Buddha statue puts Emirates in air cargo nirvana

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Emirates SkyCargo has transported a 2,000 year old statue of Buddha to Switzerland and back for an exhibition at Zurich’s Museum Rietberg.

The 1.7 tonne, two metre tall statue from the Peshawar Museum in Pakistan was transported from its home to Zurich and back by Emirates SkyCargo.

The Gandhara Buddha was on loan for the exhibition “Next Stop Nirvana – Approaches to Buddhism, and it was the first time that the statue had travelled outside Pakistan.

Special cargo had to be taken during the packing and installation process, as well as by Emirates SkyCargo during the transportation to ensure that it was not damaged.

It was transported in the bellyhold of a widebody passenger aircraft using the Emirates Valuable product, but Emirates still had to do some thinking outside the box.

Julius Mooney, commercial development manager – speciality products for Emirates SkyCargo says the standard procedure is to transport precious cargo in secure metal door containers, but the size of the statue meant this was not an option.

He says: “In the end we came up with the simple solution of affixing an Emirates tamper proof tape on the outer packaging of the wooden crate to make sure that we would not have any tampering of the shipment.”

Emirates SkyCargo worked with Emirates Group Security and Transguard to ensure seamless security screening, handling and clearance for the statue.

During its transit at Dubai International Airport, the statue was quickly transferred on the ramp to the connecting aircraft.

With detailed planning and coordination with Emirates Network Control, Emirates SkyCargo ensured that the arriving and departing aircraft were parked in close proximity to avoid long transit delays.

The shipment was monitored continuously by Emirates SkyCargo’s 24/7 Cargo Operations Command Centre to pre-empt and avoid any potential obstacles.

Emirates SkyCargo executed the first leg of the movement from Peshawar to Zurich in December 2018 and completed the return leg from Zurich in early April 2019.

Jassim Saif, vice president cargo commercial – West Asia and South East Asia at Emirates says: “Audiences in Switzerland had an opportunity to become familiar with an important part of Pakistan’s ancient heritage and Emirates SkyCargo had a part in creating this link between the two countries.”