Samskip adds air freight to its project cargo portfolio

Source: press release, 5 January 2021

The ‘Samskip Kvitnos’ at quay awaiting to lift project cargo
The ‘Samskip Kvitnos’ at quay awaiting to lift project cargo (photo: Samskip)

Samskip is bringing together expertise from its Bremen-based project cargo business and its dedicated air freight team at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands to leverage its full potential as the “hidden gem” in special load logistics.

The joint initiative creates a focus for capabilities which extend from express air freight delivery, through breakbulk, heavy lift and out of gauge special cargoes movements by sea. The one-stop-shop service includes coordinated plane and ship chartering by Samskip.

“We are extending our ability to overcome exceptional transport challenges by bringing together proven expertise in air and ocean logistics,” says Jens Siedentopf, Head of Breakbulk Projects, Samskip.

Mostly associated with multimodal transport, Samskip has identified project cargoes as a strong opportunity for growth, based on its global logistics presence and the potential to coordinate with its shortsea, rail, trucking and inland barge service network. The opportunity to add airfreight to the project cargo mix follows the launch of Samskip Air in May 2021.

Seafood volumes moving by air have grown strongly in the second part of 2021, especially through sea-air links into global markets via Schiphol. However, coordinating sea and air services allows Samskip Air Freight Manager Hans Blauw to convert other opportunities. A recent requirement to help a customer facing production backlogs to transfer a 19-tonne load that would normally have been shipped by sea to air service provided “one example of how this can work,” says Blauw.

However, Blauw is more focused on growing volumes based on logistics expertise rather than opportunism. The former KLM, FedEx and TNT executive says a job for an oil major which involved sending some cargoes by sea and chartering a plane to carry urgently needed equipment by air “to get rigs operational after a storm” showed what can be done. Another, for a mining company, saw equipment shipped by sea and plane on a door-door basis, with trucking managed by Samskip at both ends.

“We offered full project cargo logistics services that deal with the customer’s need to get their asset working and earning again, backed up by out of gauge loads moving by sea,” says Blauw Other areas where Samskip’s airfreight skillsets have been making an impact include logistics management for China’s mobile phone industry, he adds.

The attractions of Samskip as air freight service provider for overweight/oversized cargoes could be a “no brainer” for its existing project cargo customers, according to Siedentopf. “Based on extensive knowledge, we offer services ranging from logistics management to individual transport planning from origin to destination. We’ve also made a speciality of combining tailor-made transport services to secure attractive freight rates. We have the experience, the engineering and the risk assessment, the chartering solutions and the equipment to support our ambitions.”

With 47 offices in 35 countries, Samskip also has the network, the local staff, the customs knowhow and the digital booking systems “to support pain-free, A-Z project cargo logistics for large and small customers alike, whatever the challenge or routing”, says Siedentopf.

Samskip’s multimodal-focused employees are increasingly getting the message on the potential to introduce customers to project cargo services which uphold the same high standards on safety and sustainability, he adds. Currently, Siedentopf is raising awareness internally of Samskip’s longstanding sole in multi-purpose vessel chartering, which often flies under the radar.

“We have the special skills in handling loads of different sizes, the financial strength, the chartering expertise and contacts, and the experience to deliver reliability and load combinations which achieve competitive rates,” he says. “Samskip is the hidden gem of project cargo management, and coordination with our airfreight division puts us one step closer to its discovery by the mainstream market.”