Volga-Dnepr continues to deliver

Since the 1990’s, Volga-Dnepr is a name that has been synonymous with oversized and super heavy cargo transportation. The group’s core business, made up of three Russian all-cargo carriers, has greatly expanded over the years, including the number of solutions and destinations in their portfolio

With over two decades worth of experience in successfully handling outsized cargo and heavy transportation technologies, it is no surprise that Volga-Dnepr has built up a reputation as a trusted name in the air freight industry.


The strong partnerships within the group, coupled with the unique “cargo supermarket strategy and door-to-door’ deliveries,” are but a few of the key strategies’ the group has adopted in the development of their individual and complex solutions in aviation logistics.


To complete the entire lifecycle, the group established Engineering and Logistics Centres (ELC), where a project management approach is applied to provide fully integrated end-to-end solutions for customers, completing the concept of the Cargo Supermarket. Combining services such as multimodal schemes and ground support, ELC activities are coordinated from three main Volga-Dnepr offices that operate on a 24/7/365 basis.



Unique heavy transporters

Volga-Dnepr airlines, using AN-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD heavy transporters, more than live up to the reputation of being a leading outsized cargo specialist. Apart from the wealth of knowledge they are able to share, the team at Volga-Dnepr is known to be able to quickly provide complete solutions to their customers complex transportation needs.


The airline caters to a multitude of industries and through the groups ‘Cargo Supermarket’ service is able to guarantee customers cost effective solutions from door to door.  A recent example being when the airline undertook a project with Siemens, delivering a 57-tonne generator to Kuwait, all the way from Germany. This saw the arrangement of security screening at Cologne Airport, a crane to both load and unload the rotor, export documents, and transfer to the warehouse holding are at the airport in Kuwait.


Steve Downing, head of Logistics UK at Volga-Dnepr, said: “We have carried shipments for Siemens regularly over many years but there is no doubt that the development of our engineering and logistics services for very heavy, outsize and complex cargoes has reinforced our relationship because it has extended our capability to a total delivery solution when required.”



Strength in numbers

The ability to combine charter operations and scheduled freight services, with end-to-end logistics solutions is another unique selling point of Volga-Dnepr. Having strong partnerships within the group allows for such services to be easily provided. Using a combination of a Boeing 747 and IL-76TD, Volga-Dnepr airlines and AirBridgeCargo (ABC) were able to complete an urgent delivery of a 12,660kg gas turbine to a power station in Yangon, Myanmar.


Speaking after the successful completion of the project, Quentin Bond, charter sales representative of Volga-Dnepr in the APAC region, said: “Although speed was the main priority for this transportation, our solution also provided the customer with a significant cost saving over some of the other options they were considering. Our ability to combine AirBridgeCargo’s scheduled network with the requirements of our charter customers means we can always look at ways to make deliveries highly cost efficient. Having our own team in Hanoi to complete the necessary planning, source the required handling equipment, and to liaise with the airport authorities, meant the whole operation was seamless for our customer.”


Another key factor that the group has sited often, enabling them to better cater to individual client needs, is having local experts located in regional offices around the globe.  Commenting after the airline moved 197 tonnes of automotive cargo for Nippon Express, Hiro Tsukada – Volga-Dnepr’s representative in Japan said, “Having local experts in the same time zone as our customers makes our cooperation even easier and in this instance meant we could reduce the required planning time and meet the short delivery deadline.”




Among the copious industries that the group caters to is the pharmaceutical industry.

Along with overall market growth, the air cargo industry is benefitting from an influx of pharma product demands. In 2016, ABC became the first airline in Russia and seventh in the world to achieve IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) certification. This resulted in a 70% increase during 2017 of pharmaceutical shipments.


Along with other actions to support this growth, ABC joined Pharma Gateway Amsterdam (PGA) – a community started in March 2016 to provide transparency and quality within the pharma air cargo supply chain. PGA members benefit from regular knowledge sharing sessions organised by Schiphol Cargo to facilitate cooperation between the different players in the cool chain.


“AirBridgeCargo Airlines is proud to be the second airline to join PGA, Schiphol Cargo Community’s quality pharma initiative,” said Henk-Jan van Keulen, ABC’s Country Manager in the Netherlands. “We see high potential for Schiphol to become one of our main airports for pharma flows, so an initiative like PGA is of great value to us and our customers. Within PGA, the Schiphol Cargo Community is mutually developing the required logistic chain in order to provide pharma shippers and consignees with the best possible product.”


ABC reported a 17% increase in volume during the first quarter of this year to 158,000 tonnes. An increasing demand for exports in Europe saw a rise in tonnage from the region by 22% in the first quarter for ABC, with growth on all of its routes including to Asia – which recorded a 24% increase in tonnage.


With the strong overall growth of air cargo, an ever growing destination network and unparalleled success in unique solutions Volga-Dnepr continues to record steady growth patterns in 2017.