“Airline on wheels” is how Sovereign dubs itself due to its nightly operated express services linking major European airports and biz centers via its extensive road network. Last week, the company has added cargo handler THS GmbH to its fast expanding empire enabling the hauler to manage freight handling and security controls itself. Through the integration of THS GmbH and its daughter company THS Express a gap will be closed in the service range offered by his firm, emphasizes Sovereign majority owner Karim El-Sayegh.
Up to this point, Hamburg, Germany-headquartered transport company Sovereign had outsourced all cargo handling activities utilizing the services of different contractors. This will end in January
when former THS GmbH, that runs a 3,500 sqm warehouse in Hamburg’s World Cargo Center, located next door to the airport, has been renamed in ‘Sovereign Aircargo Services GmbH’. “The acquisition
of THS and its subsidiary THS Express enables us to provide customers the entire range of services from pick-up to delivery, including customs clearance, ground handling of shipments, security
controls and road feeder transport, which is our core business,” explains Karim. The manager responsible for all ground handling processes at Sovereign’s new facility at HAM Airport will be
Ruediger Suhrke, the former boss of THS. Ruediger will do practically the same as he did until now, but in his new function as MD of Sovereign Aircargo.
How much the THS acquisition has cost his company, Karim doesn’t reveal. He rather highlights the aspect of job security for the THS staff that will be completely taken over by Sovereign.
As a consequence, Sovereign will consolidate shipments at Hamburg Airport to carry the goods by vans or trucks overnight to roughly 50 European destinations. To illustrate this daily operation (24/7/365) he picks the trade lane HAM-LHR. “Our latest acceptance time here at Hamburg Airport for express goods bound for London is 4:30 p.m. We guarantee clients who meet this deadline the arrival of their goods at our Heathrow station early morning on the following day,” where they can pick up the items themselves or have a local partner carry out this job.
He goes on to say that the door-door business prevails with airport-airport transports accounting for only one third of all goods moved by his company. Major destinations within Sovereign’s intra-European network are Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, London and Manchester, with consolidation and redistribution of the goods taking place at three major transfer points: Hamburg, Cologne and Brussels.
Combining trucking and courier services
On average, Sovereign moves 300 tons every single night on board their own fleet across western and central Europe, with the vast majority of shipments being express products. This figure will increase further once the cargo consignments trucked by external haulers on behalf of THS each night from Hamburg to Frankfurt become part of Sovereign’s network. “Soon, we will use our own vehicles to carry these goods to Rhine-Main,” Karim confirms.
The company which combines classic truck transportation with courier services has offices at eleven locations in six European countries. This year, Sovereign expects generating revenues in the region of €40 million, a 10 percent increase y-o-y.