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AIR CARGO FOCUSBROKERS


Volga-Dnepr Airlines recently carried one of Eurocopter’s Super Puma helicopters and two Sikorsky S-92 helicopters from Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands and Philadelphia, USA, to Bergen in Norway.


up to 20 tonnes and is able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips. It is expected to prove very popular for providing last-leg transport services into such places as Darwin, Karratha and Perth, where it is difficult or impossible to unload a main deck freighter with cargo of any significant weight.


It is expected to prove particularly popular for serving mining destinations across the northwest and southwest of the country. Michael Grant, general manager of Chapman Freeborn Australia, observed: “We have been regularly chartering the Hercules to fly outsize and time-critical cargo in Southeast Asia and Australasia, especially to remote locations in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam and Cambodia. It is also within easy reach of New Caledonia, Nauru, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand.”


may be triggered for late delivery, recourse to a broker for an urgently needed part suddenly becomes an economically viable course of action.


Charters can become a key part of a project supply chain over a period of months, but it is rare, said Lancaster at ACS. Like Wald, he pointed out that most often it comes about when the project is located in a remote, hard-to-reach region. In such a case, regular scheduled cargo capacity of any size will probably not be available. Or, a local air gateway may not have the sort of cargo handling infrastructure required to handle the heavy lift operations needed for moving project cargo, and the services of a specialised consultant such as a broker may be called upon to access and make available the necessary equipment.


Enquiries


Lancaster believes that cargo charters are also now being more widely recognised by those companies bidding for project logistics work as a likely – rather than just possible – link in the supply chain. Evidence of this, he said, comes in the growing number of enquiries ACS receives for movements being planned far ahead of possible project logistics shipments; clients or potential clients, most usually forwarders, are asking how much a charter would cost on a particular route carrying a particular cargo. Clearly, the possibility of charters being required as part of the project’s long-term supply chain is being factored in early on in the workflow. For Air Partner’s Smith: “Ultimately, when charters are cost-effective they are widely used. When the overall costs associated with a project are assessed, then


www.heavyliftpfi.com


the advantages of the speed and security of delivery offered by dedicated charters is apparent. A creative approach to the use of charters – such as the use of part charters or scheduled service diversions – may offer more economic options, and good brokers provide a unique service in putting creative solutions into the mix for project forwarders.”


Some brokers offer their own managed aircraft services, obviating at least some of the need to seek out carriers’ freight capacity. Thus, for example, broker Chapman Freeborn has just signed a contract with Safair to place and operationally manage an L382 Hercules aircraft in Australia. According to Chapman Freeborn: “As the


only rear-loading freighter of its kind in the country, there is expected to be strong demand for an aircraft which will be based in Brisbane on a long-term agreement.” The equipment will be available for both international and domestic airlift, can carry


The holistic perspective


Grant, too, believes that air cargo charters are typically employed by clients when they are “in distress and have already explored other means of delivery”. However, he added: “If we look at a project from a holistic perspective, air cargo planning should form part of the initial logistics assessment and not be ignored as it can be.


“Most logistics planners will assess and provide budgets for road, rail, trucking and sea, but ignore the vital possibility that airlift may be required, and that apart from ‘when it all goes bad’ that airlift may be a viable, cost-effective method of delivering key parts of a project.”


Project cargo is a crucial revenue-earner. – Justin Lancaster, Air Charter Service


Grant noted that airlift can be used to bring forward delivery times: “By accelerating the delivery of certain critical path items, the project can build insurance into the delivery schedule,” he pointed out. “If critical path items are onsite and available, it is possible to accelerate the whole project. Chapman Freeborn is seeing increased interest from major engineering, procurement and construction contractors and oil companies that are inviting the broker to provide input into their pre-feasibility logistics studies. “Once brought into the planning function, we are able to provide a best-value solution to the project,” Grant outlined. By dealing with a broker such as Chapman Freeborn early in the planning and execution stages of a project, he believes that a customer can be offered proactive solutions that provide better value than when a broker operates from just one or two days’ notice of the requirement. HLPFI


Supplement July/August 2013 89


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