Will Leipzig be the next Europeandestination for Jade Cargo International,as it takes delivery of its thirdfreighter?
If so, it will be good news for SwissWorldCargo, the cargo arm of SwissInternational Air Lines, which acts as itsGSA in Germany, Switzerland, Franceand Italy.
In mid February, Bernd Maresch,Swiss WorldCargo’s general managermarketing and communications, wouldnot be drawn on details, but confirmedthat Swiss was "talking behind thescenes" with Jade about its route expansionplans. "And we would obviouslylike to pitch for any business that theycan offer us," he added.
The choice of Swiss as Jade’s GSAfor the four countries seemed a curiousone when it was announced last July. Afterall, Swiss has focused on belly cargoand premium traffic, not filling B747freighters with consolidated cargo.
But Oliver Evans, chief cargo officerfor Swiss, insists it is a natural businessfor the carrier. "We have a good workingrelationship with the forwarders inEurope, both the niche ones and theglobal ones," he says.
"And for us it is still a niche business,just a geographical one." It helps thatSwiss does not fly to Shenzhen, Osakaor Seoul, the current Asian stops onJade’s network, but in any case, Mareschinsists, the Jade business is keptsomewhat separate from the normalSwiss sales effort.
"We have a dedicated manager forJade, based in Frankfurt, who is incharge of the overall business, and ineach country a member of the Swisssales team is also responsible for Jade,"he says. "Of course, other members of our sales force might also sell cargo for Jade, but for these dedicated people, Jade is the priority."
Despite all this, Swiss has so faronly been feeding cargo into oneJade destination Â¨C Brescia in Italy. TheChinese carrier’s other stop in Europe,Barcelona, is covered by another GSA,Air Logistics.
Maresch says the reason is thatSwiss has a relatively small operationin Spain, with an office in Madrid andone sales person in Barcelona.
"We had to be honest with Jadeabout what we would be able to offer,"he says.
The same assessment would be madeif Jade started services to other placesin Europe outside the current fourcountries handled by Swiss.
"We would like to have the business, but we will only pitch for it if we feel we can offer a good service," Mareschsays.
As for how volumes are going outof Brescia, Maresch will only say thatit is "in line with expectations. We arehappy and Jade are happy, but if youwant to know more, you would reallyhave to ask them," he says.
Of course, a key suspicion aboutthe Jade deal must be that the Chinesecarrier chose Swiss so as not tobe too dependent on its 25 percentshareholder, Lufthansa Cargo. To this,Evans says: "Of course Lufthansa hasexcellent sales people, but they have awide network of their own to sell. Wecould offer a very focused sales organisation. This was a new business for us, to enter the consolidation market, and that was attractive to Jade."
Meanwhile, Swiss WorldCargo hasalso since March last year been actingas GSA to Lufthansa Cargo Charter,and since January to time:matters, theLufthansa same-day cargo subsidiary.
Maresch says these are differentfrom the Jade deal, however, in thatthey are effectively extensions to theSwiss product portfolio. "For example, the Lufthansa Cargo co-operation gives us access to charter capacity for our customers, and in turn we give them a connection to specialist shippers who they might otherwise not be familiar with."
Meanwhile, the time:matters cooperationgives the express companya greater network for its same-dayservices, while for Swiss it is a valuableadditional service for its niche shippers.Evans says the product is initially onlybeing offered on European routes, buthe envisages it also being rolled out onlong-haul routes too.
Â¨C Peter Conway