When competitors reach their limits, the pooled logistical expertise of the Lufthansa Cargo Group comes up trumps. In this particular instance, the customer wanted to airfreight an intermediate shaft weighing 45 tons and measuring nine meters in length and two meters in height and breadth from Helsinki to Seoul. Given the weight of the shipment, the obvious answer would have been to use an Antonov 124, but that would have been a very expensive solution. Using one of the Lufthansa Cargo Group’s B7474-400s proved a much more cost-effective alternative, although the weight and size of the cargo posed an even greater logistical challenge.
Lufthansa Cargo Charter worked closely with Geodis Wilson Germany, the ABB shipping company and Jade Cargo International to design a special cradle for the intermediate shaft on the basis of technical drawings. The finished structure, which was 10.2 meters long and 2.42 meters wide, made it possible not only to load and unload the shipment but also guaranteed ideal weight distribution in the aircraft.
Since two high loaders were needed but were not available in Helsinki, an alternative solution was devised with the intensive support of local Lufthansa Cargo colleagues.
A special frame built up to the height of the loading area of the Boeing 747-400 served as a loading ramp. The cradle with the intermediate shaft was hoisted onto the frame by a crane with telescopic arms and then pushed into the aircraft, as the shipment was too heavy for the aircraft’s loading system, which is equipped with rollers.
In Seoul, the cargo was unloaded with the aid of two high loaders and two cranes. In order to slide the heavy cargo far enough towards the front of the aircraft so the cranes could grasp it, a small tractor was loaded onto the aircraft through the side cargo door. It then pushed the cradle with the intermediate shaft right up to the front cargo hatch.
‘Projects like these always show clearly that we have the expertise within the Lufthansa Cargo Group to make the virtually impossible possible. And on top of that, as this example shows, we can do so at prices that are more than competitive,’ says Christian Fink, Managing Director of Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency.