Sensitivity for Steinway pianos

For more than a century a. hartrodt has specialized in piano exports – today by air freight.

Lang Lang, the Chinese star pianist, keeps a. hartrodt's air freight team on tenterhooks. Most recently during the Hamburg-USA transport of a Steinway grand piano of the limited edition "Lang Lang Black Diamond". The pianist participated in the design by Dakota Jackson and signed 88 grand pianos as well as 8 concert grand pianos. "We also organized the transport of the concert grand piano for his world tour," reports Walandi Lasarou, Team Leader Export Operations Airfreight Hamburg at a. hartrodt in Norderstedt. In 2019, the instrument was flown from Hamburg to the USA, then on to the Netherlands, Japan and Macau (China) – until the Corona stop in March 2020.

Arthur Hartrodt already exported pianos

"Steinway & Sons is one of our oldest customers," emphasizes Lasarou. Founded in 1853 in New York, the company has been manufacturing pianos by craftsmen in Hamburg since 1880. When Arthur Hartrodt internationalized his freight forwarding company in the 1910s, he specialized in exports of German pianos. Two family businesses came together. "The customer trusts our experience. We know which airlines are suitable for the sensitive goods," says Lasarou.

Pianos only fit into freighters

"The goods' value is about 30,000 EUR for a Steinway upright piano, and can exceed 100,000 EUR for a grand piano," says Lasarou. Therefore, sensitivity is also required for transportation. Almost every week, already packaged instruments arrive at a. hartrodt's warehouse in Norderstedt. "We take care of the shipping documents and customs clearance," explains the Management Assistent for Freight Forwarding. As pianos only fit into freighters, the air cargo is trucked to Frankfurt or Amsterdam, and from there it is flown primarily to New York, followed by Singapore. "In the USA, we take care of the complete on-carriage by truck," says Lasarou. Depending on the destination, he indicates a transit time of approximately two weeks.

On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven this year, Steinway honored the composer with a limited edition "Appassionata" grand piano. But Lasarou prefers the equally unusual design of the "Kravitz Grand Limited Edition", designed by US rock legend Lenny Kravitz: "We transported such a grand piano from New York to an exhibition in Hamburg and back. "