Airbus flying high in Mobile

DB Schenker develops streamlined logistics and transportation system for final assembly plant

Airbus flying high in Mobile

DB Schenker develops streamlined logistics and transportation system for final assembly plant

Airbus flying high in Mobile

DB Schenker develops streamlined logistics and transportation system for final assembly plant

 
   It’s been three years since Airbus opened a final assembly plant for its A320 family of aircraft in Mobile, Ala., and the company’s supply chain operation now is riding high.
   The Toulouse, France-based aerospace manufacturer selected the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley for the $600 million, 53-acre manufacturing facility in 2012, with construction beginning the following year. Airbus said it chose Mobile because it has a port, the company already had a presence in the city with its engineering and military support centers, and the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley — a large, underutilized former military base — had existing aviation infrastructure.
   Employees at the Airbus Engineering Center in Mobile are responsible for various interior elements of the company’s widebody A330, A350 XWB and A380 jetliners. Airbus DS Military Aircraft Inc. in Mobile provides customer support for C212 and CN235 operators worldwide.
   When Airbus’ final assembly plant in Mobile opened in September 2015, Germany’s DHL Global Forwarding, a division of Deutsche Post DHL, was the initial logistics provider.
   Airbus marked the official handover of its first A320 family aircraft produced at the plant in April 2016. The aircraft was delivered to U.S.-based JetBlue, with various airlines taking delivery of aircraft from the facility since then, including American Airlines, Delta, Allegiant, Spirit and Hawaiian Airlines.

   The A320 is essentially one aircraft in four sizes — the A318, A319, A320 and A321. The site in Mobile was designed to assemble the A320 with aircraft components originating in Hamburg, Germany. The A320 family has seating for between 100 and 240 passengers and is the longest-range, single-aisle aircraft, according to Airbus.
   Initially, Airbus and its logistics provider brought the aircraft components into the container terminal at the Port of Mobile, with only a single set coming in per ocean voyage, a port spokesperson told American Shipper.
   The cargo then was loaded onto flatbed trucks and driven to the final assembly plant about four miles away.
   However, as the facility grew, Airbus turned to DB Schenker, the freight forwarding and logistics subsidiary of German rail conglomerate Deutsche Bahn AG, to develop a streamlined logistics and transportation system for the assembly plant, DB Schenker said.
   Since May, a roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessel has been bringing in four sets of aircraft components per voyage on a monthly basis to Pier 8 at the Port of Mobile. The ships come from Hamburg, but the components are collected in aggregate at the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port in France, the Port of Mobile spokesperson said.

   The aircraft components then go from Pier 8 to Arlington Dock by barge, for which DB Schenker is responsible, Tanguy Largeau, the company’s head of the aerospace vertical market in the Americas, told American Shipper. DB Schenker also is responsible for the ensuing road moves from Arlington Dock to the interim storage facility and then to Airbus’ final assembly plant.
   Largeau said this new method is beneficial because the ro-ro vessel offers greater capacity and a barge provides a cheaper and faster alternative.
   Working with local contractors, DB Schenker refurbished a pier at the production plant and built an airplane hangar, both of which are enabling just-in-time delivery of the airplane parts, the third-party logistics provider said.
   When the components for four complete airplanes arrive on site each month, three of them can be stored in the hangar, while one airplane is immediately put into the final assembly process.
   “The Pier 8 ro-ro option had long been a concept and nearly turnkey option for Airbus since the days the company was competing for the U.S. air tanker contract,” the Port of Mobile spokesperson said. “We updated the fenders at the berth in advance of the service beginning, but aside from that, it was turnkey.”

   Airbus has its own fleet of vessels, but they are all completely booked on existing legs until the end of 2020, which is why it will charter vessels during this period for its shipments of aircraft components to Mobile, an Airbus spokesperson told American Shipper.
   The Stena Forecaster will be used to make the voyage through the end of the year. From January 2019 through the end of 2020, it’s anticipated the Spirit of Montoir or her sister ship will be used.
   In addition to boosting supply chain productivity for the final assembly of the A320 family of aircraft in Mobile, Airbus on July 1 acquired a majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP). The Mirabel, Quebec-based partnership was established between Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ). Airbus now owns a 50.01 percent stake in CSALP, while Bombardier and IQ own a stake of approximately 34 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
   CSALP manufactures and sells Bombardier’s single-aisle, 100- to 150-passenger C Series jets. The C Series includes the CS100 and CS300, which have been renamed the A220-100 and A220-300, respectively, according to Airbus.
   “With a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier cemented in mid-2018, Mobile is also where the A220 family aircraft destined for U.S. markets will be manufactured upon completion of a new final assembly line,” Airbus said.

   The partnership’s head office, leadership team and primary final assembly line will be based in Mirabel.
   Deliveries for the A220 family from Mobile are expected to begin in 2020, the Airbus spokesperson said. However, the routing of the components for the A220 family to Mobile is still under discussion.
   JetBlue said it has already placed an order for 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with the option for 60 additional aircraft beginning in 2025, to be delivered from the Mobile facility starting in 2020.

It’s important to understand that CBP’s role is not the policy maker. We’re the tip of the spear in terms of enforcement for exports.

The Port of Oakland in May handled 85,964 TEUs of loaded imports and 78,070 TEUs of loaded exports, up 4.2% and 8.4% year-over-year, respectively.

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Airbus flying high in Mobile

DB Schenker develops streamlined logistics and transportation system for final assembly plant

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