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Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal So what is a young lad to do in


It says a lot for the charms of Wales that a homesick teenager was willing to risk an excruciating death to get back there, courtesy of the airfreight industry.


Having had his outward travel


costs paid for by the Australian government to take a job on the railways there in 1965, Brian Robson found that the charms of


The body in the field


A walk in the country is a great opportunity to de-stress, get some healthy exercise, commune with nature – and catch up with the freight industry’s fairly recent past. We discovered this redundant unit – possibly an intermodal


swap-body – still


bearing the MSAS name in a farmer’s field outside Cowden in Kent. The striking ‘running cat’ logo is just about discernible. For readers too young to


remember – probably most of them these days – MSAS was the


Forget Love Island – this is Freight Island


How can anyone within striking distance of central Manchester resist the temptation to ‘Escape to Freight Island’? Described as: “An inspiring new urban landscape…Manchester’s industrial past reimagined as a forward-thinking destination for food, drink and culture”, the owners promise “a cutting-edge street food market with a brilliant selection of open-air bars, innovative culture


spaces and an intimate festival vibe. A place where we can escape, just when we need it.” Why Freight Island? What used


to be Manchester Mayfield station was opened in 1910 as an annex to the London & North Western Railway’s then London Road (now Manchester Piccadilly) main terminus in the city to cope with overflow commuter and holiday traffic. Eventually surplus to British


Rail’s passenger requirements, it lingered on for quite a few years as a parcels depot, hence the name. From time to time proposals are


made to reinstate it as a passenger rail station, but so far nothing has come of these schemes. Eventually, the site was acquired


by London & Continental Railways, once the owner of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1) but which now describes itself as a government owned property company,


instrumental in the


redevelopment of the St Pancras International station as well as the London Olympics site. Enough of the old passenger


station interior survived for it to make an appearance in Prime Suspect as a drug dealer’s haunt and as Sheffield railway station in The Last Train but sadly the building was damaged by a fire in 2005. But perhaps ‘Freight’ is the


new cool, if this achingly trendy boutique in the posh Sussex town of Lewes is anything to go by.


THE WORLD'S HEALTH IS IN THE SAFE HANDS OF TURKISH CARGO


AS THE CARGO AIRLINE THAT FLIES TO MORE COUNTRIES THAN ANY OTHER, WE CARRY ALL YOUR HEALTH AND WELLNESS NEEDS, FROM PHARMACEUTICALS TO MEDICAL SUPPLIES WITHOUT EVER INTERRUPTING THE TEMPERATURE-CONTROLLED COLD CHAIN.


freight forwarding arm of the Ocean Group. It was merged with Exel Logistics – itself the privatised


Down Under quickly palled. But he was told he would have had to reimburse an unaffordable £800 and then buy his ticket in order to make his way back to Wales.


offshoot of the National Freight Corporation – and eventually the MSAS name disappeared. Exel Logistics itself was then taken over by DHL and is itself part of logistics history.


such a situation? Of course: you have yourself nailed into a crate, loaded into an unpressurised, unheated aircraſt cargo hold and shipped from Melbourne to London. What could possibly go wrong? With the help of two fellow


emigrants, who hailed from Ireland, Robson had himself enclosed in a wooden box with a supply of necessities and taken to the airport. The paperwork described the cargo as a computer.


///FREIGHT BREAK Then, as now, things didn’t


always go smoothly in airfreight. Handlers ignored the ‘This side up’ label so Robson quickly found himself upside-down, severely cramped and barely able to breathe. And, instead of being loaded


onto a direct Qantas flight to London he was put on a Pan Am service via Los Angeles, where a sharp-eyed handler discovered that the ‘computer’ was in fact a living human being. This last was probably a stroke of luck, given that the next leg of


the journey would have taken him over the North Pole, in an unheated cargo hold, which would surely have killed him. Aſter a spell in hospital – he


could barely speak or move aſter being released from the crate – instead of being prosecuted by the US immigration authorities he was flown first class to London. Mr Robson has written up


his experiences in a book and is now trying to trace the two Irish friends that helped him in his unorthodox travels.


turkishcargo.com.tr


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