DB Schenker teams up with Delta Air Lines to support U.S. troops and military operations overseas.
By Pew Research Center’s latest estimate, roughly 15% of the total 1.3 million U.S. troops are currently deployed overseas, with the largest active-duty military presences currently in Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan. In total, nearly 200,000 troops are stationed overseas, with 60,000 to 80,000 U.S. troops serving in the Middle East (including 14,000 in Afghanistan); 5,000 in Iraq; 2,000 in Syria; 10,000 in Kuwait; 10,000 in Qatar and “thousands more at sea and elsewhere in the region,” ABC News reports.
In times of both peace and war, these troops need equipment, parts, vehicles, consumables, and a wide variety of other goods to both work and live. As the agency that manages the global military supply chain, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) sources and ships goods for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, 10 combatant commands, other federal agencies, and both partner and allied nations. It also supplies 86 percent of the military’s spare parts and nearly 100 percent of fuel and troop support consumables.
Moving those goods around the globe is no easy feat. It requires a coordinated logistics process that starts at many different points of origin and doesn’t end until U.S. warfighters get the equipment, parts, and other items that they need.
“Logistics touches every aspect of military strength and is the sum of the capabilities brought to bear by all of the U.S. military services and those of a wide array of international partners,” The Heritage Foundation points out. “The core functions within logistics are supply, maintenance, deployment and distribution, health services, logistic services, engineering, and operational contract support (OCS).”
Worldwide Door-to-Door Service
Having recently been awarded a Global Heavyweight Service (GHS) contract, DB Schenker and Delta Air Lines are working together to provide the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and other agencies with all of these logistics services (and more).
Key services that DB Schenker provides include time-definite worldwide airfreight; door-to-door services; oversized cargo and vehicles; charter services; and dangerous goods handling. The leading logistics provider also manages MDF/SOFA customs brokerage; classified and non-classified International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) shipments; warehousing and distribution; and invoicing.
The result of a long-standing collaboration between the two companies, the GHS award finds DB Schenker serving as the nominated handling agent. Together, the organizations bid on and win U.S. government contracts with the DoD and other agencies.
“We have extensive experience handling these worldwide door-to-door GHS contracts,” said Jeff Valus, DB Schenker Global Account Manager. “
With a dedicated aerospace and defense team that manages GHS contracts in conjunction with Delta Air Lines, DB Schenker is fulfilling one of the limited number of slots available with prime contractors and major airlines. “We’re managing the logistics for transportation to and from anywhere in the world,” said Valus.
In most cases, that requires the pick-up and delivery of critical parts and equipment from U.S. military and NATO bases around the world. Critical for sustaining global military operations, these parts and equipment are delivered into war zones and areas of conflict where the U.S. military conducts ongoing operations.
For those operations, DB Schenker maintains an established, centralized control tower that’s dedicated to managing defense logistics, making it well-suited to handle even the most complex military logistics arrangements. “Our ultimate ‘customer’ with this contract is the U.S. warfighter who is based anywhere in the world,” said Valus, “and who relies on these parts and equipment to maintain operations.”
It’s a Patriotic Effort
Valus says the contract presents some unique challenges, and mainly because it extends the size, scope, and parameters of the typical global logistics project. “This is a worldwide, door-to-door transportation contract so it fits well with our global scope and network,” Valus explained. “However, this isn’t like picking up a shipment from one company and delivering it to another; there are a lot of different moving parts involved.”
For example, DB Schenker works with its partner airline to pick up equipment for delivery to U.S. military bases or NATO bases that are located overseas. These shipments often include critical parts and equipment that the U.S. military relies on to sustain its global operations.
“This includes deliveries into war zones and areas of conflict where the U.S. has ongoing operations,” Valus explained. “That’s definitely ‘outside of the box’ for a traditional freight forwarder.”
In return for these efforts, DB Schenker gets the satisfaction of knowing that it’s doing its part to support U.S. troops and operations overseas. “There’s definitely a patriotic slant in doing this,” said Valus, “and in knowing that wherever warfighters may be, they have the parts and equipment that they need to get their jobs done.”
A Bigger, Strategic Plan
A 3-year contract, the GHS award is in its second month and progressing well. “This is a marquee contract that allows other doors within the DoD to be opened for DB Schenker,” says Tanguy Largeau, DB Schenker’s Director, Head of Vertical Market Aerospace/Marine and Defense, Americas Region.
“This new GHS award is part of a bigger strategic plan to support global defense as a whole,” Valus added, “and represents our ability to do business directly with the U.S. government and the DoD.” As part of that commitment, DB Schenker has established a new, classified facility in Sterling, Va., this year to support both U.S. and foreign military sales.
Going forward, Valus and Largeau see more opportunity ahead for DB Schenker in the governmental logistics space. “Our centralized, dedicated control tower for defense is part of our overall investment in this entire vertical market,” Valus said, “and it positions us to participate in this type of business for the foreseeable future.”