking on behalf of the newly founded initiative, called on the federal government to create reliable framework conditions. "That is the only way that companies can make long-term investments in a location. Logistics is a growth industry and it will remain so. It already accounts for ten per cent of Germany’s economic strength. In order to grow further and to create new perspectives, we must have planning reliability and a demand-driven infrastructure." The specialist conference is the first in a series of activities in support of the "Cargo needs the night" initiative. More information is available on the website www.die-fracht-braucht-die-nacht.de.