Monday, July 29, 2013

Another Intermodal Project Freight Forwarding Consignment Delivered on Schedule

Austrian Logistics Group Manages Combined International Road/Air Heavy Lift Movement
Shipping News Feature

ITALY – SWITZERLAND – US – The past week witnessed an impressive international project freight forwarding movement undertaken by Austrian based logistics group Gebrüder Weiss when the company arranged and coordinated the delivery of a steel tank weighing a total of over seventy tonnes from the manufacturers in Italy to its final destination in Houston, Texas where it will go into action in a waste incineration plant.

The tank, in excess of thirteen metres long, needed to be hauled into Switzerland where last Thursday, at Zurich airport, the second largest cargo plane in the world, an Antonov 124, stood with its fuselage nose folded upwards, ready for the load. Only the loading ramp and the mobile crane had to still be set up and brought into position, all in swelteringly hot conditions.

To be able to lift the tank of 70 tonnes from the flatback truck onto the ramp, the crane was loaded with an additional counterweight of 50 tonnes on-site. After the freight had been loaded up the ramp successfully, the tank was pulled into the plane over a carriage with the help of a chain/cable haulage.

The heavy transportation began almost a week earlier in Suisio, near Bergamo. From there, the steel tank was transported on an eight-axle flatbed truck across Switzerland to Zurich airport. To ensure minimum hindrance of the traffic flow, the majority of the transport time was undertaken ‘out of hours’. A police escort accompanied the truck for the additional safety of the special transport, such as for the transit through the Gotthard tunnel, which had to be closed to other traffic for an hour at midnight.

Gebrüder Weiss specialist staff commented on the requirement for absolute attention to detail when undertaking such a complex operation, the difficulties obviously exaggerated when using intermodal transport such as the road to air switch necessary in this case. Despite the potential for problems the entire shipment was delivered precisely as was proposed in the planned timetable.

With the giant aircraft which carry such loads as this recent movement ageing, Volga-Dnepr the principal operator which runs a fleet of ten of the giant Antonov’s, has launched a tender open to both Russian and international bidders, for ‘design activities’ to modify its current fleet of AN-124-100’s. The Research and Development works followed by EASA and/or FAA certification will modernise Volga’s existing aircraft and fulfil International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) prospective requirements for fleet compliance.

It is twenty one years since the ICAO first granted the 124’s their original airworthiness certificates which Volga said at the time created an entirely new commercial air freight segment offering a payload capacity of 120 tonnes.