Gerton Hulsman

Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Managing Director Düsseldorf Airport Cargo

Ever since it was founded in 2001, Flughafen Düsseldorf CargoGmbH has been a 100% subsidiary of Düsseldorf Airport. Asthe largest and primary airport for the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitanregion, the airport has been touted as the third biggest airportin Germany, next only to Munich and Frankfurt. To establishcargo handling in Düsseldorf as a brand, it has been trading asDüsseldorf Airport Cargo since the spring of 2013. With over 180employees, Düsseldorf Airport Cargo stands for professional and high-quality air cargo handling and that for more than ten years now.
So far, Düsseldorf Airport Cargo has been able to convince new airlines of its knowhow and thus handles the import, export and transit freight of more than 25 airlines. We spoke to Gerton Hulsman, Managing Director of Düsseldorf Airport Cargo. Excerpts from the interview:

What does a typical day entail for you made in the warehouse and this contributes?

I always start my day with a coffee and chat with my Operational Managers to assess the situation including the scheduled for the day to come. After that I read my mails and prepare myself for the
schedules in my agenda. I also stroll around handling facilities (warehouse) and interact with the workers. The quality of our product is made in the warehouse and contributes to a big extent
to our overall quality. So it´s very important to keep as close as
possible with work floor.

What is your current role?

I am managing some 200 employees who are involved in the
handling of airfreight, document -and physical wise. Our clients
are the airlines and/or their representations, forwarders and
trucking companies. We handle around 116.000 tons of airfreight
per annum in our facility. We also need to keep track with our
customers in Germany and abroad, visit trade fairs and exhibitions
and to try to develop in close concert with the Chamber of
Commerce the possibilities for the future. This means that I am
travelling a fair part of my time and meet with people throughout
the transportation chain.

What are the difficulties you face in your current position?

The overcapacity which the airlines are facing and the resulting
battle for cargo and the subsequent high prices are the problems
we face on a daily basis. As a handling company, we are more or
less last in line and are facing ever decreasing prices which makes
it difficult to make both ends meet. To keep up with IT, security
and quality standards of the company, we are obliged to train our
people extensively.

How did aviation industry happen to you?

I joined KLM Cargo at Schiphol Airport in 1977 and had an excellent
opportunity to learn the freight product from the floor to the
management level. I had the chance to be active for KLM Cargo in
many countries and was part of developing several Product Market
Combinations like Perishable and Pharmaceutical Logistics.

Any funny anecdote from your professional life you would like
to share with our readers?

Years ago we were confronted with a massive project of
transporting of tubes, bolts and nuts, aluminum profiles, pipe
scaffolding like materials to be shipped to Qatar. It was such a
heavy and difficult load that it took us 2 days to build it on pallets
before we loaded the cargo on a B 747-400 Freighter aircraft. All
our staff involved in preparing this cargo was guessing what this
material could be used for. Little did we know that a beautiful
gallery would be made out of this material to be placed in the
Stadium where the World Cup will be held in 2022

Your favorite holiday hotspot?

United Kingdom with its marvelous regions remains my all time
favorite: be it cycling alongside the Thames, hiring a narrow boat in
Wales or strolling on the trails of the Pennine Way.

Favourite cuisine

My wife has Spanish blood in her veins and we spend some 4 years
in Spain for KLM Cargo. Many regions/areas in Spain have their own
cuisine and many of them I like a lot together with a good glass of
Rioja. When time permits I like to cook myself.

One thing you would love to change about your profession.

Transparency is what our industry needs. Forwarders, airlines and
handling companies communicate with each other, however
involving the shipper is a different ball game. The shipper in the
end benefits from transparency because it´s his or her merchandize
which goes through our hands.