Interview with Christoffel Nielen
|Chris Nielen is the Vice President – Sales & Marketing EMEA (Europe, Africa & the Middle East) at Cargolux. He has been in the industry over amazing 20 years. Prior to his current role, Mr. Nielen was the VP – Sales & Marketing at Cargolux. He had worked as Regional Commercial Manager at IAG Cargo (British Airways & Iberia Cargo) and Area Commercial Manager – East & Central Europe with British Airways World Cargo.|
1. Cargolux has placed a strong focus on Digital Sales, what initiatives have been implemented?
One of the most important milestones in Cargolux’s journey to digital Sales was the launch of our internal pricing platform, LEAP. The system provides better connectivity, and optimized offers thanks to improved pricing logic and smart analytics. The success of this platform then served as a basis to develop an external quoting and booking solution. This system was then made available to customers through a set of APIs giving customers the direct access to quote and book their freight onboard our aircraft.
The customer portal was then development based on the APIs, offering customers access to a seamless and transparent quoting & booking tool. The portal builds on the functionalities developed for the API and therefore offers a coherent “best price” response across the two channels. The introduction of this portal is the latest step in Cargolux’s wide-ranging Sales digitalization. This transformation aims to enhance customers’ experience throughout their interaction with Cargolux.
2. What are the advantages of a tool such as the recently launched customer portal?
The portal offers tailored quoting and booking in a few clicks allowing customers to find the perfect transport solution for their “simple” shipments autonomously. The user-friendly portal gives customers access to dynamic pricing offers allowing them to choose the solution best adapted to their requirements. The pandemic has highlighted the increasing demand for such tools and Cargolux is pleased of these digital developments that enhance customer experience and improve the company’s “speed-to-market” while offering the same quality service.
The online portal offers transaction options for all customer profiles, from international groups to local independent forwarders. All new or potential customers have to do is sign up to the portal on our website or through my.cargolux.com. Once the profile is created, users can freely enter their requirements and browse through the options available for their cargo.
3. Why is it important for Cargolux to develop their digital sales offering?
The air cargo industry is in the midst of a profound transformation focused on lean and agile processes. As a cornerstone of global commerce, air freight must adapt to the digitalization trend and develop user-friendly tools adapted to the specific nature of our business. The pandemic has highlighted the requirement for digital tools and all stakeholders in the industry must adapt to changing requirements.
Cargolux is intent on streamlining its processes and delivering the service excellence it is renowned for. Digitizing our sales program allows us to anticipate the future and we look forward to further developing these capabilities. Digital tools reduce the volume of email exchanges and increases flexibility and transparency on the quoting and booking side. Cargolux is Europe’s leading cargo carrier and as such, it must anticipate market trends to meet customer expectations in a seamless manner.
4. How has your customer base reacted to this new channel?
We have received very positive feedback. Our customers appreciate the high level of flexibility and the single-source approach to quoting and booking. Service excellence is part of the Cargolux DNA and having these tools available reflects our commitment to clients’ expectations. The market is evolving and it’s important for Cargolux to bolster its position as a leader in the market through digital tools.
5. Are there any more exciting developments in the pipeline?
Access to the customer portal is currently limited to forwarders based in Europe and within a certain volume limit. The platform is currently being launched in the United States and will be deployed throughout the network as soon as practicable. We are also working to extend to scope of the quoting and booking capabilities to provide a wider offer and further enhance our customer experience.
Cargolux, based in Luxembourg, is Europe’s leading all-cargo airline operating a fleet of 30 Boeing 747-8 freighters and Boeing 747-400 freighters. The Cargolux worldwide network covers over 75 destinations on scheduled all-cargo flights and offers full and part-charter services. The company has more than 85 offices in over 50 countries and operates an extensive global trucking network to more than 250 destinations. With 50 years of experience in the air cargo industry and an extensive product portfolio, Cargolux provides tailored transport solutions for all types of shipments. As a responsible cargo carrier, Cargolux has developed a solid CSR program encompassing Environmental, Social, and Governance principles. The Cargolux Group employs over 2,200 staff members worldwide.