Posted On October 21, 2020
Global solutions start locally.
That’s why Flat World connects with companies across the world to collaborate on large, complex international shipping projects—projects like chartering the world’s largest civil cargo aircraft, the Antonov AN-124, to transport out-of-gage cargo from Germany to Atlanta, Georgia.
Keep reading to see how we utilized our strategic partnerships overseas to pull it all off.
While preparing to launch a new product, our client needed to transport large manufacturing equipment from its origin in Germany to its factory in Georgia. Originally, Flat World and the client had planned to transport the equipment by ocean vessel, but as the calendar ticked closer to the product launch date, time became a more important issue. We researched alternative transport routings and presented an air charter option.
It was decided: we would abandon the original sea freight plan and instead focus on chartering a plane to speed up transport time. Now we just needed to execute the plan.
Almost a decade ago, Flat World connected with Transmaritim, a transportation logistics company based in Germany, through HTFN, which links transportation companies across the globe.
We knew Transmaritim would be the perfect partner—serving as the local experts in Germany to oversee the Eastern half of this global challenge. Our team reached out, and Transmaritim agreed to be our counterparts on the project.
We’re used to chartering planes at Flat World. But there was a small—or rather, very large—issue. The cargo we’d be transporting was oversized, and too large to fit through the door of a 747 or other aircraft typically used for shipping freight.
That’s when we thought of the Antonov-124, one of the largest aircraft in the world. Designed and built specifically for transporting heavy or bulky loads (up to 330,700 pounds), the behemoth plane is equipped with drive-on loading ramps and an internal crane structure to help with loading and unloading.
The Antonov AN-124 would do the trick.
On September 22, the manufacturing equipment was removed from the German plant where it had just been assembled and made its way to the airport. Transmaritim oversaw the process as the massive cargo was loaded onto the aircraft. The plane took off on September 24 and touched ground in Atlanta, Georgia later that same day.
Our import team transmitted the U.S. Customs entry shortly after departure, and the cargo was released from customs on arrival. Two Flat World team members, Doug Meadows and Schaeffer Gregerson, supervised the unloading and accompanied the deliveries to the plant.
Four days after leaving the plant in Germany, the equipment was at its final destination in Georgia—ready to be installed at the factory.
In total, chartering the plane and using it to transport the equipment saved our client 25 days of transit time, making an enormous impact on the timeline of their product launch. Even more spectacularly, the project was flawless—not a snag, glitch or interruption to speak of.
We’re so grateful for the Transmaritim team in helping us plan and execute the project, and HFTN for providing opportunities for transportation logistics companies to collaborate. This project wouldn’t have been possible without either.
And while this might be a unique project in many ways (it’s not every day you get to climb into one of the biggest planes in the world), in other ways it was just like the rest of Flat World’s initiatives. A client came to us with a unique challenge, and we provided a custom solution that fit their needs. It’s what we love to do, and we’re lucky to get to do it every day.