“You have to be able to write a logistics thriller”

Review of an Antonov 24 air freight charter from Brazil to Sweden
Kirchheim/Munich, May 8th, 2018. In order to carry out an air freight charter of dangerous goods class 1 (explosives), it requires know-how, good connections and a lot of flexibility, or as our customer mentioned: “You have to be able to write a logistics thriller”.

 

During the contract negotiations, the air charter operator gave us a transport time frame for mid of June. As usual, the charter contract is only accepted by their side, if all necessary permits for the transport are available at least four weeks prior the start of transport.

Based on our experience and according to our customer a challenge, because the Brazilian authorities issues the export licence only a few days before. The project threatened to fail, as the start of the research project in Sweden, has already been fixed for May 7th.

Behind this research project is a major scientific order from our client, whose failure to meet deadlines would have had dramatic consequences.

With the help of our charter agent, we could convince the airline that two weeks are enough to get all permits.

On April 19th, the charter contract was signed, loading in Brazil was scheduled for May 4th and unloading in Sweden May 7th. Finally, the transport concept was according to our customer requirement.

The permit to fly from Brazil was issued a few days later by the authorities, also the confirmations from the destination Sweden and the first stopover on Cape Verde Islands. Only the additional stopover in Spain was not approved. On short notice we had to find an alternate airport for the second stopover. We managed to get an approval from the authorities in Ireland and changed the flight plan accordingly.

Then came the next surprise. The planned departure airport in Brazil, Sao Jose Dos Campos (SJK), informs us on April 28th that the landing of the Antonov 24 cannot be approved because the aircraft’s technical equipment meant that more firefighters would have been present at the airport than usual. Unfortunately, the airport could not provide this extra staff! Again, there was a challenge to be managed. The airport Viracopos (VCP), about 60 miles south of Sao Jose Dos Campos (SJK), was requested. A few days later, we received the commitment of the airport management from Viracopos (VCP). The charter company released a new flight schedule including another stopover at the Brazilian airport Recife Guararapes (REC) and the consignor provided the ground transportation by truck to the airport of departure.

 

Shortly before deadline on May 2nd, the Brazilian government granted export approval. The ferry flight of the Antonov 24 to Brazil was ready to start:

4 MAY’18 CVK7057 ETD/TTPP1230 ETA/SBKP2030 – FERRY/LOADING/CREW REST
05 MAY’18 CVK7058 ETD/SBKP1230 ETA/SBRF1630 – LOADED/TECHSTOP
05 MAY’18 CVK7058 ETD/SBRF1800 ETA/GVAC2350 – LOADED/TECHSTOP/CREW REST
07 MAY’18 CVK7058 ETD/GVAC0005 ETA/EINN0730 – LOADED/TECHSTOP
07 MAY’18 CVK7058 ETD/EINN0930 ETA/ESNQ1330- LOADED/OFFLOADING

 

There were a few extra excitements on the last mile. The truck arrived late in Viracopos (VCP) and the loading lasted two hours longer than originally planned. These delays did not really make us nervous, after all the activities of the past few weeks. The flight departed on May 5th 12:30 local time and arrived after three stopovers on May 7th 15:49h local time.

The Antonov 24 has landed, the logistics thriller is over.

All involved did a tremendous job and worked very hard to make this happen. The information flow was perfectly managed so that we knew exactly what the situation was at all times, in Brazil and on the flight to Sweden. A lot of excitement, a great commitment of all involved and a perfect cooperation of all parties, made this success story possible.

From now on, it is up to the scientists to generate the desired results from the upcoming campaign.