UTC Overseas has coordinated an airfreight shipment from Egypt to Chicago, USA.


Photo credit: UTC Overseas.

The shipment included three aero-derivative gas turbines that weighed 13 tonnes each and originated from Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh. They were transported to Chicago O’Hare airport in specialised shipping cans – hard, heavy-duty protective cases – designed to move power generation equipment.

The empty cans were transloaded onto trailers via four lifting eyes prior to placing the turbines. When the cans were fully loaded, the lifting procedure was adjusted to include a lifting bar and lashing to properly support the weight of the turbine.

Based on the dimensions of the turbines and shipping cans, UTC’s chose to charter an IL-76 aircraft. “The IL-76’s cabin size is large, able to accommodate approximately 160 cu m, with a payload capacity of 50 tonnes. The tail cargo door has expanding loading ramps, and the cabin is equipped with two electric winches, each with 3-tonne traction, and four electric hoists with a pulling capacity of up to 10 tonnes. Due to its size and the onboard equipment, it was the most efficient choice for the quick turnaround needed,” said UTC. 

A particular challenge for the project was the short unloading time span at Chicago O’Hare. Arrangements began months in advance. Due to the flight crew’s time constraints, they had only two hours on the ground, which meant each step in the process had to be performed with great precision. 

UTC’s air charter team was onsite to carefully oversee the operation. “Pre-coordination was key to getting the units ready to load quickly. The necessary equipment for loading and the handling crew had to be onsite and ready to spring into action,” UTC explained.

Prior to the units landing, specialised trucks, airport storage, forklifts, security, ex-rays, airport clearance, and a myriad of other tasks were coordinated and ready. Proper paperwork, permits, certificates, and inspections were key to keeping the operation running swiftly.