Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What is More Nerve Wracking than Freight Forwarding or Handling a Cargo Like This?

Even Having Three Years Experience of the Event Doesn't Make Life Easier for Hactl
Shipping News Feature

HONG KONG – Nothing, but nothing, puts butterflies in the stomach of a conscientious shipping and forwarding agent or a cargo handler more than the transport concerns of sending or receiving large animals. All the expensive kit which is transported daily pales by comparison when handling someone else’s pet or prize stock. So imagine how the fear must multiply when there are sixty two of the beasts in question, and all are thoroughbred horses of incalculable value!

Such was the situation when Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), Hong Kong’s largest cargo handling agent were once again asked to handle all the equine show jumping stars competing in this year’s prestigious Longines Hong Kong Masters. Despite this being the third successive year that Hactl has handled the event’s animals it still represented one of the largest horse handling assignments in the company’s 38 year history and definitely not a task to be undertaken lightly.

Hactl handled all sixty two animals on their arrival from Liege, on board a freighter flight operated by carrier Emirates SkyCargo. The horses were unloaded from the aircraft and transferred to Hactl’s Livestock Handling Centre, specially located to minimise exposure to potentially stressful ramp noise. The horses were ferried to the Centre in their air stalls, and then, utilising a specially-designed gently-sloping ramp to prevent leg injuries, they boarded waiting air-conditioned horse-boxes arranged by The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

This year, 28 of the world’s top riders and their horses competed in CSI 5* classes, to win various unique and breath taking competitions in pursuit of a total prize fund of US$1 million before, a week later, Hactl repeated the entire exercise for the departing animals deploying a team of highly-trained equine professionals, to assist in handling the high value animals on arrival and departure. The entire project needed close cooperation between Hactl and the event’s official forwarder, DB Schenker. Hactl Chief Executive Mark Whitehead commented:

“We were delighted to be involved in this high-profile event for the third year running, and to be entrusted once again with the handling of its valuable equine competitors. Hactl’s state-of-the-art Livestock Handling Centre has again proved its worth, contributing to a safe and stress-free transition on arrival and departure. This facility is proving to be a significant element in Hong Kong’s ability to attract such top-level equestrian events.”

The company’s efforts were praised by the air carrier responsible for the overall shipment of the horses with Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo observing:

“We are proud to have been chosen to be the carrier for this exciting and prestigious event, giving us the opportunity to showcase our expertise in horse transportation. Our long-standing, close working relationship with Hactl helped to ensure that everything went entirely to plan.”