Transporting the brand new model of Mercedes that no one took a glimpse of?
Transporting test cars, special cars for exhibitions, are definitely one of the highlights while working at Lufthansa Cargo.
Dear Reader, my name is Michael Schmid, Account Manager of Stuttgart FG, and working for Lufthansa for 33 years now.
To give a bit more background regarding my job, the core job duty at the Stuttgart airport is freight coordination and requests of freight forwarders. In Stuttgart, we handle overall 120 freight forwarders. As an account manager, we need to coordinate the prices, security and the freight process which always takes place in Frankfurt.
What I love about my job is being able to have face to face contact with our customers. Being able to have direct contact with our customers, allows me to provide customer oriented solutions and to avoid misunderstandings.
With this blog entry, I would like to share my experiences about car charters.
Our main stations have the most contact with Tokyo, Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai and the US which are approached by car charters – due to the fact of car shows, car exhibitions, photo shootings or test drives.
The main brands that we transport are Maybach, Daimler, Porsche and Audi.
For the transport, we use a Boing 777 in which we will park the cars in a row.
It’s amazing to see the new car models for the first time. Certainly they are all wrapped, but it’s always something special to coordinate such extraordinary freight.
Due to the fact that cars contain fuels, car charters are always transported as dangerous goods.
First, I will receive a request from the customer 3 months before the transport f.ex. (For example: Daimler wants to send 20 test vehicles to Chicago. And certainly, Daimler will compare prices with our competitors until they reach their decisions.)
Once I have received a request from the customer, I will send the request to our charter team to develop a freight plan. We will need to come up with salutation regarding the following aspects: Which plane is able to transport 20 cars? How do we load the plane? After checking these questions we will make our offer.
If a freight forwarder is on board, we will establish a contract and clarify who will deliver the test cars into the plane in Frankfurt, and who will offload it of the plane while arriving in Chicago.
It sounds like an easy process, but actually this is the most exciting part. Only a service provider with a special insurance is allowed to drive the new Mercedes models into the plane. Often the customers will handle this special process by themselves or we handle this process by using a special board out of Plexiglass with a fluid (meaning: makes the cars glide into the plane).
As soon as each car is in the plane, the cars get secured through the wheel rims. (Fun fact: For Maybach we never secure through the wheel rims, because the wheel rims are highly sensitive and have to be secured separately).
After running through the secure process for cars, the plane is now ready to start. Of course something may go terribly wrong, but we hardly encounter such situations. Even if it is the case, our team is always prepared. It is a special moment for the team when all cars are on board safely and our hard work is being payed off.
Everyone sticks together and works hand in hand together.
I enjoy how we work with such great commitment and enthusiasm. Through car charters, each department in the company moves closer together.
With such a specific transporting process, we are constantly analyzing what can we improve. I learn so much from work, and never get bored. Every order is so special and different.
This is why I am proud when at end of the day the charter is finally on the way to its destination.
Hope through this blog entry, I am able to intrigue your curiosity, and maybe one day you will experience what it is like to work with extraordinary freight at Lufthansa Cargo!