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For several years, the talk of the heavy-lift air cargo industry has been Cargolifter, a German company that planned to build huge dirigible-like airships with cargo payloads of 160 tons of freight. The project attracted interest from shippers seeking new ways to deliver heavy and oversized cargo to remote locations.
Unfortunately, Cargolifter ran out of financing after spending more than $250 million in five years. The company is still seeking $65 million to develop the CL-75, a huge balloon that could haul 75 tons over short distances. The CL-75 is designed to ferry equipment to oilfields and mines in remote locations, but would be towed by trucks or vessels instead of being self-propelled.
Cargolifter's setback has been a blow to shippers seeking new options for heavy and outsized cargo to out-of-the-way points. But it doesn't mean there's no interest in heavy-lift shipping by air. On the contrary, commercial …