Through exercising professionalism and uncompromising safety standards, leading Global Supply Chain Specialist, EPC-UK, has become renowned for being a highly specific transit operator with the expertise to enable safe relocation of Hazardous Materials and Class 1 Protectively Marked Goods.

Whilst many details of its operational processes must remain highly confidential, there are elements of the company’s practice that deserve recognition as it navigates the complexities of safe transit for dangerous equipment and components.

Key to building the company’s leading reputation is Logistics and Defence Manager, Carl Newton. Taking his place within a specialised team with national security clearance, Carl works to enable logistical services from a portfolio including vessel chartering, secure storage and, when appropriate, air transit.

Carl explains that sea freight is EPC-UK’s most conventional and cost-effective route for hazardous material transport, however when outlining a recent logistical exercise, he details stages of an impressive airborne transit operation:

“Whilst transporting consignments by air is an uncommon practice, it occasionally presents the best logistical solution,” he says.


“Safely chartering an aircraft for hazardous transit requires detailed coordination and planning, together with technical levels of administration.”

The project Carl refers to has been three years in the planning and has involved the transit of ITAR, UK export-controlled materials using a Boeing 747.

The division is accustomed to managing sensitive projects. Equipped with the frameworks to seek permissions and consents, and harnessing knowledge surrounding flight permits and plans, the EPC-UK Logistics division is well placed to organise responsive transit across sensitive countries and work alongside Civil Aviation Authorities.

Ordinarily, materials can be transported on small pallets within a specific plane’s hold, however owing to the size of this particular cargo, and the distance it needed to travel, an entire aircraft needed to be chartered.

The transit required separate permits for each national airspace entered, together with appropriate import licences, which presented extensive procedural challenges for Carl and his team.

“Transporting the shipment to the other side of the world required a meticulous course of specialist planning,” he continues.


“For example, the flight path took the plane across Europe and the Middle East, which involved crossing numerous countries and consequently needed an equal number of permits. Conflicts with specific countries also meant that we had to re-route the 747 at one stage.


“Issues with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) led to one of our applications being refused, however by applying our specialist experience, we were soon able to rectify the situation and facilitate the cargo’s onward transit.”

With all goods requiring x-ray procedures at specified checkpoints, the shipment needed to be monitored and processed accordingly at numerous facilities across the world.

“The goods were very large and dense,” Carl continues, “which made the x-raying operation a sizeable task. The process required us to have access to the largest screening facilities available and perform complex organisational manoeuvres.”

Carl explains that chartering an aircraft in its entirety is a huge undertaking, and not one that can be fulfilled without immense expertise. Needless to say, this particular transit operation was highly successful:

“With this project, we have accomplished a level of strategic achievement that could only have been fulfilled by working as an efficient team.


“The support of our senior managers, finance division and technicians has been vital, together with the commitment of all those involved who unceasingly gave the project their all; from standing on aircraft runways from midnight to 6am to ensure the cargo landed safely, to spending 14 hours supervising the x-raying of goods – the transit has had its demands. However, its safe completion has rewarded us with the knowledge of a job well done, complete with the experience of encountering risks we were able to overcome, which in turn adds to our team’s comprehensive expertise.


“At EPC-UK, we talk about the set of core values that we work to as a group; values we sum up in the word SPIRIT (Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Teamwork). The air transit operation I have referenced encompassed each element of that set of values and everything that the EPC-UK methodology has come to represent.


“Everyone involved should feel a true sense of triumph for what, as part of an effective team, they have helped to safely realise.”