A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk), an integrated container logistics company, is supporting the society fight the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in India by facilitating the logistics and supply chain of medical relief. Maersk has offered its ocean transportation service to institutions and organisations participating in medical relief at a nominal rate of 1 USD per container. All air freight shipments to India facilitated by Maersk are being done on a zero-profit basis.
When the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, the medical infrastructure came under a lot of pressure. An acute shortage of oxygen supply in hospitals led almost all the industrial oxygen manufacturing in the country to be diverted for medical purposes. However, the challenge of transporting the oxygen to medical facilities posed an even bigger roadblock due to a lack of cryogenic oxygen tanks that are required for transporting the medical oxygen.
At this time, Maersk stepped in and through its network-connected the sellers of such tanks and oxygen concentrators from around the world to the organisations that were willing to lease or buy them in India. This, in addition to the integrated logistics solutions offered by Maersk that range from air freight, ocean freight, landside transportation to customs clearances, warehousing and distribution and digital solutions proved to be vital in handling the complexity involved in the entire process of bringing the medial aid into India.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us several lessons – empathy being one of the most important ones of them all. The crisis has urged us all to go beyond our business and support the society when it needs it the most. 15 of our top executives from different functions voluntarily got together in the early days of the second wave and put together ‘Project Oxygen War Room’, or POWR as they called it, to help society fight the virus”, said Vikash Agarwal, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia. He added, “The team went far beyond their day-to-day jobs to create a platform for buyers to meet sellers and implemented logistics for the medical aid coming into India. They worked relentlessly to put everything into action – from enabling charter planes to rapid clearances of emergency cargo to setting up visibility dashboards for transparency across different stakeholders involved in the transportation of the goods.”
The logistics activities undertaken by Maersk in order to support the medical aid into the country involve facilitating shipments coming in from countries such as Ireland, Finland, China, Germany, U.A.E., Qatar, Israel, South Africa and Singapore with more shipments from China, Turkey and Dammam still in progress.
Arvind Ambo, Head of Chemicals Vertical, Maersk South Asia and Project Leader for supporting the medical aid coming into India remarked, “The last 5 weeks have been the perfect opportunity for us at Maersk to make an impact along our core value of ‘Constant Care’. We are putting together the most complex pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in order to support the Indian society. The situation in India has led a lot of organisations that are not well-versed with the complexities of global supply chains to take up this humanitarian task and it was our goal to handhold them through this journey.”