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Frankfurt, Germany-based CargoLifter AG is developing a new dimension in commercial transportation. The firm is building a prototype for a planned fleet of cargo-carrying airships that will operate worldwide. These airships would not replace conventional means of commercial transportation such as roads, railways, or waterways, but they would be a supplemental means of delivery.

Instead of making customers wait for trucks to deliver bridge beams to the jobsite, you could use the CargoLifter as an alternative means. It might even be the deciding factor in regard to whether or not you "get the job." How else could you get the beams to the jobsite if you could not get them there by truck or barge? I don't think there is a helicopter in existence that could carry these kinds of loads.

Of course, using these blimps would mean that we producers would have fewer excuses for late deliveries that aren't solely a result of traffic or weather. For years precasters have blamed fog on the river for delaying barges carrying bridge beams and traffic for late deliveries by truck.

According to news releases from the CargoLifter headquarters, the company chose Raleigh, N.C., as the base for U.S. operations because of its positive economic climate, first-class educational systems (especially for technicians), and because it has great sources of potential employees.