Sep 1, 2011

Top 10: Extreme Supply Chain Locations

3 min
The global supply chain needs to service every city on the planet. What are the top 10 most difficult places to get to?
Before you read this, check out the upper-right hand corner of this page to view this article in our digital reader. Trust us, it's way coo...

Before you read this, check out the upper-right hand corner of this page to view this article in our digital reader. Trust us, it's way cooler!

10.) Manaus, Brazil

Thanks to two federal highways and the Eduardo Gomes International Airport, the city of Manaus isn’t as difficult to reach as it used to be. Situated in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, the Amazon River was the only realistic way to move goods in and out of the city in centuries past.

9.) Kabul, Afghanistan

Sitting in a country that has been ravaged by war for the past decade, Kabul isn’t exactly the easiest or safest destination in the global supply chain. As the largest city in Afghanistan, Kabul does have a reasonably large airport, but lacks even a primitive rail network.

8.) Nuuk, Greenland

There’s a reason nobody leaves on Greenland. It’s cold. Despite the inherent difficulties in supplying such a location, Nuuk’s location near the southern tip of Greenland makes supplying operations not too difficult. That’s about the end of the good news, however, as Nuuk’s average high is a shade above freezing. Not exactly supplier paradise.

7.) Arlit, Niger

One of the largest cities in the Sahara Desert, the industrial city of Arlit gained notoriety following allegations in 2003 that Saddam Hussein was seeking to purchase uranium from the city. Despite its unyielding heat and remote location, the city is serviced by a world-class airport to serve its uranium industry.

6.) Yellow Knife, Canada

As the capital and largest city of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife is certainly no picnic to get to. The town’s road construction is a constant challenge due to the presence of permafrost, which forces the local government to resurface roads every 10 to 20 years.

5.) Alice Springs, Australia

Quick, find a map of Australia. Now, put your finger exactly where you think the middle of the continent is. Chances are, you landed on the town of Alice Springs. The only major road that cuts through is the Stuart Highway. Sure, there’s a train schedule, but it’s only stops twice a week in each direction.

4.) Norilsk, Russia

Lying on the shore of the Arctic Sea, Norilsk holds the honor as the second-largest city north of the Arctic Circle. The city’s renowned nickel mines hold the world’s largest nickel-copper-palladium. All that mining hasn’t been healthy for the environment, as Norilsk is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

3.) Chongqing, China

Just how isolated is Chongqing? Located in the center of China, the city served as the wartime capital of China during Japan’s invasion at the start of World War II. With four mountain ranges surrounding the area, Chongqing has historically relied on air freight to handle its supply chain needs.

2.) Easter Island

As a special territory of Chile, Eastern Island is perhaps the most remote inhabited location on the planet, with the closest landmass at Chile lying 2,336 miles to the east. Not exactly around the corner. The region is serviced by the Mataveri International Airport, which began operations in 1967.

1.) Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

Was there ever any doubt who would be No. 1? Antarctica presents some of the most difficult supply chain problems in the world, thanks to its remote location and environmental challenges that are unlike any other. The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is located at the southernmost place on earth, smack dab in the middle of Antarctica. The station is the only place on the land surface of Earth where the sun continuously is up for six months and continuously down for six months. Temperatures are capable of dropping below -100 degrees Fahrenheit and blizzards have gale-force winds. Between October and February, the United States military schedules several flights per day from the McMurdo station on the coast supply the Amundsen-Scott station, with these operations codenamed Operation Deep Freeze. It doesn’t get much cooler than that (pun intended).

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Aug 24, 2018

Top 10 air freight carriers

Supply Chain
James Henderson
5 min
Supply Chain |Digital runs down the world's top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group

10. Cargolux Group

The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.

9. Korean Air

Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.

 8. Air France-KLM

The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.

7. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.

6. Lufthansa Group

Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.

5. Cathay Group

The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.

4. DHL Express Group

Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.

3. UPS Airlines

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.

2. Emirates Skycargo

The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.

1. FedEx Express

Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.

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