Tuesday, June 30, 2020

No Silk Road for These Trains as They Take the Airfreight Route Heading East

Giant Aircraft Carries Twin Maglev Units to China
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – CHINA – With the promotion of the Silk Road route we have heard a lot this year about the benefits and drawbacks of airfreight versus block trains coming from China into Europe, but our (rather idealistic) picture shows a reverse scenario with two complete maglev train sections shipping as air cargo in the opposite direction.

As is so often the case with such a huge project freight forwarding exercise only one aircraft type in the world is capable of successfully carrying such a consignment, one of the fleet of seven AN-124-100 aircraft operated by Antonov Airlines. Even taking into consideration the dimensions of the high tech train sections at 12.6 x 2.8 x 3.7 metres per section and with a total payload of about 36 tonnes this was never going to be a straightforward shipment.

Such a unique cargo requires bespoke loading equipment, like the special loading/offloading technology and equipment designed by Antonov Airlines which was used for loading of the train sections into the giant freighter. The two Max Bögl TSB maglev trains shipped from Munich, Germany to the customer, Chengdu Xinzhu Road & Bridge Machinery Co. in cooperation with KN Airlift GmbH whose Manager Sales & Operations, Timo Kaden commented:

”This exciting project was based on long term perfect teamwork from all involved parties. We highly appreciate the professional performance from our valued partner Antonov Airlines."

In addition to the loading equipment, a special lashing scheme was designed to secure the trains inside of the aircraft and transport them safely during the flight, including a stop in Almaty, Kazakhstan for refueling and crew rest. Andriy Blagovisniy, Commercial Director of Antonov Airlines observed:

“For Antonov Airlines this project was both challenging and interesting at the same time. Its realisation required careful preparation and performance of the flight strictly in accordance with the confirmed schedule. This air shipment became especially unusual during the world Covid-19 pandemic times. We thank our customer KN Airlift for their continued trust and effective cooperation.” .