The 6 Most Interesting Air Cargo Shipments

Let’s be frank, the world of air cargo charter can at times be seen a little boring to some. It doesn’t have to be this way though, as there are some air cargo charters that are fascinating in their complexity, astounding in their size, or just downright weird. This article will take a look at some of the strangest air shipments ever to be sent via cargo air charter, providing pockets of interesting trivia but also giving a glimpse into the weird and wonderful world of air cargo flights – and the difficulties that cargo charter services encounter every day!

Giant Pandas

Is it harsh to refer to Giant Pandas as oversized air cargo? Technically they don’t fit the bill, but they’re not the slimmest animals in the world. Despite this, their services were required in the Netherlands in 2015, when the Chinese wildlife association loaned two to Ouwehands Zoo. This sensitive air shipment was a commodity like no other, and one can’t help but picture them out of the cargo hold, sat in the cabin, being served their 400th round of bamboo by the flight attendant. 

In reality, this points to the role that air cargo charter companies can play in helping conservation efforts, as ultimately the key to any concerted international movement is good logistics. It also demonstrates the sensitivity with which air cargo charter services are able to process and transport vulnerable cargo, as in this case two critically endangered and notoriously sensitive animals were moved without a hitch.

Vaccines

Ok, vaccines might not be the weirdest cargo ever to be seen in an air freight shipment, but if we’re discussing interesting things that have been sent via cargo charters, they surely have to make the list. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in 2020 and 2021 was, arguably, the greatest collective human accomplishment of the 21st century. Billions of doses of antibodies were distributed to all of the farthest corners of the Earth in an act of interborder collaboration that has never been seen before, and that necessitated a scale of air freight shipments beyond imagining.

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The fact that this was accomplished to such a thorough and all-covering extent is testament to the sheer hard work of air cargo charter service providers the world over, who worked in close collaboration with governments, health organizations, and local NGOs to ensure that vaccines were administered where they were most critically required. This type of air cargo shipment was not a one-off, as vaccine rollouts continue both in response to COVID-19 outbreaks and in times of humanitarian crises, where freight charter is a crucial element in any response.

Ketchup

Returning to the light-hearted, it’s probably obvious that ketchup has at some point been involved in a cargo charter flight – multinational restaurant chains have to resupply somehow, after all. Perhaps less expected, though, is the fact that an emergency air cargo shipment comprised exclusively of ketchup was once dispatched. 

Air cargo news, the sauce for this remarkable piece of cargo air chartering, reports that a leading fast food company were running low on ketchup and needed reinforcements. As road haulage wasn’t viable in the short timeframe, a Boeing 747 loaded with 90 tons of the condiment was sent via air cargo charter service. The freight charter arrived, and the restaurants were resupplied, meaning that cargo aircraft charter allowed the chain to avoid disruption and ketchup on time that would have otherwise been lost.

Baggage Handlers

Okay, while nobody calls up an air charter cargo company and asks them to ship some baggage handlers, commercial passenger flights have occasionally seen baggage handlers fall into the cargo hold and get stuck – meaning that they’re given a free ride to the destination. Because these cabins are pressurized and often heated, there’s no tragic ending to this tale – just a ride home, preferably in a seat this time! 

While this might not seem relevant in terms of highlighting the range of items that cargo air charter service providers are capable of sending, it does point to the quality of the conditions in which your cargo will be shipped. If someone is able to remain alongside cargo for hours before getting out at the other end and walking away, you can be sure that the safety and security afforded to your goods during transit will be more than sufficient.

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Human Organs

It’s a somewhat macabre fact that organs are required the world over for lifesaving operations. It’s difficult to imagine a cargo that is more time sensitive or more fragile, as even the slightest disruption could potentially render this critical cargo defunct and unsuitable for its purpose. The fact that charter cargo planes are able to send human organs around the world speaks to the care and speed with which air cargo flights operate, and they provide an invaluable link in this logistical chain.

Not only is it important that cargo containing human organs arrives promptly and intact, but it also has to be kept in extremely specific temperature-controlled environments, adding an extra layer of complexity to the air shipment operation. World-renowned cargo specialists with a long-established names in the industry, are able to keep cargo of this nature moving, ensuring speed, sensitivity, and complete control over even the tiniest details of the shipment procedure.

The Titanic

From the tiny to the, well, titanic, oversized air cargo can come in all shapes and sizes. When the famous vessel was discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic, parts of its hull and other related artifacts were sent around the world in an exhibition. This involved the use of air cargo flights to send the travelling collection from one museum to another, a practice that continues to this day, as Titanic exhibitions remain a popular attraction.  

The use of air cargo charters to move sensitive museum exhibits of huge cultural significance is a frequent occurrence – after all, anything that’s currently in a museum had to get there somehow, and the preponderance of Egyptian mummies in museums dotted around the world speaks to the fact that history travels. A good cargo air charter service is capable of ensuring that these priceless artifacts remain intact and are transported around the globe so that they’re able to be seen and experienced by everyone interested in their history.

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Wind Turbine Blades

The longest cargo ever delivered via an air cargo charter service was a wind turbine blade. At nearly 137,8 feet in length, the huge dimensions of this oversized air cargo mean that you might think it wouldn’t be possible to send it through an air cargo shipment. The adaptability and effort required to send objects such as this, though they present difficulties for air charter cargo service providers, are no obstacle, and this delivery was able to proceed without a hitch.

Air shipments of this nature are not frequent occurrences, but when they do present themselves, they offer cargo charter services the chance to prove themselves and work on unique, interesting, and challenging projects – an environment that the best air cargo charter companies revel in. If you’ve got a huge, irregular, or downright bizarre cargo operation, then finding an air cargo charter company that will relish rather than reset the challenge is key.

 

Who to Pick?

Given the above, it should be clear by now that adaptability and a wealth of experience are key features to look for when organizing an air shipment that’s in any way irregular. Companies that are familiar with the unfamiliar are vital cogs in the global air shipment network, allowing strange cargo to get where it needs to be via cargo air charter services that can accommodate any need.

To identify a suitable candidate, look for air freight shipment providers with a history of dispatching irregular cargo and ensuring its safe delivery to a broad range of destinations under all kinds of challenging conditions. You’ll also need a company capable of rolling with the punches and changing their plans if your needs change, as shipping interesting cargo can throw up unexpected hurdles and the most awkward moments.

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