Panalpina How do you deliver a helicopter?

Ever wondered how helicopters get delivered from their place of manufacture to where they will operate? The obvious answer is they are flown there. But that isn’t always so. More often they are shipped, either via sea or air freight, to the country where they will operate. But how do you get something so big to where it needs to go? We turned to Juerg Boschung, head of Heliship for Swiss-based global logistics and freight forwarding company Panalpina, and a man who has been shipping helicopters for over 25 years, to give us all the answers…

Why can’t you just fly a helicopter to where it needs to go?
Well, in many cases, our customers could fly their helicopters to the destination, but it can actually be more expensive than shipping them. Also, once oceans have to be crossed, only a few of the bigger helicopters can safely attempt ‘ferry flights’ and usually those routes are not very direct. They involve a lot of island hopping.

Tell us about the first time you shipped a helicopter.
The first one, which was before I joined Panalpina, came quite unexpectedly. We had worked on and secured a contract from a major helicopter operator to deliver spare parts from Vancouver to many bases overseas and had only been shipping those parts for a few months when one afternoon I got a phone call: “Juerg, we need to ship a Sikorsky S61 from Thailand to Long Beach”.

How do you get a helicopter inside a plane?
This depends on the type of helicopter and cargo aircraft. For small and medium sized helicopters, the customer’s or manufacturer’s engineers will usually dismantle the helicopters partially and prepare it for shipment by 747 Freighter ? the Boeing 747 Freighter is the most suitable freighter used by scheduled carriers. The loading of the helicopters is usually through the side door. The helicopter is loaded onto airline pallets which are then put on the main deck loader, from where the roller bed system in the 747F is used to move the helicopter into the proper position inside the freighter.

Loading larger, or ‘heavy’, helicopters into an Antonov An-124 is a completely different thing. Much less dismantling is required and the helicopter is being towed by the Antonov loading team into the An-124, using a winch and a cable. The loading crews are very experienced, and it’s amazing how much can be made to fit into this freighter ? they can take up to four ‘heavy’ helicopters or six or seven medium helicopters.

How many helicopters have you shipped in your 25 years of doing it?
I’ve been too busy to count, but it’s definitely in the thousands.

But you ship other stuff as well, or do you sit around waiting for a helicopter that needs delivering?
Well, we don’t just sit around! But in fact my team only ships helicopters, nothing else. We always have helicopters on the move, and are always working on a number of quotes and projects that we hope will materialize soon. In addition to that we try to look ahead and find ways to meet expected needs of the helicopter industry.

What’s the most challenging delivery you’ve had to make?
Many of our moves are quite challenging and it’s not always the largest helicopters that are the most difficult to move. Often it’s the particular circumstances that make for tough moments, like unexpected flight cancellations or engine trouble causing vessel delays. If this happens during a shipment with a delivery deadline, this can be costly. It can also get quite interesting, and potentially costly, when we arrange air charters and a few days before the scheduled load date we are advised that the helicopters are not ready to go yet. We had such a project recently where we had to be quite flexible and a number of critical items only came together literally at the very last minute.

So how do you move a helicopter?
The main thing is detailed planning, considering carefully every step involved and making the required arrangements. It involves not only giving clear and detailed instructions to all subcontractors and offices involved, but then following up to ensure it’s all been understood and arranged. We always work with carefully selected carriers and partner offices overseas. Of course, in many instances we also have one of our specialists attend loading and offloading at ports or airports and hangars. We strive to provide peace of mind to our customers and monitor the movement of their helicopters from hangar to hangar, every step of the way.

Who are your customers?
Our main customers are helicopter companies that operate overseas. The majority used to be companies servicing the oil and gas industry, but that business has taken a downturn. What has picked up is international firefighting, where helicopters from North America are being shipped in October or November to the Southern hemisphere ? like South America or Australia ? to fight forest and bush fires during their summer, and then they return to North America in March and April to protect the forests during the summer there. Other civilian helicopter companies focus on providing support for the allied mission in Afghanistan. Search and Rescue contracts are also an important area where helicopters are required. Of course there are also many other situations where helicopters are being purchased and sold for various purposes, and they then need to be shipped to the new owner.

What’s the biggest number of helicopters you have moved in one go?
I think that was seven helicopters that we moved in one Antonov An-124 from Canada to Africa a number of years back.

How do you know a helicopter is fit to fly after delivery?
The licensed engineer who manages the re-assembly needs to certify this in the log book.

If you ship something by sea, isn’t the ocean spray corrosive to something like a helicopter?
That’s true, but we always request that the helicopters are loaded below deck. And we follow up just before loading to ensure this happens.





CEVA Logistics announces blockchain-based technology partnership with IBM and Maersk

As part of CEVA's longterm digitalisation initiative, the company announces a partnership with IBM and Maersk. TradeLens - the joint solution - is based on blockchain technology and increases levels of transparency and visibility along the customers' supply chain.

CEVA constantly reviews, assesses and audits concepts in the market such as blockchain to determine how they might be applied in the company's network. Identifying applicable areas in supply chain management in order to increase value for its customers, has always been a key CEVA objective. The new partnership with IBM and Maersk is the first result of this work.

CEVA becomes one of more than 90 organisations worldwide involved in the TradeLens global solution which also includes more than 20 port and terminal operators, customs authorities and 3PLs. TradeLens enables multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared-view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. It aims to establish strong, connected networks which work to a global standard for all parties.

"This strategic partnership with IBM and Maersk provides CEVA's answer to the untapped potential of blockchain applications in the logistics industry," says Xavier Urbain, CEO of CEVA Logistics. "We see high potential in TradeLens because of the real-time access it provides to all partners in the supply chain. It is a big step forward toward establishing a market standard for blockchain solutions. With our integrated network in Freight Management and Contract Logistics, combined with our global footprint and state-of-the-art IT capabilities, we will contribute significantly to both our own digitalization strategy going forward and those of the industry," adds Urbain.

Other initiatives are in the pipeline and are currently being evaluated and expected to start delivering solutions in the coming months. In addition to this, the commercial cooperation between CEVA and its anchor shareholder CMA CGM will impact the digitalization efforts of both companies with talks already under way to discuss potential synergies.


Maersk and IBM Introduce TradeLens Blockchain Shipping Solution

In a follow up to their January announcement, A.P. Moller - Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the creation of TradeLens, jointly developed by the two companies to apply blockchain to the world's global supply chain. TradeLens is the result of a collaboration agreement between Maersk and IBM, a blockchain-enabled shipping solution designed to promote more efficient and secure global trade, bringing together various parties to support information sharing and transparency, and spur industry-wide innovation.

As part of the TradeLens early adopter program, IBM and Maersk also announced that 94 organizations are actively involved or have agreed to participate on the TradeLens platform built on open standards. The TradeLens ecosystem currently includes:

More than 20 port and terminal operators across the globe, including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc, Patrick Terminals, Modern Terminals in Hong Kong, Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Bilbao, PortConnect, PortBase, and terminal operators Holt Logistics at the Port of Philadelphia, join the global APM Terminals' network in piloting the solution. This accounts for approximately 234 marine gateways worldwide that have or will be actively participating on TradeLens.

Pacific International Lines (PIL) have joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers participating in the solution.
Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are participating, along with customs brokers Ransa and Güler & Dinamik.
Participation among beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) has grown to include Torre Blanca / Camposol and Umit Bisiklet.
Freight forwarders, transportation and logistics companies including Agility, CEVA Logistics, DAMCO, Kotahi, PLH Trucking Company, Ancotrans and WorldWide Alliance are also currently participating.

TradeLens uses IBM Blockchain technology as the foundation for digital supply chains, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities can interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data ad shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.

Using blockchain smart contracts, TradeLens enables digital collaboration across the multiple parties involved in international trade. The trade document module, released under a beta program and called ClearWay, enables importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs, other government agencies, and NGOs to collaborate in cross-organizational business processes and information exchanges, all backed by a secure, non-repudiable audit trail.

During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments. One example demonstrated how TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by 40 percent, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost. Through better visibility and more efficient means of communicating, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as "where is my container" from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person.

More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container "gate-in", and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. This data is growing at a rate of close to one million events per day. Traditionally, some of this data can be shared through the EDI systems commonly used in the supply chain industry but these systems are inflexible, complex, and can't share data in real-time. Too often, companies must still share documents via email attachment, fax and courier. TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and offers an immutable record among all parties involved.

"TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitization and transmission of supply chain documents around the world," commented Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals. "This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security. Modern Terminals is pleased to participate as a Network Member in testing this exciting shipping industry innovation."

"As a global logistics provider, CEVA sees a unique opportunity in TradeLens, joining forces with IBM, Maersk and other actors from our industry to promote global standards around an open and neutral solution, delivering on the promise of blockchain. It is an important step in our relentless journey to deliver increased value to all our customers and making business flow," said Christophe Cachat, CIO of CEVA Logistics.

"We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on a single factor -bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain. "Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to form a strong, connected network in which all members gain by sharing important data and that together we can transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted."

Joint collaboration model to maximize industry adoption

Since announcing the jointly developed solution to digitize global trade in January 2018, and based on feedback from various members of the global supply chain ecosystem who would like to adopt the technology, IBM and Maersk have modified the go to market model and will now deliver their solution through an extension of their pre-existing collaboration agreement instead of a joint venture.

"Our joint collaboration model allows us to better address key feedback from ecosystem participants while ensuring TradeLens interoperability and data protection among Maersk, IBM and all ecosystem participants," said Mike White, TradeLens leader for Maersk. "We strongly believe this will maximize industry adoption."

Standards discussions are actively underway with openshipping.org and work to align the TradeLens APIs with UN/CEFACT standards is in progress. The TradeLens APIs are open and available for developer access and feedback from participants in the platform.

The TradeLens solution is available today through the Early Adopter Program. TradeLens is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.


DHL Global Forwarding masters high-profile transport of giant waste heat boilers

Transport of heavy-duty freight from Germany to Saudi Arabia
Unique logistics solution for mammoth project includes transport with Antonov AN225 airplane

DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, is undertaking the transport of four enormous waste heat boilers from Germany to Saudi Arabia. The multimodal movement is being handled by DHL Industrial Projects, a unit within DHL Global Forwarding, specializing in safe and reliable transport of over-sized and heavy-lift cargo as well as complex end-to-end project forwarding. For the spectacular transportation of the four 140-ton boilers measuring 3.70 meters in height, 4.10 meters in width and 19 meters in length, the world's largest cargo aircraft Antonov AN225 is being deployed. A waste heat boiler is about as heavy as 24 full-grown African elephants.

"Logistics, especially within the break-bulk segment, is all about local knowledge, mainly with regards to specificities of different ports or with reference to infrastructure, equipment, roads and regulation," explains Nikola Hagleitner, CEO DHL Industrial Projects. "When it comes to break-bulk logistics, our customers rely on our dedicated teams and their extensive expertise in some 60 offices across 45 countries. With this exciting transport we are again reaffirming our role as facilitator of global trade, no matter how challenging the task."

The transit of the four super-sized waste heat boilers starts at the manufacturer's plant in Berlin. From there, they are transported to the airport of Leipzig via the river Elbe, reloaded at the port of Aken and via road. From Leipzig, the heavy lift is then shipped to Saudi Arabia. On their entire journey, the waste heat boilers are moved with the help of a 1,000-ton-mobile crane, a barge and a heavy goods transporter with 20 axles and a total weight of around 275 tons, as well as the unique Antonov AN225 airplane, the largest cargo plane in the world.

"Transporting freight of this enormous scale requires well-orchestrated resources of workforce, expertise and know-how," adds Peer-Wulf Herrmann, Head of DHL Industrial Projects Germany. "We offer our clients safe, compliant and reliable management during the complete process of planning, organization and coordination of the transport. Even though unusual and special transports like this are our daily business, we are always happy to support projects of this nature with our capabilities and making the impossible possible."

The heavy-duty freight is divided into four transports with an interval of roughly two to four weeks, each taking about seven days. The first three waste heat boilers have already arrived at their destination in Jubail at the Persian Gulf. The project is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of August.



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