Issue 7 2018 - FBJNA

///FLYING VALUABLES Flying valuables is an art in itself By Karen E. Thuermer

There’s a good bet that none of the viewers of the works by El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso and other masters on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art exhibition, “Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting from the Museums of Madrid” from June 23 to Sept. 16 will have air cargo on their mind. But shipping valuables such as

masterpiece artwork, gems and gold via air is a fine art in and of itself. Not only are these priceless items fragile and highly sensitive to temperature changes; many come from a host of museums from around the world and are top targets for theſt and pilferage – say nothing of their fragile nature.

“To manage a safe shipment and delivery of this fine art, our team

needed to work and coordinate with a wide variety of experts.”

-- Milo Gerisch, Swiss WorldCargo

The longer they are “on the road” or “in the air”, the more they are subject to handling and more can go wrong. For that reason, no will discuss any detail of any actual transport. What is known, American

Airlines Cargo (AACargo), one of the exhibit’s official sponsors, flew the priceless Spanish art from locations around the globe to San Antonio for the city’s tricentennial celebration. The job was no easy feat. The exhibition includes more than 40 masterpieces from eight different collections, including the Prado Museum, the Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Transporting these unique

pieces of art, many of which have never before been shown in the United States, required a special level of care. The paintings are not only extremely valuable; they are also priceless as cultural artifacts. The team at AACargo knew the masterpieces needed a high level of security and careful handling. AA team members partnered

with freight forwarding specialists in four countries to ensure the paintings were handled with great care. The transferring required a significant amount of time, effort and coordination. Due to the value of the

that the paintings were never out of sight and always accompanied by a museum representative. In the end, the conveyance was seamless and the works of art arrived at their destination safely and on time. “These works of art are

incredibly important to the city of San Antonio as they celebrate their tricentennial,” said Sandy Scott, director of Europe and Asia Cargo Operations for American Airlines. “Of course, safely and securely transporting priceless Picasso and El Greco works across the globe is no easy task.”

Special Task

Projects such as this require team members to work together in creative ways while also partnering seamlessly with multiple outside companies in four different countries. Booking artwork on the shortest and ideally most direct flight is the goal. Planes changes are critical to avoid. Museum curators also rarely

consider using air courier services such as Federal Express. The prime reason: there’s too much traffic at their cargo hubs. “The idea of such shipments coming together at a hub, being shuffled

crates and packages,” one official said. “And a valuable piece of art cannot miss a flight or sit in a warehouse while waiting for another flight.” Then there’s the need for direct

visual supervision and additional airport security.

“Ut i l izing

a customs broker or freight forwarder who can get into airport security areas that museum curators cannot is critical,” a source said. These officials will meet the plane and escort the shipment personally through customs.

Most clearances

are rushed as to prevent any possibility of theſt or damage. Such companies also are

contracted oſten for packing and crating responsibilities. “How each shipment is packed is unique to each object due to the nature of its materials,” she says. The type of foam used in

packing depends on the nature and weight of the objects, and is utilized to protect the artwork from vibration, shock, and moisture. The crates, themselves, are made of wood or metal, depending on the object’s size and characteristics. The exterior of the crates are then sealed to protect the artwork from temperature changes and humidity.


primary concern, however, is security from theſt.

Global Business

A host of international airlines such as Luſthansa, Swiss, Air Canada, IAG Cargo, Turkish Airways, Qatar Airways and

artwork, security officials were involved at every stage of the transport, including loading and unloading, packaging and processing through Customs. Representatives

from AA oversaw this process to ensure

around and flying out again sends shivers up every curator’s back,” one curator recently said. Also critical is an air carrier’s

and airport’s reliability, adherence to schedules, proper loading facilities, and ground crew. “Ground crews must pay attention to the up arrows marked on the

others are adept at handling shipments of valuables. IAG Cargo was recently chosen

as the logistics partner for the BP exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria at London’s British Museum to be held Nov. 8 to Feb. 24, 2019. The carrier will transport a number of important loans from museums across Europe with its secure service for high- value consignments. Over 200 objects from all corners of King Ashurbanipal’s empire such as Museo Gregoriano Etrusco; Musei Vaticani, Vatican City; and the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia; will be brought together. Last year, Luſthansa Cargo

partnered with London’s National Gallery for the transit of one of its seminal exhibitions, Monochrome:

Painting in

Black and White, which displayed paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt and Richter. Since then, the exhibition has moved onto Dusseldorf’s Museum Kunstpalast. Luſthansa Cargo markets its

Safe/td2 product for such valuable shipments. The service is offered to some 300 destinations in more

those that work within our secure product.” Every person who comes into

contact with a high-value piece is stringently vetted, including the customer. All items are monitored 24/7 using CCTV and manned patrols, including when they’re locked in Luſthansa’s vault. Swiss WorldCargo, which is

also adept at handling various types of valuables that include “traditional” valuable goods, such as banknotes or precious commodities, recently

Swiss WorldCargo to draw not only on its broad network, but also to actively engage with different partners throughout the world. “Our expertise lies in providing the highest

level of helped

carry high-value fine art for the 48th edition of Art Basel. Artwork was shipped to Basel, Switzerland, from around the world. “To manage a safe shipment

and delivery of this fine art, our team needed to work and coordinate with a wide variety of experts,” reveals Milo Gerisch, senior manager, Vertical Industry Precious Commodities, Banking and Luxury Goods at


WorldCargo. “Fine art, like any high-value product, comes with high security standards. In this case, there was also the fact that shipments did not come from just one region, but demand originating from various cities.

security, safety and discretion,” he says, explaining why Swiss WorldCargo is competitive in handling valuables. “Our processes are clearly defined and rigorously upheld to ensure a smooth customer experience. This dedication to quality represents the ‘Swissness’ of our product offering, which is our main competitive advantage.” Air Canada offers AC Secure,

which is designed specifically for the safe and secure transport of goods with a known value of C/ US$1,000/kg or more, or when a shipper purchases insurance in the same amount per kilogram, regardless of the commodity. This may include art work; firearms and weapons; furs; cold, silver and gems; jewelery, pearls and watches; narcotics and controlled drugs, and negotiable paper including money or currency notes, stocks and bonds, and Traveller’s cheques.

Swiss WorldCargo, known for handling valuables, respresents “Swissness” in its product offering. (Swiss WorldCargo photo)

than 100 countries. According to the company’s website: “Service requirements, our market monitoring and customer surveys, and the expertise of our staff come together to create a logistics solution that is an ideal fit for goods at high risk of theſt. Minimizing risk is the focus for

This required high-stakes

collaboration, efficient work, and the highest standards of safety and security in order to arrive safely in Zurich.” Gerisch points out that given

the complexity of locations involved, this made it a more specialized request, and required

With AC Secure, customers

receive Priority1 service, secured holding areas and handling; coordination of third-party security guards (if required); higher loading priority; efficient transport and handling processes; specific tender and retrieval times, and shipment tracking.

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