The international transportation of cargo was, until recently, a matter of simple choice. It went?
The international transportation of cargo was, until recently, a matter of simple choice. It went either by air -- which was fast but expensive; or by sea - cheaper but much slower.
Today that simple choice has given way to an almost bewildering range of methods in which to transport goods overseas.
Shipping alone provides roll-on roll-off container ships, as well as the conventional cargo ships, and several companies have now combined to give a combination sea-air freight link.
But air freighting is whore the biggest steps forward have been taken. In addition to the automated handling of cargo, the introduction of the 'Jumbo' 747 airliner, has revolutionised the transport of cargo.
Using containers, a 747 air freighter can be loaded in only 20 minutes by two men, and unloaded in the same amount of time.
It lives up to its name as the world's most efficient cargo transport aircraft in other ways as well. The 747 can carry three times as much freight as a 707, at thirty per cent less cost per ton per mile. Its capacity is 200,000 pounds (90,000 kilos) weight of freight on the upper deck, and 60,000 pounds (27,000 kilos) in the lower deck compartments -- a 130 ton load.
Some indication of the amount of freight carried by the smaller aircraft is given in figures released by the British airline - BEA. It carries 150,000 tons of freight per year, using a fleet of seven prop-jet freighters, each capable of carrying 20 tons of cargo -- 110 tons less than the 747's capacity.
SYNOPSIS: Each day around the world, hundreds of thousands of people fly to their destinations. The priority given by airlines to passenger services, obscures another, equally important, airline service.
Just as the jet aircraft revolutionised passenger transport around the world, so it made the fast transport of freight much more desirable. And with the revolution in the air came automation on the ground... As in the BEA cargo centre at London's Heathrow airport. Within the centre, there are five-and-a-half miles of fully automated conveyor systems. In addition there are two-thousand-eight-hundred storage units for import, and one-thousand-four-hundred for export items. In one year, BEA carries one-hundred-and-fifty thousand tons of freight.
The airline carries most of its freight in a fleet of seven pro- jet freighters, each capable of carrying twenty tons of cargo. The freighters fly to twenty-three different European destinations, with daily passenger services carrying the smaller freight. And, all round the world, small and large airline companies are carrying rapidly increasing loads of freight in a market where time means money.
The greatest recent advance in airline freight carrying has come with the cavernous Jumbo - seven-four-seven jet. It has a huge capacity: two-hundred-thousand pounds of freight on the upper deck, and below, another sixty-thousand pounds - a total load of one-hundred-a ???-thirty tons.
Utilising specially-built containers, the seven-four-seven freighter can be loaded in only twenty minutes by two men, and unloaded in the same time..a for cry from the more traditional loading methods. It makes the Jumbo freighter the most efficient cargo transport aircraft.
The seven-four-seven makes use of an extremely sophisticated and versatile series of running tracks within the aircraft. They enable a container to be easily and accurately manoeuvred into the required position on the aircraft.
Lufthansa was the first airline to buy a Jumbo freighter. It's claimed to be able to carry three times as much cargo as a 7-0-7, but at, thirty per cent less cost per ton per mile. Apart from its capacity, the variety of cargoes also makes it an attractive proposition for the world airlines.
And this, in one sweep, is what the Jumbo can carry.
The new flexibility which airlines now have, is shown in the recent service provided by several transport companies, enabling producers to shift goods on a combined air-sea service - compromising on both the cost and the time factors.