Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Driving customer value is key in a competitive market

Driving customer value is key in a competitive market

In the past year, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has seen a sharp increase in passenger demand, while the demand for airfreight has been affected by rising inflation and changing geopolitical dynamics. Consequently, overall yields have been decreasing compared to last year. 

“The 2020-2022 period was rather specific, obviously, leading to a unique market situation that can’t really be taken as a reference. At AFKLMP Cargo, we’ve been adjusting our overall strategy to differentiate ourselves in this changing and more competitive environment,” GertJan Roelands, SVP Commercial Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, explained.

General cargo, pharma, perishables and some more specialised products (e.g. our Live and Wheels products) have been relatively strong for AFKLMP Cargo in terms of weight. These are also the products the carrier has invested in as part of our commercial transformation. On top of that, the market is very much spot-driven at present. 

“We’re getting a lot of market leverage out of our investment in our myCargo portal as well as in an even more advanced version of dynamic pricing. This is particularly beneficial in the general cargo segment. Currently, 80% of our bookings are being made online. This is rather unique for a B2B business and specifically in airfreight,” he continued.

READ: Taking healthcare logistics to new heights

Green foundation

AFKLMP Cargo has a clear focus on differentiating itself in terms of customer intimacy and sustainability. The carrier recently revised its vision statement to include an ambition “to become a leader in sustainable airfreight while delivering best-in-class customer experiences”. 

“This is the foundation of our cargo and commercial strategy. We increasingly used data to better understand customer needs and to identify sore points, which are areas that are important to our customers where we can improve,” Roelands highlighted. “We have used these to define points of action, tracking performance with customer experience (CX) related KPI’s. This CX ensures focus and makes us more customer-centric as an organisation.”

AFKLMP Cargo has recently undertaken several strategic initiatives to achieve this, including further expansion of their range of digital services. Unique new features introduced this year include the “modify my booking” option, the option to book allocations, and most recently the option to book DGR in myCargo.  

On the products side, they also introduced many new enhancements to their portfolio and related infrastructure. They introduced the “Plus” level last month, giving customers the option of upgrading their level of commercial priority.  

“We’ve also progressed in leaps and bounds when it comes to sustainability. We have now signed up more than 100 industry partners to our sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) programme, and we’ve seen more and more customers opting for goSAF in myCargo, thereby reducing their CO2 footprint per booking by buying SAF,” he added.

““All in all, our commercial approach and transformation is paying off. Customer satisfac­tion is increasing. This was confirmed by recent market-share figures, confirming that AFKLMP Cargo have taken the lead in Europe,” Roelands said.

READ: AFKLMP enhances cargo solutions

Focus in a competitive market

The sharp increase in passenger business has, in general, raised pressure on the whole airport ecosystem. At AFKLMP Cargo, they work very closely with their passenger colleagues to cope with this sharp increase as best as they can. 

“It’s not about prioritising passenger business over cargo, it’s about making sure we serve all our customers in the best possible way. It’s all about teamwork. Our team dynamic was great during Covid and we have managed to maintain it,” Roelands stated.

Judging by the prediction of various industry and economic experts, overall demand is expected to increase by 1-2% next year. Meanwhile, AFKLMP Cargo do see capacity growing, mainly due to strong passenger demand. It seems the market is ‘normalising’ in terms of seasonal patterns as well but, obviously, there are nuances. 

“We expect certain segments, like perishables and pharma, to keep growing. High-end cargo like pharma and some other products are also expected to show a relatively positive dynamic,” he outlined. “We also see further opportunities in the field of e-commerce. Our two state-of-the-art sorters in Paris and Amsterdam, combined with our digital propositions, will create further opportunities.”

AFKLMP Cargo also expects certain regions to show good performance, including outbound China, South East Asia, the Middle East region and India, as well as East and South Africa, along with specific destinations in the US and Mexico. 

“We believe we’ll make the difference with our global sales presence (more then 60 stations worldwide) as well as our unique digital platform myCargo, dynamic pricing, further development of our product range, and network expansion with new destinations,” Roelands added. 

“We aim to deliver best-in-class customer experiences with new initiatives, such as our “customer service model of the future”, which features a state-of-the-art CRM platform combined with a Customer-360 module, as well as new time-critical products, new digital services in myCargo, and a more data-driven customer approach.”

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on Edward.Hardy@AirCargoWeek.com

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