When a client required fast, cost-effective and tailored assistance in moving raw, high-bulk materials for the automotive industry, DACHSER South Africa provided the optimal solution in the form of air charters. Air charters are fast-becoming a competitive logistics option for just-in-time (JIT) supply chains that need to move goods quickly to destinations around the globe.
DACHSER South Africa’s particular client needed to rapidly move just under 400 tons of rubber from Germany to South Africa. Due to the urgency of the consignment, sea freight was not an option. DACHSER South Africa chartered three airplanes to move the bales of rubber.
Detlev Duve, managing director of DACHSER South Africa, says, “By its nature, air cargo can reach its destination in a matter of days rather than the weeks that are typical of sea freight. Because of this, air charters are particularly attractive for manufacturing and JIT clients that are ultimately looking to reduce manufacturing down time and maintain profits.”
However, says Duve, while air charters provide a good solution for urgent cargo, the time factor is immensely critical in order to meet a client’s often-rigorous supply chain timeframes. He says, “There is very little room for procedural delay or error. The logistics partner must have specialist teams in place who are able to seamlessly manage the process before the cargo has even been loaded, right up to final destination.”
For time-critical solutions, it is imperative to build accurate time frames into the logistics plan, which must be clearly communicated upfront to the client. Duve says that while this might seem obvious, there are many areas where third parties, such as customs and airports, can create variable pockets of time that should be accounted for. He says, “For example, the rubber cargo coming from Germany had to be cleared prior to loading, a process which we knew could take a couple of days. This means that the clock already begins ticking before the cargo is physically loaded onto trucks at origin. If clients are not informed upfront about factors such as these, this could have a negative impact on their own timeframes and ultimately on their operations.”
Another important third party is the airport where time slots must be negotiated and flight approvals obtained in order for the charter to be added to the flight plan. Duve says having a robust network with local representation is paramount. “DACHSER’s teams on the ground work closely with their regional airports and customs offices. In addition to this, local teams are connected to the greater DACHSER network, a process that we term as ‘interlocking’ to ensure seamless logistics.”
When the client’s bales of rubber arrived at the destination airport it was critical that everything was in place in advance due to the costs incurred by standing time. Duve says, “Any delay of any sort can be extremely costly. We also ensured that we had sufficient personnel available and on standby to offload the bales. Likewise, directly following customs clearance and release our trucks were on standby for loading.”
Duve says that an optimal logistics process can add to efficiency gains and save clients significant amounts of money. “Airfreight can add real value to JIT and manufacturing clients, helping them manage their supply chains, control costs and reduce inventory. It’s a competitive and growing option, one which DACHSER South Africa, supported by our global team, is more than ready to provide to our clients.”