06/03/2015, 11:30 AM CEST

DHL transports first aircraft components for Airbus from Hamburg to its newly built US assembly plant

In the course of this project, DHL will transport a total of 80,000 tons of freight volume for the assembly of aircraft in the U.S.A.

DHL Industrial Projects developed a multimodal transport concept for the European aircraft manufacturer.

  • Multimodal concept for highly sensitive break-bulk goods with unit weights of thirty tonnes
  • Total of 80,000 tons of freight volume, among which aircraft components include rear and forward fuselage, wings, and the vertical and horizontal tail plane

Bonn - DHL Global Forwarding has begun shipping the first aircraft components from the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airbus plant to the newly built US assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama. DHL Industrial Projects developed a multimodal transport concept for the European aircraft manufacturer. From the beginning of June 2015, large components of the A320 family as well as 1,000 sea freight containers are to cross the Atlantic. Additional air freight shipments are necessary, partially for transporting hazardous goods. Delivery within maximum 29 days is of critical importance since configuration and control of the final assembly processes at Airbus depend upon it.

"Transport management for highly sensitive heavy goods calls for highly specialised expertise in project logistics as well as a strong grasp of technical and security issues," says Nikola Hagleitner, CEO Industrial Projects, DHL Global Forwarding. "Together with Airbus our Industrial Projects team designed a sophisticated multimodal transport concept."

Five different aircraft components with a maximum weight of thirty tonnes each are loaded onto special sea transport frames and secured on roll trailers with twist locks before being moved to the Finkenwerder Airbus plant's wharf. Within about six hours, two 200-tonne cranes transfer then the parts to a heavy-cargo vessel. The heavy goods are transported on board a chartered ship to the US. In the harbour at Mobile, Alabama after customs clearing, the aircraft components are loaded with the help of special cranes onto heavy-duty trailers and transported a few miles to the Airbus assembly plant.

After unloading the aircraft components, the sea transport frames are disassembled and transported on flat racks by ship back to Bremerhaven, Germany. From there they go back to Finkenwerder by lorry, where they are reassembled.

Additional to these major aircraft components, 4,000 parts general cargo are loaded into sea containers at the Hamburg hub, transported then by truck to Bremerhaven and from there by container ship to Mobile.

For air freight shipments, among others also hazardous goods, both LD3 containers and consolidated shipments are used along with special procedures that are legally required for securing and transporting this type of cargo. Similarly to the sea shipments, after clearing customs, the freight is transported by truck to the assembly plant in Mobile and the containers are re-used for shipping back the empty receptacles to Finkenwerder.

In the course of this project, DHL will transport a total of 80,000 tons of freight volume for the assembly of aircraft in the U.S.A., comprising general cargo and major aircraft components including rear fuselage, forward fuselage, wings, and the vertical as well as horizontal tail plane.