The good news is that when the world shut down, not all was lost. Transport lines stayed open as much as possible over the lockdown.
90% of what we use every day has been on a ship at some stage
Shipping adapted quickly and remains the most robust method of transport. Did you know that up to 90% of what we use every day has been on a ship at some stage of its manufacturing or distribution life? It makes it clear to see why this vital service had to stay operating. The solution was simple. Keep the crew on the ship in ports. The ships now dock in port as usual, with no one on and no one off. It loads supplies and goods, then leaves as usual. With no human contact while in port, the virus is contained.
What is an issue is shipping to some of the land bound countries we export to. Some borders were closed to everything, including road transport, with queues up to 20 miles long at the border posts. Most countries would allow supply trucks through, but some were completely closed. With borders between countries being closed, the shipping agents had to carefully plan and double check the routes to ensure once the container was released from port, it was able to travel without restrictions to its final destination. Any delays cause extra costs, and we know and appreciate how much time and effort goes into fund raising within a charity. Extra costs would be the last thing we’d want to happen. Thankfully our containers have travelled as planned and no delays yet, and we plan to keep it that way.
Airfreight has been most affected with many flights being grounded. As small cargo goes in the hold of the passenger fights, the normal cargo wasn’t able to fly either. We found with the decrease in demand and the planes not flying with normal loads, the desperate users were charged the difference for the flight. This resulted in costs doubling overnight for a period, but we hope to see rates return to a more normal rate soon. If you need to airfreight urgent supplies, make sure you have a reputable company looking after your best interests.
During the crises, Mission & Relief has stayed fully open throughout our 4 International Branches as we are ready to respond in times like this. As we celebrate 25 years in business in 2020, we will continue to do all we can to help people, their personal goods and supplies move around the world.
While there aren’t any guidelines regarding packing goods for international shipments, naturally we recommend observing social distancing guidelines while receiving, packing and loading collected or donated goods. This has been the biggest challenge experienced by the charities we partner with, but with cleaver planning and coordination, we are pleased to say that we are still loading containers and HGV trucks for export to those in need.
While we mostly export from the UK, we have imported PPE during the pandemic. We are able to supply a range of PPE in the form of masks, gloves and 80% Alcohol hand sanitiser for schools, offices or personal use. We currently have access to Covid Hospital beds if your charity could use them abroad. As Mission & Relief is well established and connected, please contact us with anything you may need for your charity as we are able to help source and transport most things.