International shipping companies don’t believe in miracles. They believe in skills: organization, communication, thoroughness. Every detail must fit together like pieces of a puzzle and that’s how you win. No miracles, just skills. And if you’ve got them, you can take the one real challenge.
Since 1968, Alisped has won battles against time nearly every day, but in February 2021 they accepted a very special challenge. A high-end fashion company needed to ship goods overseas, i.e. from the Netherlands to Los Angeles, via Frankfurt. “We are talking about many pallets” says Caterina Cosentino, New York branch manager, “and I knew it would take at least two months to have them shipped to L.A. My projections were soon confirmed. But the fashion company needed the goods to be delivered the following week.”
Of course, Alisped considers finding solutions as part of their job. Fourth skill: problem solving. The perfect idea came from Italy and Ms. Cosentino remembers it all perfectly: “Lorenzo Cerretelli, Alisped Vice President, said: let’s do a charter flight so that we can ship all the goods together. And I said: ok. Let’s do it. That’s how it all started: close working, planning every detail, an incredible back-and-forth job.”
As Francesco Bocci, Alisped national air freight manager, states, a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747 – 400 freighter was chosen for the purpose. But first of all, the goods had to reach Frankfurt airport from Holland and of course had to be loaded on the Boeing. “An unspecified number of things could go wrong” Mr. Bocci adds, “and we know delays are very common in these situations. Coordination has been key, as well as thoroughness because we are not talking about a usual shipment: it was a charter. Everything was more complicated than usual.”
“The number of trucks was pretty consistent” says Mr. Francesco Silli, Alisped trucking manager, “and the margins of time rather short. We are talking about very valuable goods, so we wanted a certain number of trucks to travel together on the same day, to be fast and secure, no transshipment allowed. The smallest logistical problem could be fatal, particularly during that period.”
In fact, it was complicated by restrictions: many issues had to be managed by phone because of the pandemic and nobody could go check on site. “The communication part has been quite tough: we kept on calling handlers, truck drivers who weren’t even allowed to check the loading because of restrictions, the Customs, the offices of the fashion company in Europe and in the U.S.A. And since our job is very delicate, it’s easier to work with people you already know, and during this time we were new to one another. But we were all professional and this was fundamental.”
Ms. Cosentino comments: “We made it: over the weekend, the charter flight left Frankfurt and arrived to JFK airport in New York, the goods were moved to our warehouse and then to L.A. using a trucking company. Still can’t believe that everything happened in one week.” Maybe words are not the best medium to describe such an incredible extended-team work. But the word skills proved to be definitely the right one.