Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Huge Project Freight Forwarding Multimodal Shipment on the World's Largest Cargo Aircraft

No Other Aeroplane Can Come Close to the Mighty AN-225
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – ICELAND – CANADA – Most articles in the trade press are by their very nature, pretty boring, notwithstanding informative fare, something that can never be said when they include the world’s largest aircraft, the unique Antonov AN-225. This leviathan, the world’s largest aircraft, was originally designed by Antonov Design Bureau for the Soviet space programme to airlift the ultimate export air cargo consignment, the Buran space shuttle and the Energia rocket's boosters. Two aircraft were ordered, but only one single An-225 was actually completed which first took to the skies in December 1988 and this month it played its part in a truly multimodal freight forwarding movement.

This single craft passed into the hands of Antonov Airlines, and is still commercially available for carrying ultra-heavy and oversize freight up to 250,000 kilogrammes and, whilst it can accommodate single pieces up to 210 tonnes, the largest single item ever carried was a generator moved in 2009 weighing in at 187,600 kilogrammes, and a recent huge heat exchanger weighing 139 tonnes from Germany to Canada proved no great problem for the massive craft.

The sixteen metre long piece was loaded from the Borsig company plant in Berlin onto a inland waterway vessel using a 1,000 tonne mobile crane and transferred to Aken on the River Elbe. Craned off onto a low loader with one unit pulling and one pushing, the vehicle delivered the goods to the Leipzig/Halle Airport for loading aboard the AN-225 using a ramp and special chain hoists.

The equipment which, with its specially-constructed load cradle and associated handling equipment weighed a total of 147 tonnes, was flown from Leipzig to Edmonton via Keflavik (Iceland) and on to Goose Bay, a total distance of 8,400 kilometres. The charterer was Karpeles Flight Services GmbH, the charter arm of DB Schenker, and the flight was arranged, managed and operated by Antonov Airlines whose Commercial Executive Andriy Blagovisniy remarked:

“When a really large load such as this needs urgent transportation, the unique AN-225 Mirya really comes into its own – providing an attractive alternative to long and time-consuming ocean voyages and long, highly complex road haulage operations.”

The tricky operation required cooperation between all the parties in the supply chain including Antonov Airlines and DB Schenker Logistics experts from Germany and Canada, who spent three months planning the heavy-weight transport in minute detail.