Charter operation switches from sea to air

By Roger Hailey

Charter firm deugro Air Chartering devised a modal shift from sea to airfreight to transport an oversized compressor from Germany to the US with an An-124 freighter aircraft.

Together with deugro Houston, deugro Air Chartering planned initially to ship the cargo by sea, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on industrial production in Europe, the completion of the unit was delayed by several months.

To maintain the delivery and installation schedule of the project, the compressor needed to be delivered to the job site immediately after fabrication.

Said Tobias Schultz, deugro group executive vice president: “Deugro’s experts identified an air charter solution using an AN-124 as the optimum method to transport the cargo, allowing flexibility to plan the flight date in accordance with the cargo readiness date, including nominating the airport of destination closest to the production site.

“Air charter, with its benefits of speed and flexibility, is considered a premium-cost solution – deugro always tries to focus on reducing transportation costs for the client. Our air charter team has years of experience in executing complex airfreight projects. The team is committed to always finding the right transport solution at the highest QHSES standards and at the most reasonable costs.”

Said Pavel Kuznetsov, head of air chartering for deugro: “For this project, we were able to secure the An-124 based on an empty ferry leg. This allowed us to reduce the charter price for our client by about 20%, which is a significant cost reduction if you are talking about a full charter on the world’s second-largest cargo aircraft.”

The second challenge was the configuration of the unit. The position of the lifting lugs of the compressor unit, originally prepared for ocean freight transport, did not allow for loading the cargo with the An-124’s on-board crane.

To overcome this, the deugro team arranged a mobile crane as well as a loading ramp to load the cargo into the aircraft at Germany’s Cologne Bonn Airport. The same method was used to offload the compressor at its destination, Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.

The company provided end to end supervision for the movement of this critical cargo. including on-site operational management at the vendor’s manufacturing facility, during the aircraft handling operations and the final transport to the production site.

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