Urgently bringing relief supplies to various countries across the globe has become a routine operation for the air cargo industry over the past two years. This time, however, the trigger
is not a virus, but an invasion. Ukraine is having to fight an increasingly irrational war that is targeting civilians, and destroying cities and infrastructures. Help is urgently
More than 2 million women and children have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries and relief networks are seeing a surge in volunteers and donors. This figure is likely to double the longer the war continues. Yet, the rest of the country’s population of 44 million are relying on outside aid – in the form of money donations, humanitarian, and medical supplies, for example.
Air Canada operates special cargo flight
On 09MAR22, Air Canada flew a B787-9 cargo flight full of medical supplies, hospital beds and other medical and trauma supplies from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Warsaw, Poland. The supplies destined for Ukrainian hospitals in Lviv, were provided by the disaster logistics non-profits Airlink and GlobalMedic, relief organization Project C.U.R.E., and coordinated together with freight forwarder, Flexport, and Air Canada. C.U.R.E. arranged the onforwarding from Poland to the hospitals treating Ukrainian civilians injured during the war, expanding the capacity of hospitals in border regions to provide care. Primary care has been identified by aid agencies as one of the most pressing needs.
Dr. Douglas Jackson, President and CEO of Project C.U.R.E. said: “This first shipment of emergency medical supplies and equipment is just one of many to come. People all over the world are responding to this need, and they are cheering on our work from all corners of the globe. We are incredibly grateful to our partners at Airlink and Air Canada for making this a reality – together we are saving lives and delivering health and hope to the people of Ukraine."
Air Charter Service set ups coordination team in Poland
Air Charter Service (ACS) has already completed 11 relief flights since the first 737 Rzeszów-bound flight departed the U.K. on 01MAR22, with another 5 confirmed as 737, IL76, A330, A340, A300. Ukrainian aid is being flown into the Polish airports for Warsaw, Rzeszow and Chișinău, and ACS has dedicated four members of staff in Poland to coordinate these charters. Ben Dinsdale, Director for Humanitarian Services, stated: “The cargo so far has been medicines and tents being sent from airports in the U.K., Switzerland, and the Middle East. […] The cargo industry is going to have to move into yet another gear to help deal with increased demand and the smaller pool of aircraft now available. In a market already struggling for available aircraft due to the well-publicized supply chain issues gripping the world, we have mobilized our cargo team and emergency response procedures to ensure we can find solutions for all relief flights heading to the region.” Many of the Antonovs that have helped in such situations in the past, have become victims of the war, including the iconic Mriya AN-225.
DB Cargo and DB Schenker establish a Rail Bridge
DB sent its first relief train on Friday evening from Seddin, Germany, via Krakow, Poland, towards Kyiv, Ukraine. It was made up of 15 containers full of sleeping bags, sleeping mats, diapers, canned food, drinking water, warm clothing, baby food, and various medical products such as syringes, plasters, gauze bandages, and cannulas – in total: 350 tons of relief supplies. Over the next weeks, thousands of tons of food, drinking water and sanitary items will be transported directly to Ukraine via a rail and road network that the DB Cargo and DB Schenker logistics teams have set up. The cargo comes from donations which are collected by truck in Germany, before being reloaded into containers and attached to freight trains which travel on DB Cargo's European rail network, which includes a Polish subsidiary, and coordinated with the Ukrainian railroad. Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Bahn Group for freight transport, and Head of DB Cargo, stated: “The rail provides a stable connection to Ukraine. Today, we are starting to help quickly - with what is needed most. A stable connection and experience in logistics processes are important here so that we can help reliably.” Jochen Thewes, Chairman of the Board of Management of DB Schenker, added: “Logistics gets things to where they are needed, especially in times of crisis. With our rail bridge, we're making sure that the huge international readiness to help reaches the people in Ukraine.”
Pledging free logistics services
Logistics getting things done is also what persuaded Kuehne+Nagel Group this week to pledge 10 million Swiss francs as emergency aid to Ukraine, “in the form of free logistics services to leading aid organizations for the transport and temporary storage of relief goods to Ukraine as well as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania until Summer 2022.” In addition, to the company’s financial contribution, Kuehne+Nagel also encouraged its employees to contribute to its “Colleagues for Colleagues” fundraising campaign, promising as always with this initiative, to “match the amount donated and work closely with local management to ensure that funds are used to directly help Ukrainian colleagues in their time of need.” The Group operates an “Emergency and Relief Expert Centre” in Copenhagen, from where it coordinates all relief transports via air, sea, and land transport. “Goods will be temporarily stored at the Group's contract logistics sites including those on Ukraine's western border,” it adds.
UNICEF’s truck convoys
This should be good news for UNICEF which has its Global Supply and Logistics Hub in Copenhagen, and from where it has been sending truck convoys of humanitarian supplies to Ukraine. The first of these, a six-truck convoy containing around 62 tons of supplies, arrived in Lviv, west Ukraine, on 05MAR22. The cargo included “personal protective equipment to protect health workers from COVID-19 as they respond to the critical health needs of children and families, as well as desperately needed medical supplies, including medicine, first aid kits, midwifery kits and surgical equipment, and early childhood and recreational kits.” Relief was also sent from UNICEF’s Turkey Country Office warehouse in Mersin via Poland: this time including 17,000 blankets and warm winter clothing for children, since the population is mainly sheltering in cellars and underground stations and heating is also disrupted. “The situation for children and families in Ukraine is increasingly desperate,” said Murat Sahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “These supplies will help provide much needed support to women, children, and health care workers. UNICEF is working around the clock, preparing to scale up operations as soon as access and security restrictions are eased, and humanitarian assistance can be deployed to the hardest-hit areas.”
So many of these supplies are being brought into the Ukraine by trucks, whose drivers – already in short supply prior to the pandemic – are now braving a war situation to ensure that innocent civilians are being helped. More than ever, these people deserve to be treated better within the industry.
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