Volcanic Ash Cloud – SFS to the rescue

May 01, 2010  |   News

Rush rush!

We often joke that, in the case of emergency, call us on 02380 860999 – the ‘5th emergency service’ !

On Thursday the 15th April 2010, the day when thousands of passengers around the world learned of the pending air space closure due to the volcanic ash cloud, it was generally assumed that the situation would not become such an issue as eventually it did. Our operations team had to think on their feet when the emergency call came in…

Fresh flowers

We were expecting to collect a quantity of fresh cut flowers from our client, and deliver by air to a cruise vessel stationed in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. With a flight booked early the following morning, (as at this time the airlines were expecting to re-open at 1900 hrs that day), our operations team advised caution, knowing the possibility of delay due to back log of cargo and the relative uncertainty of the unfolding drama, and subsequently the flowers not getting to the cruise vessel in time.

Flowers must arrive in perfect condition

The onboard florist needed the flowers early Saturday to prepare the ordered bouquets and arrangements for the embarking passengers, and therefore time was of the essence. To ensure delivery, we offered an alternative to our client  in the form of a dedicated refrigerated van, which would collect the cargo and drive directly to Rome for delivery at the cruise ships side on Saturday morning

36 hrs later the flowers were delivered onboard the cruise ship, having been maintained at a constant 8 degrees for the entire journey . It became clear that our swift action to offer a back up plan had saved the day, as the airports remained closed for a further 4 days and weeks of disruption followed.

Express Air Freight Solutions

At the very same time we had an urgent shipment of demonstration equipment to deliver to a trade show in Massachusetts, USA. Because the flights were cancelled from Northern Europe, we sent the pallets to Vienna by road, and connected the freight with Austrian Airlines directly into New York, where our partners cleared the consignment through US Customs and trucked down to the show, ensuring our client could display their products on time at the exhibition. Our style of operation enables us to think ‘outside the box’ and offer solutions that the mulinational organisations cannot always provde, due to service contracts with particular carriers, or systems designed to handle large quantities of cargo, without the flexibility to change at a moments notice.

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