#AskACW & Schiphol Cargo: Don’t snooze on e-commerce

Twitter: America’s number-one source for prescient political discourse, and now, insight into the exciting intersection of airfreight and technology. Yesterday, Air Cargo World held its first monthly TwitterChat, which explored how e-commerce is changing the aviation industry. On board to answer the public’s questions was Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Cargo’s director of business development, Saskia van Pelt, @SchipholCargo.

Right out of the gate, Van Pelt agreed that “at Schiphol, we think there has been a positive influence on cargo volumes due to e-commerce.” That said, she pointed out that e-commerce shipments aren’t easy to identify, and thus hard to measure.

Additionally, Van Pelt notes that carriers are still still struggling to separate e-commerce freight from general freight. carriers twitter

That hasn’t stopped Schiphol from getting its e-commerce ducks in a row. Dutch Customs launched a ruling for a simplified e-commerce declaration in late 2016 called VENUE, which speeds up e-commerce shipments through Schiphol. VENUE-authorized shippers can submit a pre-declaration leaving out one or more particulars, such as the harmonized system (HS) code applicable to goods valued at EUR22 or less, requiring no supplementary declaration.

The chat touched on a pilot intra-Europe same-day delivery service program launched on Dec. 15 by Netherlands-based Parcel International, in cooperation with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Van Pelt added, that collaboration among all stakeholders at the airport was crucial to building Europe’s preferred e-commerce hub.

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Returning to one of the clearest examples of collaboration, the potentially revolutionary service, known as “12Send”, offers first-mile pickup (from online sellers in the Netherlands), places parcels in a trackable tote and drops the packages into Schiphol’s baggage system. From there, the baggage system routes the parcels to the appropriate aircraft flying to cities within KLM’s European network, much like a piece of passenger luggage. At the destination airport, 12Send takes over again by retrieving the parcel from the airport and providing last-mile delivery to the consumer, using electric vans or e-bikes.

The last subject discussed the importance of having a strong route network to and from China, as the majority of European e-Commerce shipments originate from the Chinese mainland. Items shipped are mostly “fashion goods, electronics and small items from China to Europe, and milk powder, other baby products and cosmetics the other way around.”

The Chinese Government has assigned several e-commerce zones pilot zones. Van Pelt pointed out that “at Schiphol we believe good connections with China are vital,” and that “over 100 weekly flights, carried out by nine airlines, connect Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to the 12 main cities in China,” six of which are destinations with cross-border e-commerce pilot zones.

Those interested in learning more about the impact of e-commerce on airfreight, and what Schiphol Cargo is doing to become one of Europe’s foremost e-commerce hubs, should join us at Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai, 25 – 26 April where Saskia van Pelt will join a panel discussion dedicated to the topic.  To register, or for more information, visit to CargoFactsAsia.com

In the meantime, make sure to follow ACWmagazine on Twitter, and stay tuned for the next edition of #AskACW, Air Cargo World’s monthly TwitterChat.

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