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Gorillas, laundry among DHL's quirky cargo

By Staff Reports on January 31, 2014

From a delivery of nine gorillas across two continents to a specific heart internal defibrillator, DHL Express flew some strange cargo in 2013.

DHL Express released its annual list of quirky delivery requests for the year.

In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, there has been an increase in strange food delivery requests with each passing year, according to Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“One unique shipment to mention is a 32-kilogram consignment of haggis, which was moved from the UK to Tanzania for an event,” he said. “The Scottish delicacy was swiftly transported through customs and delivered in time for the prestigious event.” 

Rahavendra said that in Kenya, live human eyes are transported on a regular basis.

“Understandably, the corneas have an extremely short life span and are therefore highly perishable, which possess a significant challenge to us,” he said. “What adds to the complexity is the fact that the recipient is booked and prepped for surgery while the cornea is in transit. The successes of these deliveries rely on prior customs releases, dedicated delivery vehicles and a passionate team of certified international specialists on the ground. When there is no margin for error and the result could affect another person’s opportunity for sight, every stop is pulled out from pickup to delivery.” 

Another unusual personal delivery was for a customer who shipped his laundry from the UK to a Southern African country – for dry cleaning.

For many people, a wedding is one of the most important days of their life, Rahavendra said.

“In light of this, 1.7 tonnes of fresh flowers were sent from Johannesburg to Douala in Cameroon for such an occasion,” he said. “This personal request came from a customer whose two sons were getting married on the same day. Fast forward a few short hours, and a splendor of color was delivered to the event in time for the all-important nuptials.”

On the conservation front, a delivery in Kenya included the transport of butterfly larvae.

“Any delay in the transport process would result in the premature hatching of the butterflies, from which they would not have survived,” Rahavendra said. “Following a similar operational process as the transport of the corneas previously mentioned, another successful yet another unique delivery was completed.”