A rail connection for air cargo

The integration of railways into the airfreight or the express freight market is publicly supported from different sides. The Fraunhofer IML analyzed together with the Ingenieurgruppe IVV-Aachen the logistic feasibility of a rail connection for freight at the Cologne/Bonn airport, representing one of the major German airports.

The study of the requirements, which customers apply on an airport freight station, revealed that a direct access to the apron is indispensable. In order to enable the consolidation of road and air cargo volume the airport freight station has to be connected to the public road network.

Another important aspect for a freight station is the potential freight volume. For this purpose, the road and air cargo volume was determined and extrapolated onto the reference year 2005. Furthermore the transport time frames and the departure and arrival times of relevant traffic within the companies' transport networks were determined and the possibilities for a time wise consolidation of the different modes of traffic were assessed. Thereby the logistic requirements for a rail cargo connection could be defined for the most suitable relations.

The feasibility study included an evaluation of possible locations and trans-shipment technologies, the determination of necessary investment and a profitability study.

The result shows that due to the present prices and high investments a railway connection is unprofitable even for the relations with the highest transport volume. Due to the present frame conditions for railways a short-term rail connection for freight on the airport site is not advisable.

integration of rail


direct apron access

volume potential

Consideration of economic efficiency