Fraunhofer IML starts digital test field Air Cargo – eCommerce Magazin


As part of the “Digital Air Cargo Test Field” project, the partners involved want to create a neutral Germany-wide research framework. Airfreight-specific research activities are bundled and digitization approaches in the various process sections in airfreight are shown and made available.

Over a period of three years, under the scientific direction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences Integrating and overarching “lighthouse solutions” will be developed and demonstrated in six sub-projects. The implementation of these projects is planned with eight permanent operational project partners and one associated partner.

Develop cross-location digitization solutions

The amalgamation of different players, who cover the entire air freight logistics including the pre-carriage and onward carriage, enables perspectives and requirements for further developments from the entire industry to be brought in and taken into account. On the one hand, this creates the opportunity to develop cross-location digitization solutions. On the other hand, it creates the necessary acceptance for implementation in the existing process flows.

“The digital test field Air Cargo is a great opportunity to bring more innovations for efficient air freight processes into practice together as a consortium from business and science. I am proud of our Aviation Logistics team, I am pleased about the good cooperation with all partners and I wish the project every success ”, explains Prof. Uwe Clausen, Director of the am Fraunhofer IML.

Make processes in air freight more digital and efficient

“We want to make air freight more digital and more efficient. We can only do this if the actors make better use of the available capacities and optimize the processes. That is why we are developing digital solutions at the German airport locations that accelerate air freight. And thus can also reduce emissions from air freight. For the first time, all important locations in Germany are working together to strengthen Germany as an air freight location: Munich, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Cologne. The air freight industry is characterized by fierce competition. In this project we bring everyone involved together. And thus make the German location fit for the future for international competition, ”emphasizes Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

That Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is making around seven million euros available for implementation. In terms of content, the project comprises the following three subject areas:

  • Standardized data exchange between the stakeholders in the air freight transport chain with reference to national and international initiatives such as eFTI and ONE Record
  • Automation of disposition, handling and transport
  • Added value through AI-supported optimization and forecasts

In addition to the airports in Cologne, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Munich, the consortium partners include Lufthansa Cargo AG, DB Schenker and Sovereign Speed ​​GmbH as logistics service providers, as well as CHI Deutschland Cargo Handling GmbH. LUG aircargo handling GmbH is also involved as the first associated partner.

the Lufthansa Cargo AG, one of the consortium partners, is focusing within the project on the intensified exchange of data between all partners in the transport chain, also beyond the roles that have been typical up to now in the transport process. This data exchange is the basis for all data-driven optimizations and AI-based applications.

Air freight: Lufthansa Cargo with experience in digitizing the supply chain

Among other things, digital accompanying documents are to be made available to all parties from the producer to the recipient by using the IATA’s new ONE Record standard. Lufthansa Cargo played a key role in shaping this standard. Temperature data, position data and photos of the entire transport chain should also be made available in order to identify and solve problems at an earlier stage. This increases transparency and makes processes and capacities more efficient through better forecasts and higher data quality. This should lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions.