The first Air Cargo Day Hungary conference bringing together cargo supply chain professionals was held in Budapest for the very first time yesterday. Over 100 key decision makers from the cargo business from all over the region attending this international event discussed the current issues of the sector, with special focus on its digitalization potential.
Terminal 1 of Liszt Ferenc International Airport hosted the first Air Cargo Day Hungary conference. The event was organized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Budapest Airport. The event was attended by all industry actors including the authorities, freight forwarders, airlines, and ground handling agents, to discuss the most important current issues affecting their work in the framework of panel discussions.
Key issues covered at the conference included the digitalization potential of the industry as well as technological innovations, the importance of which is also reflected in the fact that in the case of air freight, the average time of transport is six days, but a quarter of it is made up of border control and various administrative processes. It is therefore quite necessary to introduce innovations which accelerate such processes and also make them more transparent.
Anca Apahidean, area manager of IATA for Eastern Europe, underlined in her opening speech, “One third of international shipping is happening by air now, and the cargo sector all in all supports 65 million jobs globally.
For the industry to be able to keep its competitiveness, in addition to digitalization, processing should also be automated, since the processes applied in air freight remained the same over the last twenty years.”
“Without a strong logistics community and effective cooperation, cargo growth would be impossible for Budapest Airport, and here the support of the Hungarian government and the authorities was indispensable for us.” said Jost Lammers, the CEO of Budapest Airport, in his opening address. He also highlighted that although the volume of air cargo handled in the region decreased, the Hungarian GDP growth of over 5% and the expansion of the automotive and pharmaceutical industries are reasons for optimism. The volume of air cargo handled at Budapest Airport is expected to reach 150 thousand tons in 2019, which also shows that BUD Cargo City is coming right on time. The new logistics base is to be handed over by the end of this year at the airport.
Zsolt Veron, head of the supervisory division of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology emphasized that Budapest Airport could become one of the most significant cargo hubs in the region, and the management of the airport has an important role in this. “The government’s task is to create a predictable environment for investment and to simplify processes,” he said, and added,
“Budapest Airport is reaching the upper limit of its cargo handling capacity, and therefore, in addition to the development projects already announced, further investment will be required.”
As a conclusion of the conference, the participants visited the Cargo City under construction, the logistics base of Budapest Airport, a 15 billion HUF (approx. 46 million Euro) project fully financed by the airport operator. The facility, scheduled for completion by the end of the year, will make it possible for companies involved in handling and transporting air cargo to cooperate more effectively. Aviation-related cargo business provides jobs to approximately 2,000 people at the airport and further 10,000 employees are involved in off-airport logistics closely dependent on the cargo business.