German logistics powerhouse DB Schenker has initiated its first trans-Atlantic air charter to Latin America with a Boeing 767 freighter operated by Latam Cargo, which last week added another aircraft to its fleet to expand service to Europe.
The logistics arm of German national rail carrier Deutsche Bahn has an intercontinental air network enabled by leased freighters operating between Asia, Europe and North America. Schenker essentially functions as a quasi-airline, contracting with all-cargo operators to fly the aircraft but marketing the capacity and determining routes and schedules. The in-house fleet, until now, has consisted of Boeing 747 and 777 freighters now provided by Atlas Air, Cargolux, and Magma Aviation.
The new weekly service connects Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, with stopovers in New York City and Miami. DB Schenker didn’t identify the underlying carrier, but a Latam spokesperson confirmed the Chile-based company is providing the airlift.
“The new charter flight program between Europe and South America is planned for mid- to long term, as this fits best to our ever-expanding Global Flight Network. It is not a seasonal solution. While we do not have any specific plan at this stage, we could even think of increasing the frequency, depending on market development,” a DB Schenker spokesperson said in a statement to FreightWaves.
Air cargo volumes in Latin America have grown while other regions are in a downturn compared to last year, according to data from the International Air Transport Association.
DB Schenker said strong demand motivated the company to set up a dedicated air link between Europe and South America. Initial bookings include a range of goods, such as automotive parts.
Logistics companies in the past 18 months have increased use of long-term charters to guarantee reliable service and capacity to cargo owners in response to passenger airlines not flying at full strength and canceling flights because of airport congestion and labor shortfalls.
Latam offers shippers direct connections from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile.
Latam Airlines, the largest passenger airline in Latin America, is a significant cargo airline as well. Last week, it announced the addition of another Boeing 767 converted freighter, part of a major expansion that involves sending 10 older 767s from the passenger fleet to Boeing for conversion to pure cargo jets capable of carrying heavy containers on the main deck.
Latam Cargo now has 15 767 freighters and expects to receive a factory-built 767 from Boeing in September.
The airline is deploying the new capacity in the Europe-South America trade corridor. The DB Schenker service is part of the company’s plan to significantly increase service between the continents, with transshipment to other destinations from its Miami hub, during the second half of the year.
The new Amsterdam-Sao Paulo frequency last month was one of three new European services Latam promoted last month, but it was not previously identified as a DB Schenker white-label brand.
Latam Cargo in May began a weekly charter service for DSV, another major European-based logistics provider, from Huntsville, Alabama, to Sao Paulo.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned National Airlines as a DB Schenker carrier. National no longer flies for DB Schenker.)