Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maersk Line Shipping Containers Transformed into Freight Warehouses for Refugees

Container Line Assists Ivory Coast Displaced
Shipping News Feature

LIBERIA - While Maersk Line’s containers are generally used to transport freight, they can be also deployed to serve many other important needs, as has been detailed previously. In Liberia, Maersk Line containers have been transformed into mobile warehouses to support the dire food needs of Ivory Coast refugees.

Four Maersk Line containers, repainted in the United Nations World Food Programme colours, are currently serving as mobile warehouses in the Bahn refugee camp in Liberia, 50 km from the Liberia–Ivory Coast border. The camp has capacity for 15,000 refugees, but more people are arriving from Ivory Coast every day, fleeing the fierce fighting and political unrest there.

“Our company can play a key role during crises and disasters, where transport and the lack of logistics is often a challenge,” says Lise Damkjaer, Head of In-fleeting, Maersk Line.

“When the World Food Programme reached out to us, we were happy to play a part in addressing a very critical situation in the region.”

In the spring, the World Food Programme launched an emergency operation to distribute food to refugees from Ivory Coast and the most vulnerable segments of the host population in Liberia. Logistics bottlenecks in remote and inaccessible areas were addressed by deploying mobile warehouses to key locations, amongst other initiatives.

Today, according to the United Nations, the political crisis in Ivory Coast has made around one million people flee their homes to escape the increasing violence and collapsing economy.

“The ongoing political instability in countries such as Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria has had a tremendous impact on the inhabitants,” explains Helene Regnell, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Maersk Line.

“As a transportation company we can help assist those people simply by leveraging what we do well, and by forming collaborative public–private partnerships to make the most of our relief efforts.”