Canadian Shipper


Three logistics leaders offering aid to Pakistan victims

KARACHI, Pakistan — Agility, TNT and UPS are providing warehousing, transport and logistics support to help ensure relief supplies reach the people affected by rains and flooding in Pakistan. The three companies comprise the Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs) unit, a cross-company partnership to support humanitarian relief efforts during natural disasters.

The LETs are working closely with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which, as well as being the frontline agency fighting hunger, is also the lead of the Logistics Cluster, which coordinates the logistical response of the humanitarian community at times of disaster.

The heavy rains and flooding in Pakistan have left millions stranded with no access to food and basic necessities. In the first month, WFP reached three million people with lifesaving food supplies, and in September is seeking to reach double that number, said Martin Ohlsen, WFP logistics director. 

“The LETs are an important component in our overall response strategy and their generous contribution of logistics assets and personnel has significantly boosted the speed and effectiveness of our response,” Ohlsen added.

The LETs, from Agility, TNT and UPS, have provided warehousing facilities totalling 8,000 sq. m. in Multan, Peshawar and Islamabad, along with support staff in several locations. Agility and TNT have also supplied refrigerated containers for storage of temperature sensitive cargo such as medicines. Agility, TNT and UPS have provided light trucks for transporting relief material between airports, helipads and consolidation warehouses.  

“In the face of such devastation, it is critical for relief operations to be set up quickly and efficiently. Logistics play a key role in helping to reach affected families, especially in remote areas – a very real challenge in the current situation,” said Tarek Sultan, Agility’s chairman and managing director. “Agility, together with our LETs partners TNT and UPS, has a strong local network and on-the-ground expertise that helps speed up relief operations.”

As well as warehousing and transport assets, the LET partners provide expertise and local knowledge, to support the response of the entire humanitarian community in getting food, shelter, health and water sanitation items to the most affected communities. 

“It is essential that the LETs team is again stepping in to help the Pakistani people by offering local resources and expertise in conjunction with our partners,” said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT.  TNT Pakistan is providing warehouse space in Multan and Islamabad, along with operations and security personnel and forklift capacity.

“Given the complexity and urgency of the efforts required in times of disaster, critical links are needed in the supply chain between donors, relief agencies and communities in need,” said Dan Brutto, president of UPS International. “As well as providing financial and transport support, UPS has worked with WFP to provide critical logistics, through LETs staff and facilities, to help the most vulnerable.”

Officials say the LETs initiative is the first multi-company commitment to the humanitarian sector and was launched in 2008 at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Central to the LETs model is the partnership of otherwise competing companies to utilize their corporate expertise, local resources and relationships in support of humanitarian relief efforts in response to natural disasters.