Colossal undertaking as Bradford firm charters two 747s to fly steel to General Motors

A BRADFORD-based logistics firm has taken to the skies by arranging delivery of its “biggest ever shipment of air freight”. Zenith International Freight Ltd at Canal Road recently chartered two entire 747 aircraft for delivery of steel bars to General Motors in Canada on behalf of a client in the UK. Rob Jacobs, IT manager for Zenith International Freight Ltd, said the huge shipment of steel bars – 200 tonnes worth – is a huge undertaking for freight aircraft, as shipments are based on weight and heavy loads are more often shipped by sea at a lower cost.

“This is without a doubt the biggest shipment of air freight that we’ve ever done,” Mr Jacobs said of the company which has been operating for 21 years. “We’ve not got one but two 747s, which is unprecedented for a business our size. He said one of the 747s was a former passenger aeroplane which has been re-fitted as a freight aircraft.

The other one was already designed to carry freight. “It was a huge undertaking for our chartering division,” said Mr Jacobs. “It’s not something that happens every day.” He said the business quite often does shipments of pallets, which are smaller and do not require specialist shipment methods.

Zenith International Freight Ltd employs 33 staff, but this number has increased recently despite the company having to work so hard to find space for freight on aircrafts. “It’s been very difficult, especially in this climate,” said Mr Jacobs. “Our industry was quite hard hit by Covid-19 over the last year. “There was less cargo leaving and coming into the UK.

“You wouldn’t how difficult it has been in the last year,” he said. “Space on freight aircraft has been hard to find. “Flights are still there but they’re operating at about a tenth of their capacity. “Despite that, our turnover has been increasing on a year by year basis.

“We’ve gone from strength to strength.” Zenith International Freight Ltd’s mission statement on the company’s website says it all. It reads “Our aim is to become an integral part of our clients’ supply chain, managing their products and logistics requirements and ensure that those products reach their destination by applying the optimum freight solution.

“Zenith International Freight was founded as an international freight and logistics business in 2000. “Since then we have extended our services and our expertise, achieving significant, sustained growth and a reputation for cost-efficient logistics. “As we have grown, our values have stayed consistent.

“We maintain the same attention to detail, personal and responsive services, great value and clever and simple answers to our clients’ many complex demands.”