BRU cargo
© Irkin09

Forwarders at Brussels Airport enjoyed faster pick-up and delivery yesterday, following the introduction of the airport’s slot booking app.

DHL Global Forwarding was the first to book on Monday, with Nippon Express, Kuehne + Nagel, Panalpina and Skyfast also taking advantage of the new process.

More than 300 slots have now been booked over the next few weeks.

The app allows forwarders to book times for pick-up and delivery at two handling warehouses, those of Aviapartner and WFS. On approval by the handler, they can go to the reserved gate at the specified time instead of having to queue, cutting wait times.

Until yesterday, all information was exchanged manually, via email or phone. This resulted in peak and idle periods for ground handlers, waiting times for forwarders, a lack of transparency and inefficient personnel planning, according to the BRUCargo community. The new app matches a slot request with available capacity and aligns supply and demand.

“The first feedback was very positive and no major issues have been reported,” said Sara Van Gelder, cargo and logistics development manager for Brussels Airport.

“We have no objective calculation about the reduction of the waiting times, since before [the app] no data was collected and shared on waiting times. We can clearly say though, based on the feedback from the forwarders, that yesterday they could get immediate access to the reserved gates and so eliminate waiting times almost completely.”

The app will develop in three phases, with all local deliveries from forwarders located at BRU first.

“We want to broaden the scope of the app to include deliveries originating from outside BRUcargo. The more forwarders get involved, the more capacity the ground handlers will make available,” added Ms Van Gelder.

The slot booking app marks the first step towards digitising landside management at the airport. The community has plans for several more, including truck status, traffic guidance, freight management and driver database.

“A combination of applications will make it possible to have a smooth and paperless ‘green lane’ for the delivery and pick-up of freight,” said Ms Van Gelder.

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