Senator International Launches Atlantic Air Bridge

The logistics service provider announced plans to start scheduled freighter flights between Munich, Germany and Greenville-Spartanburg in South Carolina, USA. Which carrier will operate the route is still undecided.

Tim Kirschbaum heads Senator International  -  company courtesy
Tim Kirschbaum heads Senator International - company courtesy

The MUC-GSP roundtrips, mainly set up to transport shipments for carmaker BMW will be serviced twice weekly, Wednesdays and Saturdays, starting November 5th. Model case is Panalpina’s Dixie Jet operated by Atlas Air, connecting Luxembourg and Huntsville, Alabama for meanwhile over a quarter of a century.

Shuttle for automotive parts
Senator International’s upcoming service, dubbed ‘Senator Atlantic Bridge’ is following a similar pattern, i.e. a forwarding agent contracts a capacity provider and manages all transport matters entirely in-house. 
Main driver of the projected air service is Munich-based BMW that is highly interested in setting up a supply chain, linking its German facilities including its many European suppliers of car components with its production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina where their different X-models are being assembled.
Senator International’s CEO Tim Kirschbaum emphasizes that other clients interested in contributing their own goods to the loads are members of the aerospace industry for whom South Carolina and the bordering states are a traditional stronghold.

GSP wants to become best-in-class
As to the intended supply chain he points out that his company is no stranger to local U.S. firms engaged in trade and transport issues. The Hamburg, Germany-based Senator International started the relationship between the District and Hamburg in late 2011 when District personnel provided services for an emergency air charter operated by Senator International on behalf of an Upstate customer. “The cargo shipped on that first flight was time-sensitive, and the service provided by the GSP team to meet our needs went way beyond our expectations,” Kirschbaum says.
His statement comes as no surprise to GSP Airport District’s President & CEO Dave Edwards who said, “GSP is well-equipped and strategically located to assist Senator and its valued customers with successful, reliable and timely delivery of cargo. The continued growth of cargo services is essential to our business model. Our goal is to deliver efficient, cost-effective service with an emphasis on customer service that exceeds industry standards.”
Because of the successful first flight, both Senator International and the District became committed to finding a long-term strategy for securing a scheduled international cargo service, which has culminated in their ‘Atlantic Bridge’ announcement.

Senator has shortlisted three all-cargo airlines
Touching the carrier issue, Senator’s Miami-based COO Ralf Schneider remains reserved: “Negotiations with potential capacity providers are still ongoing, but latest by mid-September we intend closing this chapter and announcing the name of the airline we are going to partner with,” he told CargoForwarder Global. Schneider speaks of three candidates that have been shortlisted by his company, but shies away from telling who they are. 
Ralf went on to say he has no doubt that Senator will continuously manage on its own to fill the aircraft, presumably a Boeing 747-400F or even the larger variant -8F, both west- and eastbound. Co-loading by other agents, “we haven’t really considered.” Senator International runs a station at GSP with 15 staff. 
In a first reaction, Munich Airport speaker Ingo Anspach has welcomed Senator’s freighter project. “It adds to our growing attractiveness as location for full freighter services,” Ingo noted.

Heiner Siegmund

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