Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Freight Operator Joins WFP Logistics Effort

Maersk is Latest partner to Sign Up
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE – Bulk and container shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk has become the latest member of the Logistics Emergency Team (LET) which was formed last year to provide access to the global supply chain to ferry aid quickly and efficiently to anywhere around the globe. Maersk will now coordinate with other logistics leaders Agility, UPS and TNT Express in what is an essential part of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) ‘cluster approach’.

In 2005 the ‘cluster approach’ was initiated to ensure a more effective humanitarian response in a unified effort in major disaster scenarios, rather than the ad hoc basis on which emergency aid had hitherto depended. Nine Clusters were agreed upon through the offices of the United Nations including such essential components as food, agriculture, refugees etc. with a lead agency for each, WFP being the lead agency for the Logistics Cluster.

The Logistics Emergency Teams are groups of experienced logistics personnel ready to be deployed to an emergency within 48 hrs after a WFP request. LET recruitment is done internally and staff voluntary sign on for a two year commitment with successful applicants receiving instructions as to their responsibilities in an emergency situation, which may well involve flying out to assist ‘on the ground’ in some fairly horrific circumstances.

Like many other freight, haulage and shipping groups Maersk have assisted in such disasters as the Pakistan floods, but now that effort will be coordinated through their membership of the LET system. Helene Regnell, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Maersk Line commented:

“Our vessels call ports all over the world, and we are present in more then 130 countries. Not least in Africa, where we have extensive experience and presence, the LET’s enable us to ensure that our disaster relief efforts are coordinated and aligned for maximum impact.”

The WFP, through their Director of Logistics, Martin Ohlsen, have described the formation of the LET’s as an important component in the organisations overall response strategy, with the generous contribution of logistics assets and personnel by those involved significantly boosting the speed and effectiveness of the response to major global disasters.