DB Schenker has stopped operating its own dedicated airfreight fleet in the U.S., opting instead for a non-fixed asset model. The company will being phasing out its dedicated air fleet, which is expected to last a few weeks. This doesn’t mean the company will stop serving North America, just that it won’t be using its own planes.
According to Heiner Murmann, Schenker’s CEO, the company is simply reacting to customer demands.
“As a result of the prolonged recession and spiking fuel prices, more and more of our customers are opting for expedited ground-based solutions instead of domestic air freight, and they are looking for partners who can provide transportation management services rather than transactional transportation,” he said in a statement.
It’s a move some in the industry have been talking about for months, but the decision still comes as a blow to long-time customers. Paul Toth, CEO of the Toldeo-Lucas County Port Authority, said Schenker subsidiary BAX Global had used the Toledo airport as its hub for more than 20 years. Though he was “disappointed” with the decision, the airport will soldier on despite the estimated 700 layoffs expected as a result of the news.
“Toledo Express has a strong background in the global cargo market and it is the desire of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to continue cargo operations absent of BAX Global,” he wrote in an email. “The Port Authority continues to actively pursue various activities and opportunities relative to cargo development at Toledo Express.”
The aircraft leasing company Air Transport Services Group had been dedicating eight DC-8 planes and eight 727 aircraft to freight business from DB Schenker. CEO Joe Hete said that a lot is still unkown about the DB Schenker’s realignment, but the one certainty is that the company’s use of aircraft will be reduced.
“While we are continuing to evaluate that notice in the context of our other communications with DB Schenker, we expect a reduction in our role as a provider of main-deck freighter lift for DB Schenker in North America,” Hete said.
Correction: Due to an editing error, this article was previously given a misleading headline. The correct headline is DB Schenker realigns its US domestic transportation system. Air Cargo World regrets the error.