Lufthansa's time-critical operation opens second Asian location
Lufthansa subsidiary time:matters, which moves time-critical spare parts, engines, urgent documents, samples or sensitive specimens, has opened a second Asian office in Shanghai. The company’s only previous Asia location was Singapore, which was established three years ago.
Bianca Ruprecht, head of sales steering and communications, said the intention was not to start serving the domestic Chinese market, but to provide additional support for international companies needing to shift goods at short notice into China and to help local firms with their urgent export requirements. “You’ve got to be where your customers are. It strengthens your reliability,” she said.
time:matters achieved record revenues in 2010 as a result of emergencies caused by the volcanic ash cloud and severe winter weather in Europe. During the eruption in Iceland, which closed Europe’s skies to conventional air traffic, the company even found a private pilot who was able to fly his small aircraft below normal altitude to rush life-saving stem cells from Ireland to a hospital in north Germany.
“The concept of emergency cover has changed since the ash cloud,” Ruprecht said. “Companies are pre-planning for these unforeseen events, for example with more local inventory, but we are also there as part of their back-up solution. Our main growth has been in our tailor-made, customized solutions.”
The company has agreements with 24 European carriers to use their baggage holds, courier-style, for the small shipment a client often needs to make. The shipments can be a tiny spare part or a CD that is needed to get an industrial production line moving or to repair a container ship that loses $100,000 a day if it is unable to move.
Sourcing capacity is not the usually the issue; the issue is the ability to manage complex time-critical movements from end to end, Ruprecht said. She claimed even the intergators, with their large aircraft fleets, are regularly time:matters customers.