Priority Freight overcomes border delays with multimodal solution to avoid production line stop

  • Planned shipment of 890kg of parts from Serbia to South Africa interrupted by Serbian border delays
  • Spare parts urgently needed in South African factory to avoid production stop
  • Combination of express road services, air charter and commercial cargo flight overcame obstacles and delivered shipment ahead of time

A vehicle manufacturer routinely ships parts from the point of origin in Serbia to a production facility in South Africa. The usual road haulage route was experiencing substantial delays at the Serbian-Hungarian border meaning that alternative transport was needed immediately to prevent production delays. Priority Freight’s multimodal solution guaranteed delivery of the parts to the South African factory in little over 48 hours in time for Monday morning opening.

It is a common scenario that parts are manufactured in one location before being transported across countries or continents to reach the assembly line where they become part of an end product. In the automotive industry, this process relies on accurate and timely sequencing, without which this fragile chain can easily break creating financial and reputational harm.

One recent example of this was a volume vehicle manufacturer who makes parts at its Serbian factory for distribution to its network of production plants, including one in East London, South Africa. This regular shipment usually involves road transport from the Serbian factory to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where the goods are then flown to O.R. Tambo International Airport. However, issues at the Serbian-Hungarian border meant the goods would be delayed and potentially halt South African production.

Priority Freight received a call from the manufacturer on a Thursday evening, stressing the urgency of the shipment and need to avoid manufacturing delays and associated costs to the business. Priority Freight immediately formed a response team to devise suitable alternative shipping methods and arrange delivery of the 890kg of parts to the South African factory before Monday morning.

Overnight on Thursday, Priority Freight’s experts liaised with colleagues, ground agents and carriers worldwide to have the shipment back on track and by Friday morning a truck was waiting to collect the parts from the Serbian factory. Rather than exit Serbia by road and face border delays, the goods were taken to Belgrade airport where they were loaded onto a waiting ATR charter aircraft and flown to Oostende in Belgium. From there the parts were transferred to another truck which drove to Amsterdam Schiphol airport to meet a long-haul commercial cargo flight bound for Johannesburg.

After a flight time of 11 hours the cargo flight landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Saturday evening, less than 48 hours after the parts were collected from Serbia. A twin-prop Metro plane then completed the final 600 miles from Johannesburg to East London arriving at 03:30 local time on Sunday morning, in plenty of time to be unloaded and in place for the factory to recommence production the following day.

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Experts in air charter, direct express road transportation, express air freight, express on-board air courier and customs clearance.

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