Greeting flying cargo
Helicopters can’t carry enough fuel to fly across the Atlantic so, when one is sold, it falls to specialist freight forwarders to ship them. Experienced Wallenius Wilhelmsen terminal staff are ready and waiting to greet the flying cargo.
Helicopters International Shipping Services (HISS) faces the challenging task of shipping expensive helicopters for corporations, governments and private owners all around the world.
Flying directly into the port
For their latest shipment, Helicopters International chose a unique solution. They opted to fly the Airbus AS350 helicopter directly into the terminal at Brunswick, Georgia, landing just yards from the vessel.
Such a unique solution required approval from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Once that was secured, the team got on with planning. Although just one standard 40 feet long roll trailer can comfortably hold a large helicopter, it’s “safety first” when it comes to the landing, according to Jeff Trask, account manager for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WW Ocean).
“We secured three roll trailers side-by-side to create a total width of 24 feet. HISS staff helped to guide the helicopter down, and once they were satisfied, our stevedores then moved in to remove the extra roll trailers”, he explains.
RoRo best choice for safety and cargo protection
The helicopter was securely fastened to the roll trailer and rolled on to the vessel along with a wide variety of other breakbulk. As the cargo is kept under deck on RoRo vessels, the only additional protection required was a simple tarpaulin to protect the windshield, saving the customer significant time and money.
“Safety and security are the two main challenges we face in this business”, says HISS’s Michael Scholz. “A helicopter is a high value item which has to be kept safe and secure at all times. Even the most minor of scrapes can cost a lot of money”, Scholz continues. It’s that fundamental requirement for safety and security that steers the company towards WW Ocean. “Sending them on a RoRo vessel gives us peace of mind when it comes to safety. It is a secure solution as the vessel is closed, which helps protect the helicopters from the conditions outside.”
Once loaded on the vessel, the helicopter took just 15 days to arrive at the Port of Southampton in the United Kingdom thanks to the rapid Americas to Europe liner service from WW Ocean. No transshipment was required.
A happy relationship
Michael Scholz praises the close personal relationship between the two companies. “From the sales staff, through operations, to the port staff, everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected and how things have to be handled. Best of all, someone at WW Ocean is just a phone call away if and when we need help.”
Jeff Trask agrees with Michael’s assessment and looks forward to a continued relationship for many years to come. “We have developed a close working relationship to ensure they are always happy and that no damage is suffered to the helicopters.”
“Everyone at HISS has a great relationship with our terminal operations staff. We have learned a lot about dealing with helicopters over the past eight years and we’ve not had a single incident”, says Jeff.