Ever wonder how that bottle of canola oil ended up in your kitchen cabinet or pantry? Its journey from the market to your home was made possible by over a dozen carefully coordinated flights, fleets of trucks, and a trip that started in Chile, stopped in Miami, and ended in Canada.
For the past few years, Atlas Air has been a key part of that journey.
During the peak season in 2022, Atlas flew over 2,000 tons of canola seeds from Chile to Miami. The seeds were shipped in massive crates in the cargo holds of Atlas’s 747-400 planes. To provide some perspective, the number of seeds shipped during this timeframe equates to the weight of about 20 single-story houses. The size of the shipments would have filled around 220 Olympic size swimming pools.
“We’ve been shipping canola seeds for many years, but it’s gotten busier with each passing year, and this year has been especially busy,” said Patricio Sanchez, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador at Atlas Air.
“Part of the reason it’s busier is because it’s been a really strong season for canola seeds. There’s been more production and greater output than previous years. Also, many seeds have traditionally been transported on commercial flights that simply aren’t flying right now. As a result, we’re doing a record 16 flights this year just to ship canola seeds,” said Frank Diaz, Director of Sales and Marketing at Atlas Air.
Ground crews load the seeds in oversize crates onto our planes, which then transport the seeds to Miami. From there, the seeds are transferred into cargo trucks
that transport the seeds to their ultimate destination, Canada, the leading country for canola oil production.
At the conclusion of each seed season, Atlas assesses how the shipments went and looks for ways to improve efficiency.
“It’s about volume management and making sure the large amounts of seeds get to where they need to be on time,” explained Arian Castellanos , Regional Manager, South America Ground Ops, for Atlas Air.
Canola seeds aren’t the only product that Atlas flies from Chile. Through close and growing partnerships with international shipping companies, Atlas also ships cherries in the winter and salmon on a year-round basis.
“Even as we finish the export of canola seeds, we’re already looking forward to August when we will begin importing corn seeds,” said Fernando Munoz, Country Manager, Chile, for Atlas Air.