Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For The Glamorous Side Of Freight - Look To Project Forwarding

How Allseas Collected That BIFA Award
Shipping News Feature

UK – CONGO – When we covered the recent BIFA (British International Freight Association) Freight Service Awards in London we made special mention of the fact that Allseas Managing Director Andrew Morris dedicated the industry accolade for Project Forwarding which he collected, to the crew of an Ilyushin 76T cargo aircraft, all of whom tragically died shortly after completing the successful mission to supply everything required to create a base camp for mine workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s remote jungle, and for which Allseas were being recognised.

Project forwarding always presents the most difficult, yet most spectacular and satisfying, side of the freight business and now Allseas have given us more details of the logistics involved to qualify them for the award. Allseas, headquartered in Newark with UK offices in Brighouse, Tilbury, Felixstowe and Swinderby, and with a network of offices worldwide, put together a complex package of transport via air freighter, ship and specialist barge to meet the very specific requirements of client Rio Tinto, which needed a temporary base camp for 30 workers on a diamond mine exploration project.

This package of transport solutions included twice landing the fully loaded Ilyushin 76 on the short, unlit, unmanned Isiro airstrip in the remote Congo jungle, seven miles from the camp site; gathering together 30 off-road and all-terrain vehicles, each one packed with equipment, from three African states; barging these vehicles up the Congo River on a newly built specialist barge (see photo), taller than normal and with strengthened vehicle load ramps; and creating a road through the remote jungle to the final destination.

Portable buildings, generators, water filtration units, camp furniture, satellite communication systems, surveying and mining equipment, medical equipment, cooking equipment and food were all delivered, as well as the fleet of vehicles, all being relocated from mining sites across Africa. The task even called for the delivery, by air, of a fuel bowser filled with 20,000 litres of highly flammable AV-Gas. And, this being Africa, unsurprisingly bureaucracy, politics, lack of infrastructure and underlying problems of corruption all added up to some extremely difficult working conditions.

Morris headed up the project personally, drawing on his considerable experience working in extreme locations and conditions. As Worldwide Ambassador for the Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust (REACT) which enables companies and individuals to protect rare species, he was also very concerned about protecting the environment. He commented:

“This was a project in virgin forest. Working in a way that was not destructive to this precious environment was number one for us, and we would not have got involved without assurances from the client. Rio Tinto’s ethical and environmental policies were very important to us. We were pleased to discover they had already sent in 20 botanists to ensure minimal disruption to the environment.

“We began the project with six months of planning and reconnaissance. As a group, we employ nearly 100 people; at various stages of the project, we were dipping into the resources of every one of our areas, including our sister company, International Export Packers.”

To complete the contract Allseas broke new ground in every sense, opening up a route that had not been used since Congo was a Belgian colony more than 50 years ago, however, thanks to meticulous planning, inventive thinking and a major element of flexibility and resourcefulness, Allseas delivered every item on time and in one piece.

Anyone interested in finding out more about REACT can click HERE.