Usage of BRUCloud’s slot-booking application evolves

More than a year since BRUcloud’s launch of its Slot Booking Application (SBA) for air cargo stakeholders at Brussels International Airport (BRU), at the beginning of 2018, users of the service are saying that the app has benefited their operations and are convinced that slot-booking is the way forward, but there is still some room for improvement. 

As Air Cargo Belgium and Brussels Airport Co. – the company that manages BRU – are  assessing the usage of the app in its first year, BRUcloud recently spoke with users for feedback, including freight forwarder Nippon Exprsess Belgium deputy general manager for air cargo, Raf Van Espen, and Air Promotions Agencies owner Maria Cranshof, who discuss the app’s evolving usage at BRU and how it can be improved. 

BRUCloud’s SBA supports the paperless delivery and pick-up of cargo at groundhandling facilities and is aimed at eliminating wait times for ground handlers that can find available slots on the app instead of waiting in a queue. For freight forwarding companies, the process of sharing data over secure cloud platforms increases visibility between providers, which allows for efficient planning of operations and lower costs in time and money. 

Espen and Cranshoff both said they find the app beneficial to their respective company’s operations and had the best slot-booking results, in terms of absolute amount of correctly used slots and the percentage of correctly used slots in April, according to BRUCloud 

However, the SBA is not yet used 100% correctly within BRU’s community, and thus we are not yet realizing all benefits, said Van Espen. One of the biggest “issues” that needs to be tackled, he said, is that other freight forwarders also want to book as many slots as possible. Cranshof agreed that forwarders should respect Slot Booking reservations and cancel slots when not needed, while Espen also mentioned that ground handlers should be more committed to offer Slot Booking 24/24 and 7/7.  

Crashnof also said that companies would like to see an expansion in the offered capacity by the SBA, both in terms of available gates and warehouse personnel that handle the slots. 

Nippon Express said that it began using the SBA immediately to book export slots and ensured these slots were respected and followed-up upon correctly by staff. Recently, the company said it is increasing its focus on booking import slots and aims to use this facet of the app more. Meanwhile, Air Promotions Agencies said it has tuned its Enhanced Due Diligence-Screening (EDD-Screening) to the SBA and that, each day when its warehouse receives delivery lists per slot, it takes the feedback into account when planning the slots. 

Ultimately, Espen said, “slots mean priority. This is something I have made very clear to my operational staff and something I keep mentioning.” 

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