20-June 2024

Ensuring a priority service for Cargo – offering a competitive advantage to our customers

Interview with Barbara Jablonska-Marais, Cargo Operations Manager

Having previously worked at Heathrow, what do you see as the main differences between there and Bournemouth?

Of course, the two airports are incomparable!  Heathrow’s primary function (as per pretty much all the London area airports) is as a passenger interchange – cargo is secondary.  As a result of lack of slots, out of necessity the bulk of airfreight there moves in the belly hold of passenger aircraft – there simply isn’t much airport capacity remaining for ‘pure’ freight operations.  By its nature, therefore, passengers take priority.

Bournemouth is really different in that our cargo operation is 100% focussed on cargo only aircraft, which also means that each airfreight movement receives a focussed service.  Having all parts of the operations chain within the airport’s direct control also makes a big difference in us being able to assure our customers a fast and efficient service every time.

Cargo operations at Bournemouth have expanded quickly in the last two years – how has your team developed in line with this demand?

There’s no doubt that the ramp-up in demand has been quite a challenge, but we’ve worked hard to develop the team to ensure that we maintain quality of delivery. 

Having a good working relationship with our based carrier, European Cargo, really helps too: each extra flight means another 70 tonnes per day of freight through the warehouse – so we have to be able to react quickly to flex up our team when extra flights come into the schedule.

In addition to the three (and shortly to be four) based lines of flying for European Cargo, we’ve successfully handled numerous other regular and ad hoc all-cargo flights from a range of carriers including Cargojet, Maersk Air and Icelandair Cargo.  This has enabled us to build up experience of different clients and their unique requirements which has also helped develop skills within my team.

Bournemouth specialises in handling e-commerce goods.  How is the handling service geared to meet this particular product type?

Every customer, of course, has its own particular handling requirements and we’re always pleased to work closely alongside the airline and receiving agents to make sure our service meets their particular needs. 

At the end of the day, the critical objective is always speed-to-market.  As such, we always try to make sure we keep things as simple and efficient as possible: cutting out all unnecessary complexity in handling processes ultimately enables us to maintain that service consistency.

We’re very proud of the fact that benchmarking by a global logistics operator over an 18-month period proved that they could consistently receive goods that had landed at Bournemouth into their west of London warehouse quicker than similar consignments landing at Heathrow.

I’m extremely pleased with how my team will always pull out all the stops to make sure we offer a priority service every time.  It is always great to have feedback from any customer, big or small, that the Cargo First team has really made a difference to their operation – but I can’t deny that such a positive endorsement comes from a respected, global client it is especially gratefully received!

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