How Industry Leaders Ship and Protect High Value Cargo
As the world’s taste for fine goods and luxury items continues to grow, the need for secure shipments becomes even more imperative. The boom of e-commerce has led to air shipments becoming the defacto way to transport goods quickly and safely. However, when the sum of the goods begin to enter the millions of dollars’ category, the stakes become much higher. The risk involved for both the loss and theft of these goods raises exponentially. It takes a well-oiled operation to make sure the delivery of high value goods is done so both quickly and securely.
To get a deeper insight into this world of high value cargo, we spoke with Mr. Milo Gerisch, Swiss WorldCargo Vertical Industry Manager Precious Commodities, Banking and Luxury Goods; and Mr. Gal Aviram, Malca Amit Managing Director – Thailand. The perspective of both a forwarder and airline helps gives us a fuller picture of what it takes to transport the world’s most precious items.
Secure Delivery at all Costs
When speaking to both experts it became clear that amongst all the elements in these high stakes deliveries that the trifecta of elements needed for successful deliveries is security, insurance and speed. Mr. Aviram mentions that from his perspective as a forwarder, it’s all about managing and getting the best airlines with the appropriate security facilities, that the underwriters approve, and which have the best schedule.
We move some things the size of a pen that are worth millions. It’s easier to lose smaller items like this and one item of that value lost could put a company under; we take it very seriously.
“Underwriters have the biggest influence on what airlines we use,” said Mr. Aviram. “We move some things the size of a pen that are worth millions. It’s easier to lose smaller items like this and one item of that value lost could put a company under; we take it very seriously. We have people in our group that are insurance experts, and they must know all the ins and outs of all the various, and yet very specific insurance policies. It’s a niche market, and yet if you look from the outside it’s very intricate.”
The foremost facilitator for both insured and secured transport is speed. Using expedited services and direct routes minimizes touch points and dwell time—the two most vulnerable areas in shipping valuables. Longer supply chains add additional touch points that are therefore more vulnerable. As Mr. Gerisch explained further, Swiss WorldCargo has a pedigree for these types of shipments stretching back for decades, and has many distinct advantages with their location and service that make them ideal for shipping valuables.
“Swiss WorldCargo has been able to steadily grow as one of the preferred carriers when it comes to shipments of high-value goods, even though we are comparatively ‘small’ compared to other industry giants,” said Mr. Gerisch. “But exactly this is our benefit: we can be extremely precise, ever punctual, mostly flexible and proactive, and very personal in our dialogues with our clients. All in all, with our product SWISS Valuables and our vertical industry focus we live up to our Swiss Values in the most exemplary way. It is therefore almost an obligation to aim to be better than our competitors. And we continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for vertical expertise of air logistics solutions.”
He adds, “Swiss WorldCargo is moving its strategic direction by adopting a Vertical Industry approach and understanding the specific customer needs and adapting our services toward matching these needs. Logistics needs are becoming more and more industry-specific. Businesses are growing and more demanding, when it comes to air logistics of high sensitive goods like valuables, and the need for tailor-made solutions is increasing all the time. In addition to the short Zurich transfer times, SWISS Valuables offers a host of further advantages, such as ensuring that all consignments are handled only by specially trained personnel, and that all shipments are transported in sealed boxes. Our competitive advantage is to be uncompromising with our highest-level standards, but flexible enough to react immediately to our customer requests.”
Not Your Average Shipment
Thailand is well known as a center of trade for precious stones, with very big manufacturing centers too. There are talented people in Thailand that have high skill in the setting and polishing of high-end jewelry. The final product is then sent all over the world, but especially to countries throughout Europe. These high-end pieces of jewelry take time and special care to craft, so it’s important for airlines and forwarders to have an understanding of the time sensitive nature of the product.
When it comes down to it, there are several differences that make these shipments unique and varied. The concept of shipping valuables began many years ago, and was done with hand carry couriers, which is still done to this day with some valuables shipments. However, Mr. Aviram said, “Most goods now are sent like regular freight, but only sent with specific airlines that have necessary secure facilities, not only at the airport but in the belly of the plane as well. They must have a certain type of extra secure container, or vault for the cargo belly, and it’s not a service everyone can provide. It’s also important to build strong working relationships with airlines as high value shipments sometimes need special leeway.”
They must have a certain type of extra secure container, or vault for the cargo belly, and it’s not a service everyone can provide. It’s also important to build strong working relationships with airlines as high value shipments sometimes need special leeway
Mr. Aviram continued, “Many people may think cargo is like a passenger, but it’s not at all. The cut off time for many airlines is 3 1/2 hours, and while you may think that’s enough time from the perspective of a passenger, for cargo there’s still much to be done. There’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be done beforehand, and we must pack, seal, sticker, and secure the shipment before it’s ready to go; it’s all very time sensitive. Airlines we work with regularly understand that and help us get these extra-special shipments on the plane and delivered on time.”
“The transportation of valuables is in general detached from the ‘normal logistical chain’ in our system; and this in every step of the way,” said Mr. Gerisch. “This insures that the shipment will have limited exposure to outside conditions at the airport. In regards to efficiency and its flexibility with the valuable industry, Swiss WorldCargo is the best in class network carrier and one industry leader, with very short transit and delivery times at freight acceptance and delivery. This is approved by several customer satisfaction studies and more though by our key account clients, who are majorly involved in process and security developments. The transportation is ensured in specially sealed valuables containers (hard cover / aluminum doors) or hard security-plastic boxes to keep the cargo for our customers safe. Further security measures are in place but for obvious reasons cannot be discussed publicly. These valuable shipments receive our highest SWISS priority treatment: a very short transfer time and Swiss quality ensure 1st class handling.”
A Balancing Act
Beyond just jewelry, valuables consignments can consist of commodities such as precious metals, banknotes, art, and pharmaceutical products. To keep up with changing demands, having heightened supply chain visibility helps get all high-value cargo delivered to where it needs to go.
Regardless, any shipment that’s valuable is going to come with a demanding customer base, and the transport of these goods is always going to be a balancing act between risk management and customer service. The customer will always want these valuable shipments in their hands as quickly as possible. To appease the demands, a combination approach to monitoring these shipments and strong partnerships help keep these shipments flying quickly and securely.