April 29 - US-owned freight forwarder Netfrate has organised the trucking, packaging, survey and ocean transport of an MD Explorer helicopter from the Port of Houston to St Petersburg, Russia with on-carriage to Novokuznetsk, Siberia.

The 14.5 tonne helicopter was trucked from MD Helicopters in Mesa, Arizona by Silk Road Transport to the Port of Houston where it was placed into an 11.5m custom-built crate. The blades were packaged separately.

At Houston, the shipment was loaded onto a ro-ro ship bound for St Petersburg.

"Using St Petersburg as a transhipment hub versus Vladivostok shaves 1,700 km off the transit, saving a lot of time and avoiding the roads in Siberia which can be of poor quality in some places," said Pavel Trubetskoy, Netfrate's CEO.

"What's more, Russian Customs is in the process of requiring cargo arriving in Russia to clear at the first port of entry, which can be a challenge for importers located in remote regions such as Siberia."

Netfrate is very active between the United States and Canada with frequent service to North Western Russia, Siberia, the Ukraine and the Southern CIS Republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, moving a wide variety of cargo, including supplies for mining, oil and gas-related projects.