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No business like show business

Getting outsized film props and equipment to the right place at the right time is big business for air freight operators. Kerry Reals investigates

As they sit back and enjoy the spectacle, filmgoers and live music fans are unlikely to give much thought to the work that goes on behind the scenes to transport the masses of equipment required to produce movies and concerts around the world.

It is fortunate then, that there exist specialised logistics companies familiar with the challenges and last-minute schedule changes associated with serving the entertainment industry. But the sensitive and often secretive nature of film-making – necessary in order to avoid the leaking of spoilers ahead of premiere day – lends a somewhat cloak and dagger approach to the logistics side of the business.


In the words of one UK-based freight forwarding company specialising in providing logistics for film and television productions: “Due to the nature of the work that we do, and its confidentiality, we have to be extremely careful about our media involvement generally.”

What is clear then, is that transporting film sets and concert equipment requires round-the-clock service, as well as the flexibility to quickly respond to unexpected developments.

“Goods must be delivered in the right place at the right time. When a whole production team is at the set and ready to start work, the equipment must be on-site and ready too,” says Thomas Blank, Managing Director Europe at international freight forwarder Kerry Logistics. “To ensure this, and to be able to react flexibly and promptly to the changing demands of our customers, we are available for our customers 24/7.”

Alan Durrant, Managing Director of Rock-it Cargo’s London Heathrow-based operation, agrees. “It is really important to be highly specialised in this sector, as experience counts for a huge amount. Nine-to-fivers need not apply,” he says.


Rock-it Cargo provides live event freight forwarding and logistics services through a global network which it has built up over 40 years. The company is headquartered in the homeplace of cinema, Los Angeles, with offices around the world.

Describing its services on its website, it says: “Sets and props, cameras, lighting, power and even cranes – no matter what your needs, our TV and film team can get your gear there on time, through customs, to your venue, all in time for your big moment.”

The freight forwarder is also heavily involved in the music touring business and has helped many a big name act ferry their instruments and entourage around the world with them, as Durrant explains: “We have been involved in many weird and wonderful projects. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, U2 and Roger Waters’ tours were particularly noteworthy, and particularly large.”

For Madonna’s Rebel Heart World Tour in 2015 and 2016, Rock-it Cargo transported 1,800 pieces of equipment, including staging, lighting, video, props and wardrobe items, with a weight totalling 290 tonnes. The gear was carried by air and sea from Montreal in Canada, across North America, and then on to Europe and Asia, before finishing with the final concert in Sydney, Australia.


“Currently, I’m working on lots of projects: Björk, Bryan Adams, Bryan Ferry, Depeche Mode, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Queen, plus Adam Lambert,” Durrant adds. >>

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