Taking care of heritage through the skies: 

Air transport of art, artefacts, and archaelogical finds to preserve history

From ancient scrolls to priceless sculptures, the journey of historical artefacts, art, and archaeological finds from their discovery sites to museums and study centres is a tale of precision, care and high stakes. These items are not only valuable in a monetary sense but are irreplaceable pieces of our global heritage. Transporting them safely and securely poses unique challenges, especially when air freight is involved.

Published on 29 January 2024 by Cargo Marketing and Communications


Swiss WorldCargo stands at the forefront of this specialised field, offering tailored solutions that blend technology with an unwavering commitment to preservation. As leaders in reliable transportation and precision handling, Swiss WorldCargo ensures that these timeless treasures are delivered with the utmost care, safeguarding their historical significance for future generations. 

The art of transporting treasures through airfreight 

The world of artefacts and archaeological finds is diverse and complex; each item has its unique story and fragility. This diversity demands a highly customised approach to packaging and handling. As outlined by the Museum and Heritage Advisor, the meticulous journey of these items is a testament to the care and precision required: 

  • Months of preparation: The journey of an artefact often starts months, sometimes years, before it even leaves its home. This preparation time is crucial for planning the safest route and handling methods. 
  • Assessment and planning: Every artefact undergoes a thorough evaluation by conservators. Their stability and condition dictate the special measures needed for their journey. 
  • Bespoke packaging: The packaging of each artefact is a unique process. Just as no two artefacts are the same, no two packaging solutions are identical. This bespoke approach ensures the safest possible transport conditions.
  • Detailed documentation: A comprehensive photographic record accompanies each artefact, allowing for close monitoring of its condition from origin to destination. 
  • Legal and customs considerations: The challenge lies not only in physical transportation but also in navigating the intricate web of legal, customs, and safety regulations that vary from one destination to another. 

Swiss WorldCargo's expertise in artefact transportation

By their very nature, the artefacts transported around the world are quite literally priceless. At the intersection where meticulous museum preparation meets transportation, Swiss WorldCargo's role becomes pivotal, providing customised transport solutions, each tailored to the specific needs of the artefact, ensuring that the museum's efforts in preparing the art piece are complemented with equally meticulous handling and transportation, safeguarding these precious artefacts’ passage through the skies.  

Swiss WorldCargo has long been distinguished as a transporter of sensitive and valuable artefacts. Our expertise is not just in moving items from point A to B but in ensuring that each journey honours the irreplaceable nature of the cargo. 

  • Specialised capabilities: Swiss WorldCargo's capabilities extend beyond standard air freight services. We have developed specialised equipment and techniques specifically for fragile shipments, such as artefacts. This includes custom-designed containers and handling equipment that minimise the risk of damage during transit. 
  • Reliable technology & processes: Advanced climate control systems are critical in preserving the artefacts' condition and maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels during transit. Equally important is the use of vibration-reduction technologies designed to protect these delicate items from the rigours of air travel. 
  • Proven track record: Our portfolio boasts successful transportation of a range of historical and cultural artefacts, each with unique requirements and challenges. This track record speaks to our ability to handle even the most delicate items with precision. 
  • Expert personnel: Swiss WorldCargo's and its partners’ personnel ensure that each artefact is treated with the utmost care and precision. They are trained in logistics to guarantee the specific requirements of handling and securing valuable artefacts are respected. Continuous training ensures they are up-to-date with security measures and handling techniques. 
  • Precision & care: From the moment an artefact is entrusted to them, stringent security protocols are in place. These include comprehensive checks and monitoring at every stage of the transport process. Advanced technology plays a key role in ensuring the safety of these items. GPS tracking, tamper-proof seals, and secure containers are just a few examples of the technology employed. 

Ethical considerations

Swiss WorldCargo adheres to strict ethical guidelines to ensure that all artefacts are legally and responsibly acquired and transported. This commitment to ethical practices encompasses rigorous adherence to international laws and treaties regarding cultural property, ensuring that each artefact's journey respects its cultural and historical significance.  

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