German auto parts for GM and high-tech equipment bound for Asia
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2011) — A long-term operation began earlier this month at Melbourne International Airport that promises to greatly expand the airport’s cargo handling.
The operation combined offloading auto parts from Germany bound for a General Motors plant in Tennessee and loading locally produced high-tech equipment bound for Asia. Yowell International, one of the nation’s leading specialty shippers based at the airport, coordinated with airport officials to land the operation.
“Melbourne was chosen because of the rapidity of transit time and the excellent cooperative attitude of our local customs office, Melbourne International Airport’s ground-handling personnel and Yowell International,” said Bill Cantillon, Yowell’s general manager.
The first two cargo shipments arrived this month aboard Boeing 747-200F aircraft, which are designed specifically for large, long-haul cargo runs. The first flight’s incoming auto parts weighed in at 95 metric tons and the outbound cargo tipped the scales at 90 metric tons.
“The most efficient use of an aircraft like the B747-200F is to have full loads on both legs of a trip,” Cantillon said.
As many as a dozen more similar cargo flights could follow.
The auto parts were loaded on six Yowell International semi-trailers that traveled to Tennessee overnight, Cantillon said. Receiving, transferring and delivering the cargo through Melbourne can be done much more quickly than going through major airports, such as Chicago’s O’Hare or New York’s La Guardia, he said.
“This operation not only highlights Melbourne’s ideal location as a cargo delivery and distribution point, it also allows us to make the best use of our ground-handling resources,” said Richard Ennis, airport executive director.
Another benefit to the airport is the sale of jet fuel, which topped 30,000 gallons on the B747-200F, said Bud Rigsby, airport ground services manager.
The efficient loading and unloading operation was made possible by the availability of the airport’s specialized K-loaders, which are mobile, heavy-duty scissor lifts that raise a platform to the height of the massive aircraft’s open-nose cargo door.
About Melbourne International Airport
Melbourne International Airport serves east Central Florida, including Brevard and Indian River counties, and is responsible for generating more than $1 billion per year in economic activity. The airport, which has three runways and a 200,000-square-foot terminal, currently serves Delta Air Lines, Direct Air, US Airways, Baer Air and Airgate Aviation. For more information, visit www.mlbair.com.