Cargo for a cause: The logistics of saving lives
Ndichu says that UPS also contributed to humanitarian efforts in another significant way in 2011, donating more than $2.7 million in in-kind transportation. And of the countless memorable relief flights, she says that the last of the charters delivering aid to Nairobi — a Boeing 747 that departed from UPS’ Cologne hub — will always stand out in her mind.
“The relief freight was for both UNICEF and WFP,” she says, “and it took more coordination than usual to fit all the pieces together. From the UNICEF side, we had to reposition a flight in Copenhagen to pick up the volume.”
The flight also had a brush with royalty, as the volume transported coincided with a UNICEF event involving the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“That definitely added to the pressure of ensuring a flawless execution in Copenhagen,” Ndichu says. Plus, the WFP goods had to be trucked from France to Germany and then consolidated with the UNICEF load, she says. Ndichu’s team has also received inquiries regarding freight flights into war-torn Syria. UPS is currently working with the WFP and Logistics Emergency Team in neighboring Turkey to assess its strategy for delivering aid to the Syrians either by air, sea or on the ground in trucks.
To her, such initiatives speak to her team’s commitment to foreign aid. In fact, Ndichu says, “We believe that we can make a world of difference in the world by working with partners who have expertise in saving lives and delivering aid to those in need.”