Christie's packing crates

Packing crates at Christie’s. The auction house has teamed up with Crozier to trial sea freight logistics.

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Working with storage and logistics firm Crozier, the auction house is to trial a monthly container service for the transportation of artworks between London and New York, and every two months between London and Hong Kong. Door to door it will take six weeks to ship to the US and 10 weeks to Hong Kong.

Christie’s – which has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 – said it will reserve 60% of each shipment for its own use with the remaining space available for Crozier’s clients.

Simon Hornby, senior vice president at Crozier Europe, said: “By joining forces, Crozier and Christie’s aim to offer this special sea container initiative to those seeking alternat ive and more sustainable methods of transportation.”

Conference topic

The topic of emissions caused by art market travel was in focus at The Art Business Conference last month. Concerns were raised about the feasibility of sea freight in relation to cost, time and insurance. Insurance firms have traditionally been unfavourable to valuable items being transported by sea.

Panel member Chris Bentley at AXA believed dialogue was needed between clients and insurance firms on ways to improve the situation. “Sea transit is considered more risky but it is not true that there is not a way to work with insurers to do it. At the moment insuring by sea transit is more expensive but there will be a way to manage this.”

He added that there are other ways to reduce emissions such as packaging.

Imogen Prus, at logistics firm Convelio concurred: “The second-highest emissions area for us [after transportation] is wood crating. We plan to roll out new solutions on this. The big issue is the waste of plastics. But the key is to work with suppliers on packaging.”

All the speakers lauded the efforts of the Gallery Climate Coalition, a not-for-profit group of London-based gallerists and professionals which offers advice on how the art world can become more sustainable.