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Integrated Air Cargo Hub (IACH) ? The Air Freight Transport Chain of the Future

Major international airports form the link between production sites and consumer markets worldwide, playing a crucial role in global transport chains. Yet the relationships between the vast number of stakeholders involved have become almost impossible to keep track of.

Large airports are the logistical hub where land and air transport networks for passengers and air freight meet. However, in the operational air freight transport chain – where task areas are strictly divided – the large number of companies involved still plan and carry out their processes independently from each other. As the scale of air freight logistics centres grows, a combination of inadequately coordinated individual processes, poor communication and information left unused, has exacerbated the complexity and inefficiency of the system. Average transport times have hardly improved over the last 20 years, for example.

The Objective of the Joint Project

Efficiency in the air freight transport chain is to be improved primarily by coordinating handling processes between the stakeholders, with the integration and improvement of the flow of information playing a major role. The aim is to raise productivity per unit area by up to 30 per cent through the targeted use of information for a more efficient application of resources. Available surface area, the decentralized structures and systems of the stakeholders, resources which are suitable for sharing, not to mention the more stringent security standards which the transport chain has to meet – these factors in particular must be taken into consideration. The efficiency and competitiveness of the system as a whole must be improved by the application of universal solutions. The establishment of an economically run neutral IT platform is essential for this to happen. Research will be carried out at Frankfurt Airport, Europe's largest air freight hub.

Specific Innovations

The IACH project will focus on developing the strategies to increase efficiency and on defining the foundations and requirements for a comprehensive IT platform. A variety of applications will serve to coordinate the processes and interfaces between stakeholders and to streamline the flow of information. The primary application areas will be: the terrestrial interface to truck supply control, central truck waiting positions and communication and control centre functions, in addition to the on-site CargoCity Logistics (CCL). Furthermore, IT integration will allow the more efficient shared use of a centralized turnaround and transfer facility to the airport ramp and security area.

Partners in the Project

aviainform GmbH


Fraport AG


Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML


Schenker Deutschland AG


Siemens AG Division Mobility

Based on research conducted at Frankfurt Airport, strategies and products are being developed that will increase efficiency in air freight traffic.

Contact person

Dr.-Ing. Heinrich Frye


FraunhoferInstitute for Material Flow and Logistics IML



Dr.-Ing. Harald Sieke


Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML



Facts & Figures

Start of the Project


Project Duration
36 months

Project Volume
1,5 Mio. Euro

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