When a Danish company spends 37 billion Danish crowns for a Swiss company, it could be big news only in northern Europe. But the fact that the Danish firm — DSV — purchased Swiss-based Panalpina to create the world’s fourth largest freight-forwarding company echoes back all the way to Huntsville.
DHL Logistics, Kuehne & Nagel and DB Schenker are the only freight-forwarders larger than the new DSV Panalpina A/S.
Panalpina has been a key player in the Port of Huntsville’s role as a key cargo port since 1990. Back then, the Luxembourg to Huntsville service was Panalpina’s first Europe-to-US schedule cargo-only route.
Panalpina “believed that flying non-stop, round-trip service on almost a daily basis would guarantee capacity and control and thus enable them to be very responsive to customers’ different requirements,” the Port of Huntsville wrote recently, adding, “And it worked.”
By this year, service had expanded to include weekly international non-stop to Europe, Mexico, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
DSV Panalpina A/S plans to continue these operations at Huntsville.
The Port of Huntsville decided to pursue air cargo operations in the 1980s, building a main-deck loader to attract 747 cargo craft. Panalpina, looking for “a non-traditional gateway,” responded.
Today, Huntsville International Airport owns three air cargo buildings with 300,000 square feet of warehouse and office space and 2.1 million square feet of ramp area. The port opened an 18,750-square-foot perishables facilities in 2018, for a total of 35,000 square feet of cold storage space. The airport has invested $212 million in cargo with plans for a additional $52 million investment.
HSV has a 10,000-foot runway and a 12,600-foot runway, that latter among the longest in the Southeast. The runways are 5,000 feet apart, allowing HSV to be uncongested even during instrument landing conditions.
In addition, HSV has U.S. Customs facilities on site.
DSV owns another 100,000-square-foot warehouse at HSV, less than 100 feet from its tarmac docking space, for ease of unloading. A Boeing 747-8F can be unloaded, loaded and dispatched in two and a half hours, the port reports.
By the way, 37 billion Danish crowns equals about U.S. $5.5 billion.