Exclusive – Schenker und Lufthansa Cargo go for 300

The joint freighter flights operated by DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo, and powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), will be continued during the upcoming winter schedule. Tomorrow, (14OCT22), the 150th of these SAF flights will depart from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and arrive at Frankfurt Rhine-Main Airport (FRA) later that day. In a way, it is a double anniversary, because the logistics heavyweight is also celebrating its 150th birthday this year.

According to data captured during the last winter timetable, on average, 174 tons of fossil fuel burn were saved per flight on the FRA-PVG sector thanks to SAF usage. This added up to a net reduction of 20,250 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the end of OCT21 to 27MAR22, when the winter flight schedule ended.
In the upcoming half-year flight period, it will be even more because, since Russia’s assault on Ukraine 24FEB22, all western aircraft have to circumvent Russian airspace on sectors linking Europe and the Far East, which prolongs flights by 1.5 to 2 hours each. Therefore, CO2 savings in the upcoming winter schedule are expected to significantly exceed the figures from a year ago, where 14,175 tons of CO2 emissions were saved thanks to the burn of SAF instead of traditional kerosene.

Ongoing commitment
It is also noteworthy that third parties have meanwhile jumped on the bandwagon by supporting the Schenker-Lufthansa Cargo SAF initiative. The first to do so was Finnish IT producer, Nokia, which has committed to regularly contribute 10 tons of freight per flight traveling from Shanghai to Frankfurt, willing to pay the higher SAF price per consignment. As things stand, this is three to four times the price of fossil fuel-based rates, increasing the cost of air cargo transports. Similar support comes from Schenker’s major Chinese customer, Lenovo, which has even booked 20 tons of capacity for its own goods on the weekly SAF flights jointly operated by Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo from PVG to FRA.
Particularly important for the SAF project and the involvement of further supporters, is that Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo have decided to continue their joint mission at least until the end of MAR23 – the third prolongation since the flights began.

150 flights are only a pleasing interim result
This is emphasized by Achim Martinka, VP DACH & Key Account Management at Lufthansa Cargo, who hopes for an even longer period of joint SAF flights: “We are very pleased that, thanks to DB Schenker’s ongoing commitment, we have reached this important milestone for our joint CO2-free flights. The topic is of key priority for both companies and is driven by our full conviction. This is why we also quickly decided to extend this important sustainability project, setting possible obstacles aside. Both of our commitments are long-term and are to be expanded where possible. In this respect, we look forward with confidence to the next 150 flights and hopefully many more to come.”
300 SAF flights: Schenker executive, Thorsten Meincke did not want to go that far, but the Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight at DB Schenker, also praised the SAF initiative by emphasizing the benefits for the CO2 footprint of those customers who decide to come on board: “Since spring 2021, our unique SAF full charter helps customers to make their supply chains more sustainable. Now, the 150th CO2-neutral flight covered by SAF is already taking place! What a great achievement in our company’s 150th anniversary year. We will celebrate the twofold anniversary by extending our successful partnership with Lufthansa Cargo,” the manager stated.

SAF: It’s now time to act
What he did not say but might have thought: Those players who today decide to use SAF for their air transports, are likely to have market advantages in the future, because SAF is a scarce commodity, and fossil fuel will become significantly more expensive in the near future triggered by stricter environmental laws.
Lufthansa Cargo is Schenker’s largest partner in SAF usage, but not the only one. The logistics company committed to purchasing a significant number of SAF credits from Singapore Airlines to provide its customers with SAF options to reduce the carbon footprint of their individual supply chains. And more deals are just around the corner: “In order to drive the green transition of our industry, we have several further SAF-related initiatives in the pipeline,” an executive said.
However, he did not want to comment on when this will happen, and which further partners might be involved.

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