COVID-19 Drives Air Freight Demand for Project Cargo

In today’s challenging situation, global logistics is experiencing a growing deficit in freight capacity across all modes of transportation. Air freight, in particular, is in high demand within the project logistics sector. deugro, a company of deugro group, is satisfying this demand with an increasing number of air charters for critical equipment.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting schedules, available freight capacity and freight rates of shipping lines, airlines, haulers and rail companies all over the world. Because complex process chains and a considerable amount of investments are affected, the projects logistics business, above all, is facing a host of challenges. Out-of-gauge and heavy lift project shipments require special transportation equipment and engineering work, which limits the number of options for transportation and alternative solutions.

In light of this, deugro’s head of air chartering, Pavel Kuznetsov, sees rising demand for air freight, especially on the full/part-chartering sector: “The air freight division of deugro is currently arranging a growing number of air charters for the transportation of critical equipment in order to minimize delays and disruptions in the supply chain. Our team, which includes in-house transport engineers, is busy and in close contact with clients and airlines to design solutions for transportation of oversized and heavy weight equipment by air.”

deugro has long-time relationship with all the relevant airlines, which gives the company access to several hundred aircraft of different types. These range from small B-737 freighter versions to massive Antonov-225 capable of carrying up to 250 metric tons of cargo.

Due to size and weight restrictions, not all types of cargo can be transported by air. In the current situation, it has become essential to combine what is currently available, and to undertake 360-degree planning across all capacity and transportation modes. Besides utilizing empty ferry legs, combining scheduled and charter services or using a mix of several aircraft types, air transportation combinations with ocean, road and rail is a highly viable solution.

“With almost 100 years of expertise in all modes of transportation, and due to decades of close relationships with all relevant airlines, shipping lines, haulers and rail companies, we are well positioned here. We are not only able to provide the operational service; we are also able to provide renegotiation between all parties if necessary, including local authorities, to find the best possible solution for everyone,” adds Pavel Kuznetsov.

A good example of how such projects can be executed is the shipment of 140 metric tons of time-critical industrial equipment from Houston, US to the north of Mozambique by a combination of AN-124 and B-747F aircraft, deugro handled earlier this year.

After detailed feasibility studies, all the equipment was flown directly to Nacala Airport, whereby an AN-124 ramp aircraft was used to carry 100 metric tons of equipment from Houston into Nacala and the remaining 40 metrics tons were flown by a more economic B-747 freighter to Johannesburg, where it was repacked and then safely flown by the same AN-124 to Nacala.

air cargo preparations