Heavylift / Breakbulk
Largest one for longest route
The only Antonov 225 ever to have been built recently flew across the Atlantic as part of a huge heavylift project. The weight of the cargo, a 139 t heat exchanger and its accessories, meant that no other mode of transport was possible.
The heavy unit made by Borsig travelled from Berlin to Edmonton (Canada) under the management of DB Schenker at the end of June. First, a mobile 1,000 t crane was used to load the 16 m gas cooler on to a barge, which transported the apparatus to Aken on the river Elbe. The heat exchanger was then loaded onto a heavy cargo transport vehicle using a crane, which moved the cargo to Leipzig / Halle airport using one pulling and one towing truck. On the morning of 25 June Portground, a ground-handling and freight services provider operating from the airport, started loading the six-engined An-225, the biggest freight aircraft in the world. The charterer was Karpeles Flight Services, the charter arm of DB Schenker. With the use of a ramp and special chain hoists the cylinder and its accessories, weighing in at a total of 147 t, were loaded onto the aircraft.
The aircraft flew the 8,400 km to Edmonton, in the western province of Alberta (Canada), via Goose Bay, a town in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Keflavik (Iceland). The unit was destined for a fertiliser factory outside Edmonton. There the component will be used for cooling process gas from approximately 1,000°C down to 500°C, to produce high-pressure gas. The process gas will then be further managed, to ultimately leave the factory as chemical fertiliser.
The heavylift transport had been planned down to the smallest detail by the experts from Germany and Canada over three months. «When a really big load needs to be transported urgently, the An-225 is an attractive alternative to a long and time-consuming journey across the oceans, as well as to rather slow and complex road haulage,» said Andriy Blagovisniy, commercial director of aircraft operator Antonov Airlines, describing the benefits of the aircraft.