Monday, May 2, 2016

Freight and Multimodal Logistics Teams Keep Up Good Work from Ecuador to Teesside

Little Publicity but Industry Stalwarts Maintain the Effort to Help Others
Shipping News Feature
ECUADOR – UK – A couple of weeks ago we ran a short piece on some of the good work being done by logistics and multimodal groups around the globe which included help for those unfortunates stricken by the Ecuadorian earthquake on 16 April. Unfortunately, with all the bad news in the world such disasters rarely hold the headlines for more than a day or so, the work to help save and improve lives however continues unabated. With a follow up ‘quake raising the death toll over 650, yesterday came the miraculous news of the rescue of 72 year old Manuel Vasquez, trapped for 13 days under the rubble and pulled free, minus some toes, by a Venezuelan search team.

Among the freight and shipping groups offering help were DHL, fast to react but too slow to tell the world in time for our previous story. The international forwarder and carrier maintains a disaster response team (DRT) for just such emergencies and the company volunteers provided pro bono logistics support at Ecuador’s Eloy Alfaro International Airport in Manta, coordinating incoming international aid and preparing it for onward transportation to areas affected by the quakes. Gilberto Castro, Manager of DHL’s DRT Americas team, explained:

“When a natural disaster strikes, a rapid response is needed to get vital relief supplies to people in need. Efficient handling of incoming aid by professionals is key. This is where our DRT teams come in. Using their logistics expertise, they provide practical, effective support at airports to ensure fast, well-organized handling of all kinds of incoming aid supplies, from food and water, to emergency housing.”

Since their introduction as part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s GoHelp disaster management programme, which it has operated in partnership with the United Nations (UN) since 2005, the teams have completed more than 30 deployments, most recently in April 2015 following the serious earthquake in Nepal and after the tropical storm that hit the Fiji Islands in February this year.

Another industry group taking the lead in charitable works is Teesside based multimodal freight outfit AV Dawson. A team of staff took to two wheels and completed a coast to coast cycle ride to raise £4,500 in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. With the fate of the Tata plant weighing heavily on the local community the 15 cyclists wore wore their hearts on their sleeves by donning the ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign logo along their arms throughout the 150-mile, three-day journey.

After dipping their bike wheels in the sea at Whitehaven in Cumbria, the intrepid riders travelled across the country before finally reaching the sea closer to home at Saltburn, where they were greeted by a welcoming party of family, friends and colleagues. As patrons of Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, the AV Dawson cyclists will be donating the cash they raised to the charitable movement, who will forward it to local Alzheimer’s-related community groups.

The plan to undertake the event started as a quick chat between a couple of colleagues and blossomed into a full blown undertaking, with all but one of those involved, Steve Hill, who works at Tata Steel’s Skinningrove plant, belonging to Dawson’s own staff. Neil Olver, health and safety manager at AV Dawson, and one of the team who organised the initiative, commented:

“From an initial discussion about a couple of us attempting the coast-to-coast, this grew into something unbelievable. The support we’ve had from family, friends, colleagues and customers has been overwhelming. When we came down Saltburn bank towards the finishing line and we saw a huge crowd waiting for us, it was out of this world and made us all feel quite emotional, for me, that really illustrates the family side of the business.

“The whole event has created such camaraderie. It’s also been great for promoting health and fitness within the business. It has been particularly rewarding for me personally to support some of our colleagues through the training. One of the team only bought his bike in January, he did six miles but then couldn’t get back on it for two days! But he completed the full challenge and did brilliantly. Many of the team are now wanting to do another ride to keep up the momentum, as they’ve all got the buzz for it now.”

The team were led by managing director Gary Dawson who, once he had recovered from the effort, observed:

“We’re so grateful for all the support we’ve had with this challenge, particularly from our customers and suppliers. We’ve been working with the Philanthropic Foundation for some time now, but this is the first initiative we’ve done where we’ve got colleagues involved from across the whole business. We’re channelling the funds through the Philanthropic to support local people affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s something that myself and other colleagues have become much more aware of over recent months, so we all felt it would be really worthwhile to put our support behind it.”

Photo: Manuel Vasquez is pulled from the Ecuadorian rubble after nearly two weeks trapped underground.