The Eurofighter Typhoon, designed and manufactured by three companies; Alenia Aermacchi, Airbus Group and BAE Systems

How to Ship Aerospace & Defence Equipment

The success of any nation state depends greatly on its economy for prosperity and wealth. The economy is the driver of jobs and business, especially external direct investment and exports. The UK defence and aerospace industry is a global leader and small businesses that transport such freight for this industry have a big part to play.

The UK defence and aerospace industry is highly commercial, technologically advanced, experienced, and highly competitive resulting in it being a global market leader, that creates jobs and exports success - from the big freight shippers down to the small manufacturers moving parts and equipment via an everyday ro-ro freight ferry.

According to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and UK Trade & Investment, depending on the method of measurement, the UK's aerospace industry is the second largest national aerospace industry in the world after the USA's. The industry currently employs more than 100,000 people working directly in the industry at companies such as BAE Systems, Bombardier UK, AugustaWestland, GKN, and Rolls-Royce, many of which compete in a crowded global market against Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, and many more. Approximately 250,000 indirectly work in the industry as manufacturers supplying parts and technical materials.

It is estimated that the annual turnover of the industry is more than £30 billion. Therefore the UK defence and aerospace industry has a sizeable chunk of the total manufacturing sector, about 10%.

It is unsurprising that small and medium sized transport companies and fleet operators are shipping defence and aerospace freight into Europe regularly - there are more British SMEs operating in the UK's defence manufacturing sector than in the whole of continental western Europe combined. Despite the domestic problems at home, the UK remains one of the world's most globalised economies, its aerospace sector consistently growing, especially in Space technology and R&D.

In this industry it is the longer supply chain that is vital to the success and expansion of the defence sector. Operational requirements of destinations constantly change due to demand and international geo-politics, therefore the supply chain shifts and changes too.

At Freightlink, over the past decade we have had customers moving different types of manufacturing freight for civil defence and government - the equipment is varied and ranges from technical components for armoured vehicles to small arms and communication systems.AgustaWestland EH-101 Merlin HM1 helicopter from 829 Naval Air Squadron

A vital consideration to think about when shipping sensitive materials are of course the logistics:

i) including storage

ii) distribution

iii) military and defence packing

iv) route planning

v) shipping to UK, and NATO defence standards

Do I need to book a freight ferry early if I'm transporting parts or components?

Actually no. It really depends on if you're travelling on a freight ferry that is ro-ro or ro-pax because freight spaces on ro-pax are often limited to approximately 12 spaces for freight vehicles so there can be a waiting list if you turn up only a hour or so before the ferry departs - better to book as early as you can. However if the ferry is ro-ro then there is more possibility of your obtaining a space for your vehicle as there are more spaces on this type of freight ferry. Check the status of operators in case of emergency on our freight ferry schedule page, we also update Twitter regularly reporting on events.

I am shipping 'dangerous goods' to the continent, what do I need to do?

For ferry any bookings, goods classed as ''Hazardous'', even those listed as "Limited Quantities", we must be notified in advance under the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) Code. Bookings for Hazardous goods cannot be made online. There's more information here in our FAQs section: How do I book hazardous cargo?

I need to plan my route carefully - where do I start?

Whether you are a fleet transport shipper, freight forwarding business or a courier, as with all logisitics, careful planning is essential and researching routes available for your destination needs to be sorted. One important thing to bear in mind are the differences country to country - we have a freight transport country guide available providing info about European Union (EU) Law regulating road transport.

If you are looking at routes or operators, you will find our interactive route map interesting:

19 March 2015

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