Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Quick Look at How Some Logistics Players are Going Above and Beyond to Fight the Virus

Industry Finds Ways to Help Support Others in the Front Line
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – As well as being the business sector which is maintaining a situation for the whole of society as close to the status quo as is possible by maintaining the essential supply chain during the pandemic, logistics has seen countless players in the industry step up and do more than their fair share in supporting both the fight, and those at the forefront of it. Here are just a few examples which offer an insight into the timbre of the industry.

In the US SEKO Logistics has launched a new SEKO CARES initiative in partnership with Project C.U.R.E., the non-profit humanitarian relief organisation, to buy, donate and inspire support for frontline responders treating patients affected by Covid-19. SEKO is donating more than $200,000 to the cause and, to increase momentum for this inspiring movement, also created a donations page to encourage their partners and clients to join in the fight.

The money has gone to purchase over 240,000 masks, both surgical and medical, plus 2,500 disposable medical bio-protective suits. These donations will initially focus on the hardest hit areas starting with New York, Chicago, Louisiana and Michigan, where the spread of coronavirus continues to peak for area hospitals. SEKO then plans to widen distribution to other locations such as Arizona, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida as needs arise.

SEKO has already begun expanding the campaign to support other countries in need, starting with a charter to New Zealand from China with supplies of PPE from the SEKO Omni-Channel Logistics team.

In Singapore multipurpose heavy lift operator AAL, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year is offering charities supporting vital causes cargo transport on its global fleet to and from any port on its scheduled sailings, free of freight charge. AAL’s ‘Get Onboard!’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative is being launched for an indefinite period and will consider any registered charity worldwide regardless of the chosen cause. Kyriacos Panayides, Managing Director of AAL, explained:

"The virus pandemic has taken its toll on not just the shipping sector, but businesses and organisations everywhere, devastating supply chains and pressuring financial performance. This is especially true of charities, who rely on the goodwill of individual and institutional donors to get help. Unfortunately, widespread job losses, social distancing regulations, and the global economic downturn means they are losing much needed support and revenue.

German group UNION TANK Eckstein GmbH, which supplies fuel cards all across Europe has linked with DocStop, an initiative for better medical care for professional drivers, and the pair are helping truck drivers access washing and showering facilities free of charge with the SaniStop campaign, thus helping protect their health in the corona crisis.

Many service stations and rest stops in Germany have currently severely restricted access to sanitary facilities and some have closed them altogether. This means that professional drivers are often unable to observe basic hygiene practices such as showering or even just washing their hands when hygiene is of the utmost importance, especially in the situation in which we find ourselves.

As part of the SaniStop campaign, forwarding companies, shipping agents, service stations, petrol stations and other companies now provide HGV parking spaces with access to toilets and showers to make sure that drivers on the road have access to normal everyday sanitary facilities. More than 150 contact points throughout Germany are now part of the SaniStop campaign.

For a list of all SaniStop stations with toilet and shower facilities and a map, please click HERE. The list is updated daily. DocStop also publishes the latest information about the SaniStop campaign on Facebook.

In Northern Ireland Translink, a public corporation providing rail, bus and metro services in the province is providing free travel for NHS workers, joining initiatives from Transport for Wales and the West Midlands, and now Merseyrail trains and buses, plus buses in the Scottish Highlands thanks to Stagecoach, in taking the step to make public travel free for essential workers.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), the union which represents many transport staff including Translink, were quick to praise the company for what it described as ‘a far sighted and common sense decision’.

Photo: SEKO workers, as with the whole of the logistics sector, are soldiering on through the crisis.