Rail as an alternative

Containers are currently in short supply worldwide, and there is a lack of capacity on ships – a problem, especially during the Christmas peak season. Militzer & Münch Germany meets this challenge by using rail transport. Thus, for two customers, six complete block trains were put together to run between China and Duisburg.

Due to the imbalance in trade between China and Europe, a large number of containers are stranded at European ports and terminals. This often results in a shortage of containers for transports from Asia to Europe – especially during the important fall and Christmas business.

“It’s like in real life: if you plan early enough, it’s easier to make ends meet,” says Michael Spitzlei, Head of Business Segment Rail at M&M air sea cargo GmbH. ” For transportation by rail, individual containers or space are always offered. However, handling shipments by sea to and from Europe is challenging in many respects at the moment, and the booking situation is critical.” Industrial customers often get their space from shipping companies only at the current daily or market rates, instead of the originally agreed contract rates. That is why many shippers are currently switching to rail, like some of Militzer & Münch’s key accounts, for example.

For the customers, one of them a global wholesale chain, Militzer & Münch set six complete block trains on their way from China to Duisburg in August. The German Rail team worked closely together with their colleagues from Militzer & Münch China on these transports. Total transit time from terminal to terminal was 25 days – despite congestion at the borders, it was thus within the usual time frame. The trains were all fully Militzer & Münch trains, exclusively transporting 50 x 40’ high cube containers with goods for the Militzer & Münch customers. Thus, especially in times of crisis, rail proves to be a reliable alternative to sea transport.

Too big for any door

Out-of-gauge: between May and October 2021, Militzer & Münch transported seven autoclaves to Uzbekistan for a manufacturer of construction and household materials. The weight – 83,000 kilograms each – and the dimensions of the autoclaves posed some challenges for the Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan team, but these were not the only hurdles they had to overcome.

An autoclave is a sealable high-pressure chamber that can take various forms. In industry, autoclaves are used for such purposes as curing building materials, vulcanizing tires or for sterilization. Autoclaves can also be found in the kitchen at home, as pressure cookers are also classified as autoclaves.

The dimensions of the seven autoclaves Militzer & Münch transported for the customer from Northern Germany to Chirchiq near Tashkent, however, hardly remind one of cooking pots. “With a length of 45 meters and a diameter of four meters, the autoclaves are so big that the factory where they are going to be used for manufacturing aerated concrete building blocks has to be built around them. No door would be big enough for them to be installed afterwards,” says Yulduz Babajanova, head of the projects department at Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan. “On-time delivery was therefore an essential factor in the time schedule for the construction of the Chirchiq factory.”

Multimodal – and via different routes

Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan delivered the autoclaves to their destination in three shipments. Since there are no standard solutions for transports of this scale, the project team worked with three subcontractors; different routes and various multimodal combinations were used. “Nikolaus Kohler, our Regional Managing Director for Central Asia, advised us on our own choice of subcontractors,” says Yulduz Babajanova. “A shipment with these dimensions entails various challenges. For example, after arrival in Uzbekistan, each of the three shipments had to be taken to the construction site with a convoy of escort vehicles to ensure maximum security. In addition, we were not flexible with transit times.”

Delays in St. Petersburg

The first transport was started in May 2021. Militzer & Münch transported two autoclaves from the point of origin in northern Germany, first by truck and then via inland waterway to Antwerp. There, they were loaded onto a freighter and shipped to St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, however, there were severe delays because the Russian Railroad was unable to meet transit times due to a rail platform overload. The cargo then continued by rail to Shymkent in Kazakhstan and from there by truck to the construction site in Chirchiq.

Due to the delays, the first transport took 135 days – the longest transit time of the three transports. To prevent this from happening with the second shipment, Militzer & Münch chose an alternative route. Up to St. Petersburg, the two autoclaves took the same route. From there, however, the cargo did not continue by rail, but was carried on the Volga-Don Canal across the Caspian Sea to Aktau in Kazakhstan. There, the cargo was transferred to trucks and covered the rest of the way by road – the entire transport took only 60 days.

Transport number three was even faster. It took only 55 days to transport the three autoclaves from northern Germany to Chirchiq. Here, too, the cargo was first taken to St. Petersburg, but then continued via the Volga-Don Canal to Tolyatti in Russia, and from there by road to the construction site.

A satisfied customer

“Despite the delay, we were able to handle the transport to our customer’s full satisfaction and deliver the autoclaves within the scheduled time,” says Khurshid Kasimdzhanov, Managing Director of Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan. “The customer had already cooperated with us on several projects, and we were able to convince him of our merits also this time. This success is primarily due to the good performance of our team in Uzbekistan, but also to the flexibility and resourcefulness of our subcontractors.”


52 trucks – from door to door

More than 50 trucks with numerous components started on their route in Germany and Estonia in spring. Overland and by sea, they went to Novocheboksarsk, where a hydrogen plant was to be built from the finished parts. A challenging project – but not uncharted territory for the experienced Militzer & Münch team.

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future. It has many uses and is a key element in ensuring the successful energy shift. So far, hydrogen has been used primarily in the chemical industry, but is also gaining in importance as a fuel for vehicles. However, hydrogen is not a primary energy; like electricity, it has to be produced in special plants.

Such a plant for the production of hydrogen went on its way to Russia – via a total of 52 trucks, most of them special transports with permits and escort vehicles. Over a period of about two months, Militzer & Münch delivered the individual components from Germany and Estonia to Novocheboksarsk. Depending on the pick-up location, part of the cargo went from Hamburg by ferry across the Baltic Sea. The majority of the transports, however, was purely overland.

Good planning leads to the goal

There were no detours for the hydrogen factory to arrive in St. Petersburg for customs clearance, as the project was a door-to-door delivery: the individual parts were picked up from their respective manufacturers and delivered directly to the consignee in Russia. Moreover, to make customs clearance as uncomplicated as possible, the consignee requested classification. Thus, it was possible to declare several parts under the same customs tariff number, and to clear them through customs en bloc.

For a transport of this size, the key issues are good organization and coordination. No problem for the Militzer & Münch team at Filderstadt headed by Hardy Rosentreter. For the customer, a manufacturer of gas purification and gas generation plants, this was not the first order of this kind. Militzer & Münch had already successfully delivered similar plants to Poland and Turkey before.

“The hydrogen factory in Novocheboksarsk is an important contribution to the energy turnaround,” says Thomas Winter, Managing Director at M&M Militzer & Münch GmbH, M&M air sea cargo GmbH. “We are glad that we, as a logistics service provider, are involved in advancing projects in our core regions that support alternative energy sources.”

Metal roof tiles – from Poland to the USA

An entire roof on one pallet? No problem for a roof tile manufacturer in Poland. His products are also in demand in the USA. Militzer & Münch Poland guarantees that the innovative roof tiles arrive reliably.

In 2017, Poland exported goods for over 230 billion USD, an absolute high (source: Statista). Most goods are still going to the European neighboring countries, especially to Germany. But the supply of high-quality competitively viable products encourages many companies to export also to countries outside EU borders.

For example, a manufacturer of innovative products for roofs and facades. In comparison to the regular clay or concrete roof tiles, his modular metal roofing tiles are more durable, they weigh less, they are easier to install and also more storm-resistant.

All in all, a modern competitive product that finds buyers not only in Poland but also in far-off markets such as the USA.

Export consultancy right from the start

“In order to venture into exports to these countries, for many companies smooth logistics processes are among the prerequisites”, says Paweł Twardokes, Deputy COO Militzer & Münch Poland. “We advise our customers from step one, looking for the optimal logistic solution and implementing it.”

And there are a number of challenges that have to be mastered: customs clearance must run smoothly, and the driver shortage in the USA is not allowed to turn into a problem either – this is business as usual for Militzer and Münch Poland.

Road, sea, rail: pallets in 20-foot containers

Packed onto pallets, the innovative metal roofing tiles have been reliably and safely shipped since late 2017 to the USA via Norfolk in Virginia to their destination in Chicago. The shipments are exceptionally big: about 50 to 70 standard 20-foot containers per shipment. Militzer & Münch organizes the door-to-door transports via road and sea.

Delivery to the end destination in the US takes no more than 28 days from pick up. “Our customer is now thinking about exporting his goods to additional countries”, says Paweł Twardokes. “Canada, Australia and also, much nearer, UK are planned.”

Every Millimeter counts

Two days to send a complete packaging system from Schwäbisch Hall in South Germany to Dammam, Saudi Arabia – via airfreight, not really a big deal. And still, at the end of the day, every millimeter counted. 

Militzer & Münch wanted this to be a really impressive performance for this customer: Hamba-Gasti GmbH is a leading supplier of form, fill and seal machines specifically designed for the dairy and food industries. The company is part of the Italian IMA S.p.A.

The task: difficult, but not impossible. Heavy-lift, out-of-gauge cargo, a complete packaging system including accessories, around 17,000 kilogram weight – to be sent to its destination in Saudi Arabia at short notice.

Understandably huge was the surprise at the pick-up of the goods: the 17,000 kilogram cargo was stowed not in three, but instead in two, over-dimensioned, wooden crates. But packed like this, will the cargo even fit into the Boeing 747?

Time constraints did not allow any alternative. Thus, the Militzer & Münch team and the employees at Luxembourg Airport performed precision work to maneuver the boxes undamaged into the cargo hold of the airplane.

“It was a nerve-wracking situation, but in the end everything went smoothly”, says Felix Luz, Senior Sales Manager Militzer & Münch Karlsruhe. “With the fast delivery and our commitment we were able to really convince our customer – follow-up orders are in prospect.”

South Germany – an important location

  • The Militzer & Münch Sales Office Karlsruhe was taken into operation in December 2017
  • Like the Militzer & Münch teams in Munich, Stuttgart and Nurnberg, Militzer & Münch Karlsruhe, too, caters to the high demand for logistics in South Germany
  • Militzer & Münch Karlsruhe has already won orders for regular worldwide spare parts deliveries via airfreight
  • In August, the team handled another heavy lift goods transport, this time via sea to China

75 Tons from Bursa to Ploieşti

Barely 900 kilometers separate the Turkish city of Bursa from the destination, the city of Ploieşti in Romania. Not too long a distance, one might think, but the transport route leads through a total of three countries, two capitals, and across the Bosporus. The load: a 75-ton metal press. A task that Militzer & Münch Turkey mastered flawlessly.

We don’t get to see them very often, but they have long been an integral part of the industry: mechanical and hydraulic presses. With the help of high pressure, they cut, punch, bend, rivet, and shape almost any material. Preston Makina, a good customer of Militzer & Münch based in Bursa, manufactures exactly such machines and relies on Militzer & Münch for the transport.

This time, a metal press measuring 8.60 x 2.35 x 3.20 meters and weighing a total of 75 tons had to be transported from Bursa in Turkey to Ploieşti in Romania. A proverbial mammoth task, thoroughly planned by Militzer & Münch Turkey in collaboration with customer Preston Makina. First, the heavy cargo had to be lifted onto a low-bed trailer with the help of a crane. After the freight had been properly secured and wrapped, the special transport was ready to start: From the northwest of Turkey, it first went along the Sea of Marmara, across the Bosporus and through Istanbul. The convoy then passed through Bulgaria before crossing the Romanian capital Bucharest and reaching its destination just under 100 kilometers further on: Ploieşti in Romania. “The order was handled to the customer’s full satisfaction, and the team did a really good job,” reports Kostas Sandalcidis, member of the Management Board.

Road transports are Militzer & Münch’s specialty. But the Militzer & Münch Bursa branch office also has a sound knowledge of sea transports. Within the Turkish Militzer & Münch country unit, the branch office is considered the country’s No. 1, an impressive achievement for the six-member local team, which is already looking forward to the next cooperation with Preston Makina.

300 tons for the glass industry

Eleven trucks, ten of them oversized, on the road in two convoys, with special permits and escorts, three nights each, through five countries. A task mastered jointly by the Militzer & Münch teams in Romania and Germany. The concerted action served to transport a plant for industrial soda production –  anything but an everyday job.

Soda ash is an important ingredient in many products of everyday use. The largest consumer is the glass industry, which uses soda ash in the melting process. Soda ash is also used in the production of detergents and cleaning agents, of textiles, paper, food and many more products.

The Ciech Group, which operates eight factories in Poland, Germany and Romania, is the second largest soda ash producer in Europe. In late 2020, subsidiary Ciech Soda Germany commissioned the Militzer & Münch team in Berlin with a special transport: to move a so-called carbonation column from the Romanian Ciech plant in Ramnicu Valcea to its new place of use at the Staßfurt site in Germany.

Two convoys with special vehicles

“This was our first order for this customer; it was a recommendation from another industrial company,“ says Sven Sange, Sales/Transport Scheduling at M&M Berlin. He organized the transport of the 300-ton colossus together with Militzer & Münch Romania.

Daniel Din from the team in Romania inspected the plant on site, then prepared the loading scheme. Subsequently, he synchronized the entire process. Eleven trucks, ten of them oversized, were needed to transport the dismantled chemical plant from Romania via Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to eastern Germany. The door-to-door transport started in two convoys just before and after Christmas.

“The parts of the dismantled plant were loaded in three days,“ says Daniel Din. “Five trucks on the first day, three trucks on the second day, and three trucks again on day three, as the last six loads were more complicated and couldn’t be handled on one day.“

Special permits had to be obtained for the oversized vehicles. The trucks were only allowed to be on the road at night, and traveled in two convoys. Each convoy took three nights to cover the 1,600-kilometer distance. “This transport is a good example of the successful cooperation between Militzer & Münch Romania and Militzer & Münch Germany,” says Militzer & Münch Romania Managing Director Valentin Dragu. Sven Wolthusen, Branch Manager M&M Berlin, takes a similar view: “From the first call to Daniel Din to the delivery, everything went smoothly, and the customer was fully satisfied.“

For space travel, a nighttime operation

Strictly confidential: in August 2020, Militzer & Münch transported a component for a launch vehicle. The customer was a company from the private space sector. The logistics service provider transported the oversized cargo by truck and by sea from Germany to North America.

“The component was developed by one of the largest suppliers to the European Space Program,” says Marco Fischer, Operations Manager, Sea Freight & Project Logistics at Militzer & Münch. “It is intended for a launch vehicle that can be partially reused – which is not the case with conventional rockets. Thus, the component contains state-of-the-art technology that is strictly confidential.” To prevent industrial espionage, the Militzer & Münch team had to make sure the box was not opened and its contents were not photographed.

The transport of the valuable cargo started by truck in southern Germany. From a port in northern Germany, the cargo was shipped to the port of destination on the east coast of North America. There, a North American freight forwarding company took over the last leg of the transport to the end customer.

With detours to the destination

The biggest challenge was the dimensions of the component. The diameter of the cargo was over five meters and thus oversized. Such loads not only require numerous permits, in Germany, they can also only be transported at night. Plus, in the end, the route originally planned for the transport was unsuitable, as two construction sites caused the roadway to be only three to four meters wide in some areas. “We therefore had to accept a detour of several hundred kilometers,” says Marco Fischer.


Through Germany, escorted by the police

In order to ensure safety, police escort was mandatory along parts of the route. Several groups of police vehicles with specially trained and equipped police officers accompanied the truck to guarantee smooth transport to the port in northern Germany.

“From the North German port, we loaded the component onto a 20-foot flat rack container and secured it,” explains Marco Fischer. “Afterwards, the freight had to be transported to the seaport terminal by barge, i.e. on board a boat without its own drive, as the terminal is not accessible for trucks. Only then were we able to load the cargo onto a container ship.”


“The component contains state-of-the-art technology that is strictly confidential.”

Marco Fischer
Project Logistics Sea Freight at Militzer & Münch


Special test

Before transport, Militzer & Münch had a check carried out to determine how best to store and secure the oversized and valuable cargo – and whether it could be taken on board the selected container carrier at all. To this aim, the team contacted a so-called ‘Special Cargo Desk’ – loading experts such as former ship’s captains, who were presented with pictures of the cargo, technical drawings, and stowage plans. “Only when the Special Cargo Desk gives the okay, can the cargo be loaded,” says Marco Fischer.

The right timing

Police escort at night, unexpected obstacles, and complex regulations that have to be complied with – such factors must be taken into account and precisely coordinated before a transport of this kind can even start. “With projects like this, timing is key,” explains Marco Fischer. “And we are proud that our team, due to good cooperation and lots of experience, ensured that the cargo arrived safely at the North American East Coast.”

A factory at sea

Transporting an entire factory plant by sea from Belgium to India is an unusual project even for the experienced Militzer & Münch team in Germany. This is not least because many plant components are only dismantled shortly before transport, which leaves only a tight time slot to communicate the cargo’s dimensions and degree of soiling to the shipping company – and to determine whether the cargo is even allowed on board.

The demand for bentonite – a rock used in construction, as a food additive and in cosmetics, among other things – has risen sharply in India. A leading Indian supplier of the material has therefore decided to dismantle a factory – a so-called roller mill – in the Netherlands and rebuild it in India.

The project involves several steps: a freight forwarder brings the parts from the Netherlands to the port in Antwerp, Belgium. From there, Militzer & Münch takes over the transport by sea to the port of destination. The logistics service provider transports most of the plant components to Mundra, India. Several shipments are necessary to transport the entire factory. The project started in August 2020.

Short term solutions

„Under normal circumstances, transports of this kind are no big deal for us,“ says Marco Fischer, Operations Manager, Sea Freight & Project Logistics at Militzer & Münch. „However, many of the components are only dismantled shortly before they are carted off.“ This is why there are often spontaneous adjustments to the size and weight of the cargo – and suitable solutions have to be found quickly. The Militzer & Münch team therefore maintains close contact with the shipping company at all times in order to be able to communicate any changes as quickly as possible.

The parts are up to 4.2 meters wide and 3.8 meters high. This makes them ‘out-of-gauge’, i.e. they exceed the normal container dimensions. In order to use the capacities on board as efficiently as possible, containers are precisely matched to each other during loading. The weight of the containers also plays a decisive role in loading. Heavy containers are stored in the lower part of the container vessel to ensure stability. “Space on the ships is limited, and this type of cargo is usually not transported in standard containers,” explains Marco Fischer. “There’s a lot of information we only receive at very short notice. It is therefore no easy task to register the containers with the shipping company in good time and get them stowed on board.”

“The ship’s captain has the option of rejecting cargo if he thinks it is too dirty.”

Marco Fischer
Project Logistics Sea Freight at Militzer & Münch

A (not so) clean solution

Another challenge for the Militzer & Münch team: in some cases, the components of the plant are very dirty. Since the cargo is removed immediately after dismantling, there is no time to clean the factory parts. “The ship’s captain has the option of rejecting cargo if he thinks it is too dirty,” says Marco Fischer. “So far, none of our containers have been rejected, but if this should happen, we will find a solution for this as well.” Intensive communication with the shipping line and the customer, as well as the Militzer & Münch team’s in-depth know-how, have ensured that the first shipments have already been successfully handled to the customer’s full satisfaction.

In the starting blocks, headed south and east

Despite the corona crisis, the Swiss Militzer & Münch unit was able to achieve a number of successes. Among other things, the team signed a three-year contract with a major manufacturer of rolling stock. Militzer & Münch is in charge of transporting the manufacturer’s products to Poland.

In the past few months, Militzer & Münch Switzerland has strategically repositioned itself and defined additional business areas. As a result, order volume and sales have increased, which allowed the company to take on new employees and open a new location. The new office at Muttenz near Basel, operated by a staff of 16, offers sufficient space for further growth.

“The new business areas are the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, the Maghreb and the region of Central Eastern, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe,” says Nikolaus Kohler, Regional Managing Director Middle East / Central Asia, Business Development Switzerland, M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG. “Especially in the Maghreb and in Central Eastern, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, we have vastly increased our business volume. The decisive factor for this success: our team has a wealth of expertise, and each individual colleague assumes a great deal of responsibility. Moreover, the long-term partnerships we maintain with our sister companies in our target markets set us apart from the competition.”

These features convinced a big rolling stock manufacturer, who immediately commissioned the Militzer & Münch team in Switzerland with a transport project to Poland for a period of three years. The transport of the automotive parts started in May. “Further contracts have already been signed,” says Nikolaus Kohler. “We are to transport products for one of the leading Swiss retailers from this region. For another customer, we take care of the distribution of seeds and pesticides. Word has obviously got around in the shipping and loading industry in Switzerland that we are a specialist for customer-oriented solutions and niche markets – which makes the team and me very proud.”

A Happy encounter

He was at the right place at the right time: at a trade fair, an importer of Chinese laser cutting machines met Barbara Zablocka from Militzer & Münch – in the meantime, he has transported, with her help, already his 25th delivery to Poland.

The entrepreneur from the machine building industry was faced with a challenge two years ago: he wanted to import Chinese machinery to Poland, but had little experience in this field. When he participated in EXPO-SURFACE, the trade show for surface treatment systems, Barbara Zablocka, Business Development Manager, Militzer & Münch Poland, offered him a solution.

“The entrepreneur had already received an offer from another transport service provider”, says Barbara Zablocka. “It was cheaper than ours. But for the customer, the price was secondary. Due to the high value of the goods, it was important to him to get professional care.”

Intensifying Partnerships with China

Owing to the good cooperation with Militzer & Münch China and long years of experience on this trade lane, Barbara Zablocka and her team were able to provide comprehensive advice to the customer. In the end, they were awarded the contract.

“With transports from China, we cooperate closely with our local colleagues and with the German colleagues”, Barbara Zablocka says. “Our partners picked up the laser cutting machines in Qingdao, the East Chinese port.” From there, the team shipped the containers via sea freight to Gdynia on the Polish Baltic coast or – with destinations near the German-Polish border – to Hamburg. The last mile to the consignee, the machines are transported via truck.

“I am happy that the importer and I had the chance to talk at the trade show”, says Barbara Zablocka. “In the meantime, this has developed into very good cooperation. The customer is in good hands with us, and we are developing our existing partnerships on the China trade lane more and more intensively.” Until now, Barbara Zablocka and her team have already handled 25 imports from China for the customer, and they are planning more shipments.

Cell Phones in Flight Mode

Cell phones are regarded as dangerous goods – because of their batteries. This and more factors have to be taken into consideration when cell phones are transported via airfreight. No problem for Militzer & Münch: the Chinese Militzer & Münch unit handles time-sensitive transports to Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia for a leading cell phone manufacturer.

Since 2010, Militzer & Münch has been working with a leading cell phone manufacturer from China. “We transport cell phones and other telecommunication equipment from Shenzhen in China to Moscow and several other destinations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”, says Andreas Löwenstein, Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East, M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG. “The customer regularly calls for tenders – in 2018, we were awarded the two-year contract again. Under this contract, we have so far transported a total weight of 800 tons.”

A Tight Time Frame

Apart from the Russian capital, destinations are Minsk (Belarus), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), and Kyiv (Ukraine). But before the cell phones reach their destinations, the Militzer & Münch team has to master some challenges. “The customer only plans a very short turnaround time for every transport – from door to door, depending on the destination, between four and seven days”, says Andreas Löwenstein. “Our pledge to the customer is to adhere to this tight schedule.”

Another challenge is posed by the lithium batteries that are integrated in the cell phones. If lithium has contact with water for instance, this will trigger intense chemical reactions. The resulting heat build-up is so strong it might lead to fires and explosions.

Owing to these risks, lithium batteries are regarded as dangerous goods and may only be transported under strict conditions. Yet, even if prerequisites are met correctly, some airlines and airports don’t accept lithium batteries as freight. Militzer & Münch China handles a large part of the deliveries via Hong Kong Airport, where only a small number of flights offer the right conditions for these transports: one weekly connection to Moscow and two connections to Central Asia, via Istanbul and Baku.

Like Clockwork

“As this is a door-to-door contract, we do multi-modal transports”, says Andreas Löwenstein. “The goods are not only transported by air, but also by water, by rail and by road. The different phases of the transport must fit together like clockwork for the goods to arrive in time.”

The ten-year cooperation with the customer demonstrates that Militzer & Münch offers the right mix of knowhow, coordination and efficiency to meet even the highest customer demands.

For coffee lovers

Coffee is popular in Poland, and has become an export hit, too: After years of successful cooperation, one of the largest Polish coffee producers has opted for Militzer & Münch as his sole transport service provider.

For a long time, the producer had worked with different transport companies. Militzer & Münch, too, had won the company as a customer some years ago and delivered coffee all around the world. “With this project, our team is fully committed”, says Michał Styrylski, Manager of the Cracow branch, Militzer & Münch Poland. “And Pawel Twardokęs, our airfreight and sea freight director, keeps our customer posted on every process.” For each order, the team draws up customized schedules with flexible options to choose from.

Convinced in Every Respect

“Our customer soon realized that he can rely on us”, Michał Styrylski says. “From the first order on, we have always responded intensively to their needs.” After only a few months, the customer invited the Cracow team personally to gather information on additional Militzer & Münch services.

With responsibility, trust increased, too, and the team got more and more opportunities to handle transports. And one day, the producer awarded Militzer & Münch the contract for the biggest delivery so far: the team was to transport airfreight – a total weight of over 40 tons – from Poland to Japan, and mastered the challenge successfully.

“This convinced the coffee producer”, says Michał Styrylski. “At our next meeting, they informed us that they were going to work with us exclusively from now on. It confirms us in our daily commitment: of course, we get the goods to their destination in a fast and smooth way. But what counts is long-term commitment and good communication. We regularly ask our customers if there is anything we can do better, and thus, we both grow.”

The Militzer & Münch Poland team. From left: Szymon Marzyński (Operations), Marta Gęsiak (Operations) and Michał Styrylski (Branch Manager Cracow)

Freshly Polished

How do online retailers get the goods they sell? One of the largest international e-commerce corporations orders shoe polish, brushes and insoles from a popular Polish manufacturer – and Militzer & Münch was contracted to get the products across the Atlantic.

Three years ago, the Militzer & Münch Poland team was given the first chance to work for a big international online retailer via an American agent. “The agent asked us to deliver various shoe care products from a Polish manufacturer to the USA”, says Barbara Zablocka, Key Account Manager, Militzer & Münch Poland. “The time frame was tight, so we agreed to ship the pallets via airfreight to Indianapolis airport; they were then trucked to the customer’s warehouses in other US states.”

Barbara Zablocka and her colleagues did such a reliable job that the agent ordered further deliveries. Soon, he asked the team for additional services, and new conditions were negotiated. In the meantime, Militzer & Münch has begun transporting the goods via sea. Which means longer transit times, but lower costs.

“Working for such a large international corporation is a special challenge, but also an opportunity” says Barbara Zablocka. “We have to meet strict regulations and tight schedules. At the same time, we are developing our abilities and the Poland-USA trade lane enormously, which is to the benefit of our other customers, too.”

Express delivery for the aviation industry

In the aviation industry, spare parts supply is a key factor for efficiency. Militzer & Münch China has specialized in a highly critical segment of spare parts availability: “Aircraft on Ground” (AOG).“Aircraft on Ground” poses a complex challenge to logistics companies. In case of an AOG, an airplane is not able to fly for technical reasons. When a plane is grounded because spare parts are missing, this often leads to delays in the flight schedule, long waiting times for passengers, and enormous financial losses for the airlines.

A Closer Look at AOG

To be able to transport passengers and freight as fast as possible, many airlines bank on Militzer & Münch as their AOG service partner, for the Beijing-based eleven-person team is specialized in this business segment. “We have been active in the AOG sector for over 20 years already”, says Andreas Löwenstein, Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East, M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG. About three to five percent of the monthly transports are AOG shipments. Militzer & Münch ensures that the spare parts are available at the location of the aircraft in the shortest possible “total turnaround time”.

Acting fast

Before the parts reach their destination, Militzer & Münch has to clear several hurdles. One challenge is that emergencies cannot really be anticipated, which is why it is important for the aviation team to be available to customers 24/7. “We work in shifts; emails and calls are answered in time also after business hours. One of our employees has his/her cell phone with them at all times, including on holidays. Whether the AOG requirement is received from a Chinese customer or our partner abroad, our person on duty takes immediate action”, says Yue Sun, Head of Aviation Spare Parts, Militzer & Münch China.


“The colleagues know the main aircraft parts, and are experienced in handling oversized and dangerous goods shipments.”

Yue Sun
Militzer & Münch China


Cross-national cooperation

The Chinese Militzer & Münch unit is strongly positioned. To guarantee the smoothest possible procedures, the team handles AOG transports in cooperation with the Militzer & Münch Hamburg branch. Point of contact for the Chinese airline customers is the aviation spare parts department in Beijing, which communicates all deliveries to Militzer & Münch Hamburg. The cooperation with agents in the EU and Great Britain is also coordinated by members of the Beijing team.

For the express delivery of the spare parts, Militzer & Münch China takes several steps that connect seamlessly with each other: experts and specialized engineers have to be made available, the activities of all persons involved have to be synchronized, and the AOG order has to be fulfilled as fast as possible.


Militzer & Münch China – Strong in Airfreight

Militzer & Münch expanded overseas when for other enterprises, the idea of globalization was still in its infancy. Militzer & Münch took first steps towards the aviation industry already in the mid-1950s, and has been able to expand its network continuously since then. The first Militzer & Münch owned representation in Asia was founded in 1981, and Militzer & Münch China was one of the first foreign logistics companies to be awarded the Forwarding License Class A. Today, airfreight is the biggest business segment of Militzer & Münch China, accounting for about 60 percent of the turnover of the Chinese unit in the 2018 business year.

State-of-the-art IT solutions

So the necessary spare parts can be delivered to their destination, IT must allow fast and precise information exchange. “AOG does not only include operational issues but also strategic ones such as aligning the customer’s IT / data requirements with our systems”, Andreas Löwenstein explains.

What spare parts are needed can be as diverse as the incoming AOG orders, emphasizes Dirk Bukowski, Regional Manager North at Militzer & Münch Germany and responsible for the Hamburg Aviation Control Tower. “The parts we deliver range from a single pouch containing some special screws to complete cabin segments like toilets, engine parts, structural components, or parts of the interior fittings.”

Reliable transport

Especially trained Militzer & Münch employees supervise the entire cycle of each AOG order from beginning to end. “Every member on our aviation spare parts team is familiar with the requirements of all our customers and with the handling procedures in the EU countries. The colleagues know the main aircraft parts, and are experienced in handling oversized and dangerous goods shipments”, says Yue Sun.

The tasks are clearly defined for each team: Beijing monitors upcoming shipments and local stocks. If there is a customer request for parts from German suppliers, Beijing informs the Hamburg branch office with precise transport instructions. The Hamburg team then contacts the supplier; when the part is ready, pick up is organized and the part is delivered to the Hamburg AEROSPACE warehouse; including special pick up and emergency booking with the carrier. Tracking and tracing are available, too. The parts then go to China as per instruction. The Beijing colleagues receive the goods and do the customs clearance.

Militzer & Münch Expands Network in Africa

The Militzer & Münch team is analyzing and developing new trade lanes in Africa. Local agents are giving support. Two countries have been defined already for new activities.

For many years, Militzer & Münch has been active in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. In some emerging markets south of the Maghreb region, Militzer & Münch is seeing big potential, too, in view of economic growth. Recently, the Militzer & Münch Group began intensifying relations with these countries.

The decision which new markets are to be the field of activities for Militzer & Münch was preceded by an intensive study: Holger Seehusen, M&M Group Manager Air & Sea, and his colleague Stéphane Grèze, Managing Director, Militzer & Münch Tunisia, analyzed countries in view of suitable starting points for future transports.

Militzer & Münch already operates in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Among the new markets that are of interest to the Militzer & Münch Group are Ethiopia and Senegal.


New Trade Routes

Among these markets are Ethiopia and Senegal. Both countries provide an infrastructure that Militzer & Münch can optimally build on. Moreover, the Militzer & Münch team already has good contacts to local partners. Situated in the east of Africa, Ethiopia ideally complements the traffics from and to Asia, and with activities in Senegal, Militzer & Münch would expand the existing Maghreb traffics towards the south west and Ivory Coast.

“We are currently developing a network of reliable agents in Ethiopia and Senegal”, says Holger Seehusen. “We are strengthening our local relationships and make use of the local knowhow, which is specifically important in rough terrain such as Ethiopia. That way, we ensure smooth transports. We are confident we will soon be able to offer our customers comprehensive air and sea transports along these trade lanes.”


Senegambia Bridge Opens New Route

In 2019, the government of The Gambia in West Africa completed an important trade route with the construction of Senegambia Bridge. The bridge over the Gambia River, almost two kilometers in length, connects the northern and the southern part of the country that is surrounded by Senegal.  That way, trucks can now use the so-called Trans-Gambia-Highway (in Senegal: la Transgambienne) in its entire length. The newly created transport route benefits local economy as well as international trade relations.

Works of Art – On the Road

1,000 works of art from 100 countries – NordArt, an exhibition held at Büdelsdorf near Rendsburg, is regarded one of Europe’s biggest annual displays of contemporary art. This summer, Mongolia is represented with its own art pavilion. Militzer & Münch transported the exhibits from the capital of Mongolia to Büdelsdorf in Schleswig-Holstein.

Art is known to transcend borders. At Militzer & Münch, this is what happens literally. The company transported over 50 exhibits from Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, to Büdelsdorf. It took the 40-ton truck 16 days to cover the 9,000 kilometers via Russia to the NordArt exhibition area. A long trip for the delicate exhibits. A logistical challenge: the different sizes and materials of the works of art. The collection comprises traditional portrait paintings but also installations, such as from tree branches and cable binders. Militzer & Münch is experienced in handling sensitive exhibits: several times already, the company has delivered works of art to NordArt.

Diplomatic Status for Installations

The Mongolian Embassy in Berlin, the Mongolian Ministry of Trade and the German Foreign Office supported the transport. Thus, it was possible to ship the exhibits as diplomatic cargo, which simplified border formalities. Only once did the voyage come to a halt: at the Belarusian border, the truck was stuck in a long queue for four days because of the Easter holidays. Despite a slight delay, Militzer & Münch was still able to meet the schedule. After 16 days, the works of art created by 23 artists reached Büdelsdorf as planned. Which proves that art can, in fact, transcend borders.

NordArt runs through October 13 at Büdelsdorf.

Regular Maghreb Traffics

The Turkish Militzer & Münch organization now offers regular traffics to customers with exports to the Maghreb. Every Friday and Saturday, the team transports textile products and shipments for other industry sectors to Morocco and Tunisia. The freight is consolidated in Istanbul, but the goods come from all over Turkey.

“So far, we are transporting mainly textile products to the Maghreb countries, i.e. fabrics, sewing threads, zippers and buttons”, says Alex Sandalcidis, Deputy Managing Director of Militzer & Münch Turkey. “It’s one of Turkey’s major export industries. But on this trade route, we also offer transports for all other industries, for example for the automotive sector.”

Exports From All Over Turkey

“Many orders are destined for Morocco and Tunisia, and we are increasingly shipping to Oran in Algeria,” says Alex Sandalcidis. “The goods are picked up at numerous Turkish points of origin and transported to Istanbul. At our new logistics facility, we prepare them for export. Every Friday and Saturday, we truck the consolidated freight to Vitrolles or Lyon, our French trans-shipment stations for Maghreb traffics.”

On these transports, Alex Sandalcidis and his team cooperate closely with the colleagues from Militzer & Münch in France, Morocco and Tunisia. “In most cases, the goods are not pre-sorted according to destination – the colleagues from Militzer & Münch France do the sorting”, says Alex Sandalcidis. “Then begins the last leg of the transport. We deliver shipments destined for Morocco via Algeciras, Spain, to the colleagues in Tangiers and Casablanca; they then deliver them to their final destinations in Rabat, Meknes, Fes and other Moroccan cities.”

Via RoRo to Tunisia

Tunisia-bound shipments reach the ports of Radès and Sousse via RoRo (cf. info box). “From there, we transport them door-to-door to their destinations”, Alex Sandalcidis says. “Customs clearance is done by the consignees.” The transports usually only take ten days. On their return trip, the trucks deliver goods to France.

RoRo in a Nutshell

RoRo is short for the English logistics term roll on – roll off, where the loaded trucks / trailers and railway cars roll on board the vessel. This transport option is relatively fast and flexible. Moreover, it goes easy on the freight as there is no trans-loading at the port.

Classic RoRo vessels are specifically designed as ferries for rolling goods. Their loading decks comprise the entire length of the vessel; for loading and unloading, trucks or train cars can be driven directly on or off board via the bow, side and stern portholes. So-called ConRo vessels transport not only trucks and train wagons, but also containers.

Sweets for Uzbekistan

Yulduz Babajanova, Head of Project Management, Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan, ensured the smooth transport.

Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan has handled a first big project for Crafers, a sweets manufacturer. The order comprised 56 full truck loads (FTL) – machinery from Europe worth about USD ten million. For the export, the Uzbekistan team cooperated with partners in Lithuania.

“The transports included, among others, measuring instruments and candy molds”, says Yulduz Babajanova, Head of Projects at Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan. “We also transported out-of-gauge shipments for the production of sweets, such as conveyors or big-dimensioned cooking and tempering stations.”

The team collected the parts in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands; the freight was then exported from EU in cooperation with Lithuanian partners. “We managed to reduce the number of trucks – with optimal loading and stacking – from initially 60 to 56”, says Yulduz Babajanova. In Lithuania, Militzer & Münch handled the customs management for all shippers.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage and Coordination

“We optimally insured and coordinated the transport of the fragile equipment”, says Yulduz Babajanova. “But even so, I was in regular contact until late at night with our customer and the shipper of the goods. During the 16-day transit time, I controlled every trans-shipment process. My colleague Mirodil Khamzaev from the projects department supported me in coordinating the drivers; he was also in charge of everything connected with the insurance. Thus, everything went smoothly – the production of candies can begin.”

This year, Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan is also handling other projects for the AKFA Group, which Crafers is part of, such as for the International Business Center Tashkent.

Raring To Go For E-Commerce

Shenzhen in China – once a fishing village, today one of the main trading hubs worldwide for the electronics and telecommunications industries. From here, Militzer & Münch China starts its regular exports to Great Britain for an international online retailer – customs clearance included. The demand for transports for the online market keeps growing and offers Militzer & Münch the possibility to tap additional markets.

With its status as Special Economic Zone, Shenzhen is regarded as an important location for foreign investments; the city is one of the world’s fastest growing metropoles. The economy in the region is booming; there is demand from European countries especially for consumer electronics products such as power banks, chargers, USB cables, loudspeakers and keyboards. The Militzer & Münch customers profit from this demand, too.

In May 2017, Militzer & Münch began cooperating with the international online retailer. “This is a perfect order for us and the big opportunity to further develop our expertise in the e-commerce sector”, says Glenn Bai, Managing Director Militzer & Münch China. “We have expanded our services for this customer step by step. Now, we deliver products to Great Britain every week.”

The services comprise:

• Picking up goods for different shippers

• Order picking and packing at customs warehouse in Shenzhen

• Consolidating goods as FCL

• Sea transport from Shenzhen/Hong Kong to Great Britain

• Import customs clearance/customs clearance and taxes

• Order picking and packaging

• Labeling and kitting

• Returns management

• Delivery to the customer’s warehouse in Great Britain via FTL / LTL / courier service

New Challenges and Solutions

From China to Great Britain the goods go by vessel, with overland transport to the customer’s warehouse by truck. But the transport comes with some challenges. “There are usually over 30 sets of customs declarations per container”, says Glenn Bai. “To check the customs declarations of e-commerce business, the British customs authority has implemented stricter regulations, which often leads to delays.” Moreover, there are congestions again and again at the port of Felixstowe, Great Britain’s largest container port, and transit times become longer. “In view of the Brexit, the situation may deteriorate even further”, Glenn Bai says. “It is all the more essential for us to do a perfect job especially when it comes to customs declarations, and to provide optimal advice to our customers.”

At this time, Glenn Bai and his team are focusing on optimizing their logistics solutions for the e-commerce business. “In the long term, we will also offer rail and air freight solutions for online trade”, says Glenn Bai. “Beside the China – Great Britain trade lane, we are also concentrating on transports to Central Asia and Russia. We look forward to handling more e-commerce projects in the future.”