How Maersk transported relief materials across countries and difficult terrain in quick time.

Trucks departing after the aid and relief supplies were unloaded at the cargo storage place.

The customer

Our customer is a premier global agency of the United Nations which has brought succour to displaced people by providing them shelter, food and water.

The customer has an active presence in Africa, providing relief supplies to various humanitarian partners to fulfil their missions rapidly and effectively.

In the past, the UN agency has worked closely with Maersk and sought our ocean and inland transport services on termly contracts as well as on ad hoc basis.

Cargo transportation - Men unloading a truck containing emergency cargo in Africa.

The challenge

In 2017, the customer needed safe and swift transport of emergency cargo such as tents and kitchen equipment from their Douala global stockpile in Cameroon to Brazzaville in neighbouring Congo, where the relief materials were urgently required.

In the past, our customer had been moving the relief material as breakbulk cargo. This had resulted in much loss and damage.

The transport of goods to Congo would require multi-modal logistics in the form of trucks and barges. The roads to Brazzaville through Ouesso and other remote locations were difficult due to the rainy season. The traditional barge route was also not employable. The safe transport of the goods was of prime importance.

Remote location in Africa - People gathering at the emergency cargo storage point.

The Maersk solution

For cargo transportation, our local teams designed a tailor-made solution. We deployed a convoy of 11 trucks and two barges to move the equipment from Douala port in Cameroon to Brazzaville in Congo.

To navigate the demanding roads, we employed skilled drivers who drove safely and confidently. The trucks were also equipped with GPS systems, thus ensuring round-the-clock tracking and visibility.

There were stretches on the route that were unmotorable. For these sections, the local teams plotted an ingenious route that was safe and reliable. However, to pass along this route, we had to deploy barges in two legs.

To ensure cargo safety, we used SOCs (shipper’s own containers) for the operation. These were locked with Maersk seals. By using SOCs, we were replicating a solution we had employed earlier for a different UN agency in Chad and Central Africa Republic. This measure ensured that the shipment stayed safe on the long and treacherous routes on land and river.

Men unloading a truck containing relief materials; people queuing up at the distribution centre.

The result

We were able to overcome the logistical challenges and the cargo was delivered safely in 31 days.

The UN agency was elated at the way the operation was executed and Maersk won praise for innovation and speed. Our solution was the first of its kind and was able to build capacity on the route between Doula and Brazzaville.









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