Best practice: Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS)
Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS) is the largest air cargo handling operator at Frankfurt Airport. FCS offers comprehensive services for all aspects of physical and documentary cargo handling in a 54,000-square-meter transhipment warehouse. Some 700 experienced employees handle 750,000 tons of air freight annually for more than 50 international airlines. At the pulse of the global economy, the logistics industry benefits particularly from the international exchange of goods. FCS is a subsidiary of WFS Worldwide Flight Services, one of the world's largest handling companies, and Fraport AG, owner and operator of Frankfurt Airport.
Every second counts in air freight handling. Accordingly, the processes at FCS, the largest independent cargo handler at Frankfurt Airport, are tightly synchronized. Around 700 employees work in three shifts in 24/7 operation to optimally handle the almost-always urgent cargo in Cargo City Süd. A total of 89 doors are available for loading and unloading. In order to ensure these are used to optimum capacity, FCS introduced the FAIR@Link slot booking system last year.
In order to be able to pick up or deliver shipments at FCS, forwarders and trucking companies must reserve time slots for loading and unloading at the doors. FCS Managing Director Claus Wagner explains the process: "For a slot booking, the forwarder or trucker sends a Transport Pre Announcement (TPA) via FAIR@Link with the requested time slot and all other necessary data. The availability is immediately checked automatically in FAIR@Link. If everything matches, the time slot is confirmed; if not, the system offers up to four alternative suggestions for handling."
"With an average of almost 13,000 trucks being loaded and unloaded each month, the platform gives us maximum transparency over the entire handling process."
Giant-screen TVs illustrate door occupancy at FCS
With the "live information" available via FAIR@Link for each booked slot, FCS and DAKOSY have built a virtual depiction of the door occupancy. In technical jargon, this representation is called a "digital twin". The latest development at FCS is the visualization of the door occupancy for the day on two giant-screen televisions. The different statuses are highlighted in color: planned truck arrivals are shown in bright red, vehicles currently at the doors are shown in green, and trucks that have been dispatched are shown in blue. "The big screens give the supervisors an optimal overview of the entire handling situation and enable them to better plan their upcoming operations, including their breaks," concludes Ingo Hofmann, Manager Traffic & ULD Handling at FCS. The integration of break planning is a special feature that the FAIR@Link team developed just for FCS.
FRA-OS for faster Consol import procedures
Furthermore, a second important digitalization project for import customs processing was already implemented in 2022 with the FAIR@Link module FRA-OS/Import. FRA-OS is used at Frankfurt Airport to meet the requirements of EU customs regulations. The platform enables presentation at HAWB level for all import shipments and thus the 1:1 referencing required by customs law. In addition to the processing of all relevant customs and freight information in FAIR@Link, every movement of the freight on the airport premises is electronically tracked in real time via status messages. Seamless tracking ensures that customs officials have access to the goods at all times, when necessary, and that all participants can plan better.
Wagner highlights the importance of this digitalization step for FCS: "We move up to 35,000 tons of imported goods through Cargo City Süd every month. In order to also meet the customs requirements relating to this volume, we rely on automated processes. The digital solution FRA-OS creates transparency, speeds up procedures and minimizes any interface problems."