Express Air Freight in Times of Corona



With constantly changing flight schedules and passenger flights coming to a near standstill, time:matters, the expert for Special Speed Logistics is experiencing a challenging phase. To best master the business hurdles resulting from COVID-19, the company is continuously developing its flexible and customized global transport solutions. Just one example of many: To secure the transport of stem cells, the company convinced airline pilots to assume the role of couriers and to deliver these life-saving shipments to blood cancer patients all over the world.

Other tailored solutions helping to overcome the coronavirus blockades are mentioned below in this guest article contributed by Alexander Kohnen, CEO of time:matters GmbH.

Alexander Kohnen heads time:matters since November 2017 - photos: credit time:matters

The coronavirus imposes immense challenges on the global logistics world as can be seen by the numerous airlines that have drastically reduced or completely suspended passenger flights. All-cargo aircraft, too, are subject to dynamic developments such as entry stops and operational restrictions in several countries. Flight schedules are constantly changing, and we need to react to these developments in real time. COVID-19 has paralyzed the international economy and a large part of our core business has been lost. We have had to explore new fields of activity.


Spotting suitable air capacity is like finding a needle in a haystack
However, we can rely on our core strengths in this challenging environment: as an expert for Special Speed Logistics, time:matters offers its customers flexible transport solutions that are customized to their specific needs. The requests we receive are very diverse and come from many governments as well as public authorities, medical institutions, and companies in various industries and countries. Given our access to every available airline and our global network of more than 500 partners, we can still find transport solutions in spite of COVID-19. We can also handle the entire door-to-door process upon request, which includes pick-up, customs clearance and delivery.

Pilots becoming couriers
However, in demanding days like these, we need to be even more flexible and creative in order to find working solutions. Our stem cell process is one good example of this. Life-saving transplants are usually accompanied and carefully guarded at all stages of transport by an individually selected courier. Due to significant entry restrictions and quarantine regulations in many countries, plus the lack of passenger flights, we have had to find an alternative approach.
Our solution: We successfully approached airline pilots to assume the role of couriers in delivering urgently needed stem cells to blood cancer patients all over the world. This has worked out extremely well. The box containing the precious cargo is stowed in the cockpit and transported to the destination airport, where a local courier is already waiting to take the sensitive shipment to the respective hospital.

Pilots acting as couriers, pictured while handing over life-saving stem cells

Charter solutions
China is another good example of the changing dynamics in the market. Just a few weeks ago, there was a major lockdown in China. Breathing masks and protective suits had to be transported to Asia as quickly as possible. Now conditions there have changed completely. China's economy is ramping up again and demand for transports out of China is rising.
Thanks to our subsidiary time:matters International Freight Forwarding Ltd., founded in Shanghai last year, we can support our customers with a local team on site. Air freight capacities from China are scarce due to high demand and the lack of passenger flights, so we are using chartered passenger aircraft. For example, we recently transported 14 million urgently needed protective masks from China to Austria for the Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz (Austrian Red Cross).
We also organized a similar transport for a large German clinic within a very short time, with 1.6 tons of technical medical equipment being delivered to a hospital in Madrid, Spain. In order to ensure that the shipment would fit into the chartered aircraft, we repacked it into 71 of our own Sameday Air bags. Thanks to the efforts of numerous colleagues and our direct apron access at the time:matters Courier Terminal at Frankfurt Airport, the goods were loaded onto the plane in time.

New Task Force
In general, the current situation presents us with special challenges. That is why we set up a Corona Task Force several weeks ago already to monitor developments in real time. The latest changes, restrictions and alternative solutions are passed on directly to all relevant colleagues and we are also providing our customers with updates via our newsletter.


Direct apron access at the time:matters Courier Terminal at Frankfurt Airport

Great team spirit
I am very proud of our employees and their complete commitment to maintaining global supply chains all over the world. Thanks to the digitalization of our core business and our modern IT infrastructure, most of our employees are able to work from home.
As a company, we are doing everything possible to support our employees and provide them with the necessary hardware, such as monitors and desks. Even in these COVID-19 times, we can thus guarantee operational efficiency for our worldwide customers and ensure that their urgent shipments reach their destination reliably and as fast as possible.



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