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aerospace logistics

Aerospace Logistics: It’s Out of this World

Aerospace logistics is undeniably a sector of high-value cargoes and complex projects, which require extraordinary quality of service. It’s also a niche that’s expected to see remarkable growth in the future. Naturally, there are many logistics providers who are eyeing the aerospace logistics market. Nonetheless, with high stakes and tough challenges, there are quite a few hurdles that successful aerospace logistics providers must overcome.

This issue of AFL will reveal some of the factors that make aerospace logistics distinctly challenging compared to handling general cargo, along with other conditions that the major players in this sector need to consider carefully.

Flying to the Future

Aerospace cargoes can come in the form of machines, liner and air force components, helicopter parts, and much more. All these parts are costly and need to be handled and conveyed by the right hands for safety and quality reasons. Over the next few years, demand for the delivery of aerospace parts will be higher than ever. By 2030, over 31,000 brand new air craft will be delivered — of course, this will put greater pressure on the supply chain to meet the increased demand. Aerospace supply-chains are very much global in nature, which adds another level of complexity. In fact, aerospace components are being produced in many different areas around the globe, and they need to be delivered for assembly to other locations. Also, the supply-chain doesn’t end when the aircraft is delivered. Aircraft manufacturers also handle repair and maintenance throughout the aircraft’s lifetime.

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Factors to Consider

Aerospace logistics services can be provided by air, sea, courier-on-board service for small parts, and aircraft-on-ground services. Each service comes with distinctly different challenges compared to logistics for general cargo. Therefore, logistics providers should be prepared and confident about planning for every single process, including executing the following conditions.

  • Communication
    Excellent communication is one of the most important factors ensuring the success of every stage from planning, collaborating, picking up goods, warehousing, delivery and other related processes. Good communication will enable staff in each and every department to sync together faster and more efficiently.
  • Timing
    In the logistics industry, every second counts. Just imagine how damaging it would be if the delivery of a medical emergency helicopter’s components is delayed. How long might it take to get the missing spare parts, and how many lives depend on that helicopter? Therefore, time can be a very challenging factor in the aerospace industry.
  • Warehousing
    Aside from communication and the speed of delivery, warehousing throughout the logistics process is another condition that needs to be well organized to avoid damage or loss of goods. Moreover, warehousing plays an important role in contingency plans. One must consider how to store the cargo if delivery is delayed or some other problems arise.
  • Specialists
    Aerospace goods are high-value, often outsized and overweight, so they must be handled with skill and great care. Moving this cargo requires experienced teams at every stage to ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the processes.
  • Plan for emergencies
    One thing that’s common to all logistics, but is especially true of aerospace logistics, is that unexpected obstacles can occur at any time. What’s important is how to plan for the emergency that might happen. Well thought out contingency plans can ensure that any losses and delays are minimized as much as possible.
  • Regulations
    The aerospace industry is highly regulated, and the laws are very complicated. Logistics providers must know the regulations inside out, from restrictions to taxation to trade agreements and environmental rules, as well as import-export procedures.

The Future of Aerospace Logistics

Mr. Jérôme Le Grand, Global Aerospace Director, SDV, commented about aerospace logistics hubs and trends in this industry: “As the aerospace industry is growing in every region around the world, key hubs are by default the

Mr. Jérôme Le Grand

Mr. Jérôme Le Grand

biggest and busiest airports in the world. But let’s not forget that key aerospace hubs are also needed to distribute aircraft parts and systems from, as well as remote exotic airports where helicopters, narrow bodies and turboprop aircrafts are in operation.”

“Focusing on Southeast Asia, Singapore is the regional hub and base, but key hubs are placed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam to support the high and fast development of these countries. Currently, Southeast Asia is the top 5 region for SDV’s aerospace sector and we are convinced that it will be the area where the highest growth is expected in the near future.”

“With more than 30 years of experience in this field and SDV’s DNA as a ‘people company’ and ‘can do’ culture, we have the best match to support our customers throughout the entire end-to-end value chain.”

Jessica Fong, General Manager – Aerospace, Kuehne-Nagel Southeast Asia

Jessica Fong, General Manager – Aerospace, Kuehne-Nagel Southeast Asia

Similarly, Ms. Jessica Fong, General Manager – Aerospace, Kuehne-Nagel Southeast Asia, commented about aerospace logistics business in Southeast Asia: “This region is operated as a gateway to Asia with excellent connectivity via both air and sea, linking to other regions and reaching targeted customers. We are keeping an eye on Thailand closely as the Thai government has a vested interest to support the country as Southeast Asia’s aerospace hub.”

“For Kuehne-Nagel, we have many strong points in terms of aerospace logistics service. We have global footprint covering OEM, MRO, airline operators and all aerospace supporting companies. With our products ‘Supply the Sky’ and KNEngine Chain and staff that are trained and continually upgraded to new knowledge, we ensure processes and handling that are aligned to global aerospace standards.”

With the aforementioned factors, aerospace logistics market has unique challenges and high risks but also great potential for growth, making it an attractive market for many. Furthermore, Southeast Asia is a good area to keep an eye on, as it’s among the areas that are expected to grow in the future.