Transporting valuables is a complex operation, requiring the utmost care at all times. Contrary to cash-in-transit services, which are subject to strict rules (e.g. an armoured car and armed security guards are mandatory for all sums exceeding USD 30,000), no legal requirements exist concerning the transportation of valuables – including works of art. Principals are responsible for making the decisions that will ensure the safe transfer of their assets. They may opt to organise insurance and logistics for themselves, contract industry specialists, or enlist a conveyor to accompany a shipment from start to finish. Museums will often require this third service as a maximum-security guarantee for the artworks they own.

Art and valuables logistics have been our core business for years. We can count on a global network to ensure that works of art and other valuables are transported safely. Working adjacent to Changi Airport Singapore, one of Asia’s key airfreight hubs, our expert team handles shipments in addition to providing full supervision of tarmac operations. This is vital if we want to monitor the valuables entrusted to us properly.

The tarmac is defined as the areas of an airport covered with tar and macadam, especially the zones where boarding and landing of goods and passengers from their planes are executed. To gain access to the airport tarmac, and therefore to the aircraft and their cargos, personnel have to have a special pass. For instance, they cannot have a criminal record and they must pass the requisite official exams. Tarmac vehicle drivers must also be in possession of an Airside Driving Permit (ADP).

When supervising tarmac operations for valuables arriving, leaving or transiting, we always assign one of our logistics specialists to implement a set series of controls on site (see Tarmac supervision in detail). If delayed or forced to stop, vehicles must relocate to a secured and monitored waiting bay. In addition, special security staff trained in mobile operations can be commissioned to escort vehicles.

In Singapore (our headquarters for large-scale operations in Asia), we handle everything ourselves, from A to Z.

Christian Pauli – Managing Director
Fine Art Logistics Natural Le Coultre, Singapore

photo credit/source: Swiss International Airlines


In detail

Day before shipment

  • Confirm flight departure and tag the item/crate for transportation with an ID CODE.
  • Ensure that the conveyor, if applicable, has a seat on the same flight.

Day of shipment

  • Supervise palleting operations at first loading location.
  • As soon as possible provide the principal with the flight number, departure time and location of the item inside the aircraft (including pallet number).
  • Check shipment and monitor from loading until take-off.
  • Monitor the goods handling services provided by the airline (including use of containers where applicable), ensuring that only low-speed forklift trucks are used and transport protection nets are fitted to the cargo hold.

Day of reception

  • Check flight and reservation before unloading.
  • Identify crate markings and reconcile with shipping forms.
  • Monitor transhipment from the aircraft, including any packing into containers, and the handover to the transportation firm.

We carry out these same procedures whenever transporting valuables through other airports.