Transportation and logistics suppliers supporting relief efforts to the Gulf Coast report that shipments of supplies continue unabated almost two weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
Atlanta-based UPS said the job is getting so massive that it’s now working directly with the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to better support their Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
In consultation with Gov. Kathleen Blanco (LA-D) of Louisiana and also with Gov. Haley Barbour (MS-R), UPS is placing individual liaison officers at the command of the state governments. Two hurricane relief officers have been assigned to each of the two states, one to the governor and a second to the top Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official in the state, UPS said.
As of Sept. 8, UPS had moved more than 4 million pounds, or 2,000 tons, of supplies for the relief effort, noted Mike Eskew, the company’s chairman & CEO. “UPS is pledging its people and equipment to assist the states as part of what we call Operation Expedite Help,” he said. “Katrina has stretched the resources of every local, state and federal agency. The business community can play an important role in the relief effort – and that’s why UPS has established Operation Expedite Help.”
He also said UPS Supply Chain Solutions, the company’s logistics arm, has been asked to assist the Salvation Army in setting up a new distribution center for hurricane relief outside Atlanta.
EA Logistics, a Chicago, IL-based freight forwarder, said that it’s seeing increasing numbers of aid shipments to the Gulf states.
“It’s been 24-hour days around here since the storm hit,” said Mike Ellis, the company’s president. “We’ve been moving everything from the slings used in the sandbag drops to insurance claims forms to generators, pumps and other equipment to assist in the recovery.”
Utilizing satellite-tracked, team driver trucks, EA Logistics is keeping its customers up to date with exact locations and estimated time of arrival for shipments. “Each day brings new challenges and we’ve become very creative to give our customers the best possible options,” said Ellis. “Some of the transportation solutions we’re providing are not part of our usual service offerings, but with this extraordinary situation we’re doing whatever we can to help.”
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