DHL commences transatlantic aircraft components shipping solution for Airbus


DHL Global Forwarding announced that it has begun shipping the first aircraft components from the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airbus plant in Germany to the newly built US assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama.

In order to ship these components DHL Industrial Projects developed a multimodal transport concept for the European aircraft manufacturer. Under the solution 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 a maximum 29 days is of critical importance since configuration and control of the final assembly processes at Airbus depend upon it.

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 the parts to a heavy-cargo vessel. The heavy goods are then 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, including 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.

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 US, comprising general cargo and major aircraft components including rear fuselage, forward fuselage, wings, and the vertical as well as horizontal tail plane.