The Netherlands is an important freight hub with worldwide connections. Due to massive restrictions in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, the aviation industry in the Netherlands also faced major problems. At the first presence meeting of the Aircargo Club Deutschland since the beginning of the year, Ivo Aris, Vice President Europe Global Forwarding, C.H. Robinson, and Chairman of the Board of Air Cargo Netherlands, explained how the Dutch air cargo industry had reacted to developments in recent months.

Air Cargo Netherlands is an association of air cargo companies and airports in the Netherlands that have joined forces to promote the Netherlands as a business location and to network with each other. ACN also acts as an intermediary between politics and air cargo and is involved, for example, in the “Civil Aviation Policy Memorandum” being developed by the Dutch government. The aim is to highlight the importance of air freight for the Dutch economy. ACN thus forms the backbone of the Netherlands as an air cargo location. However, air freight in the Netherlands was also severely affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic and had to adapt to completely new circumstances.

In these times, Air Cargo Netherlands has ensured that the industry was able to tackle the many problems and challenges together through intensive coordination and cooperation with politicians and air freight players. Ivo Aris describes how Air Cargo Netherlands has been involved: “Of course, we too do not have a definitive answer as to how the pandemic will develop. However, we can provide policy makers and companies with analyses and scenarios. For that reason, in the early days of the pandemic,  we had weekly meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Transport to plan the way forward”.

Ivo Aris is currently assuming a slow recovery of air freight, but expects various difficulties in the process. After a severe slump in production capacity and a significant drop in demand in many areas, the economy is now in a phase in which it is not yet fully clear how supply and demand will develop. “Capacities will gradually increase again. However, there will be global air freight bottlenecks, for example when new products are released, but especially in the distribution of vaccines, because capacity will not grow fast enough”.

Aris also stresses that air freight will master the crisis. In this context, he emphasises global cooperation, which has alleviated many of the problems caused by the pandemic in recent months. “We understand very well the challenges that air freight in the Netherlands is currently facing, because they affect us to the same extent. But the example of the Netherlands also shows that cross-border cooperation is the best way to tackle the current challenges. It is therefore essential that the aviation industry continues to pull together in the coming months to find joint solutions,” said Prof. Dr. Christopher Stoller, President of the Aircargo Club Deutschland.

For the coming months Aris considers adaptability above all to be an important asset. He is optimistic that even small freight companies will be able to survive the crisis as long as they adapt quickly and flexibly to the new circumstances: “We do not know exactly what developments we will face in the coming months. But I am sure that there will also be niches and solutions for smaller companies that are currently not foreseeable. Good freight companies always find a way”.