Heavylift / Breakbulk
An Arctic research station flies through snow and ice
The enterprise Chapman Freeborn Airchartering, together with its logistics partners GAC Norway and Polog, a Danish logistics specialist for the Polar regions, recently delivered pre-fabricated building materials for an entire research station from Spitzbergen to northern Greenland.
The remote scientific outpost called Station Nord is a Danish military station that is located 924 km from the North Pole. It is hardly registered on a single world map. The special logistics enterprise Polog, which has gathered plenty of experience operating in the Arctic wilderness in the past ten years, is of the opinion that Station Nord is located in that particular area of Greenland that «probably makes the greatest demands» of logistics suppliers.
Average temperatures in the area hover around –14°C, and the lowest lows of the winter reach –50°C. As sea ice only allows supply ships to call every five to ten years, Station Nord is really only accessible by air. There is a snow-covered runway with the Icao code BGMI at Station Nord. This was where the charter broker Chapman Freeborn came in – in a team with Polog, which regularly supplies various camps in the region, and the Norwegian branch of the global logistics corporation GAC. They were asked to fly a new polar research station to the site.
Loaded in the big city – of 2,000 inhabitants
The airlift project started out in Longyearbyen (LYR), the main city of the Svalbard (formerly Spitsbergen) archipelago, which is part of Norway. Longyearbyen is one of the northern-most permanently-settled outposts of human civilisation with about 2,000 inhabitants. But that city’s airport has not only got its Icao code ENSB, but also its Iata code LYR.
The airlift project saw the haulage of 210 t of cargo to Greenland by means of 17 Antonov An-12 charter flights from Longyearbyen. The climate was not the only challenge; the dimensions and weight of the 232 consignments also posed particular demands. Meticulous planning was required to ensure the safe and efficient loading of the cargo onto the robust Antonov units. Once they are complete the new research facilities will consist of three buildings with 633 sqm of floor space. The task of the scientists working in them in the snow-white region will be to monitor Arctic air pollution.
Kim Borgaard, Chapman Freeborn’s regional sales manager for Scandinavia, pointed out that «inclement weather conditions and the remote location of Station Nord made the operation a challenge from the outset. Our experience in the region enabled us to smoothly transport more than 200 t of cargo to one of the most remote locations in the world, however.»