Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Freight Forwarding Outfit Steps Up as Logistics Industry Helps Battle Ebola

Free of Charge Charter Flight to Aid Stricken Victims
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – LUXEMBOURG – WEST AFRICA – Once again a member of the logistics community has stepped forward to help transport vital supplies to the areas of Africa worst hit by the current Ebola outbreak. Last year freight forwarding outfit Panalpina donated a relief flight to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‘Forgotten Crisis’ campaign in the Central African Republic when the idea of an aircraft charter seemed the most appropriate way to help. With the renewal of the partnership this year Panalpina has again joined forces with UNICEF in a similar mission carrying air cargo to relieve some of the suffering in Sierra Leone, currently the country most affected by the disease.

Transporting life-saving humanitarian aid, and overcoming the challenges that come with the task, is something Panalpina, and other supply chain companies, are becoming all too familiar with. Last year’s flight carried 100 tonnes into the Central African Republic and this latest project saw a Panalpina flight take off this week carrying almost 80 tonnes of vital supplies and equipment destined for community care centres in the Ebola-affected region, after LuxairCARGO ground-handling staff also joined in the aid effort, building up the load at no cost.

UNICEF estimates that around 9.8 million children and young people under the age of 20 are currently living in areas of West Africa affected by Ebola, of which almost one third in Sierra Leone. UNICEF has campaigned to remind the world that, unless action is urgently taken, this deadly disease will continue to threaten the lives of millions in the region and beyond. Elsbeth Mueller, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland remarked:

“The scale of this crisis is unique, with dire and far-reaching consequences. The world’s response must equal the extraordinary and unprecedented challenge posed by Ebola. Panalpina’s donated flight is another encouraging example of how, in the midst of this situation, everyone pulls together to help save lives.”

UNICEF’s relief goods, delivered today to Sierra Leone, include protective equipment such as masks, hoods, aprons, overalls and rubber boots; tents; antibiotics; anti-malarial drugs; and a great amount of ready-to-use therapeutic food for recovering patients in the treatment centres and for malnourished children. UNICEF estimates that children represent approximately 22% of all people infected by Ebola. Peter Ulber, Panalpina CEO, commented:

“The festive season should be a time of reflection and consideration, and as we look back over 2014, we think of those in West Africa affected by Ebola. The relief flight will hopefully bring some respite to the people in the region, especially to the many affected children. It’s been our privilege to contribute to the commendable aid efforts in Sierra Leone, and I thank everyone involved.”

Photo: Building the load for carriage on the aircraft.