UPS has announced that the company is managing and brokering 25 charter flights in support of Project Airbridge, a coordinated effort between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), numerous countries and the private sector designed to expedite the arrival of critical supplies needed in US hospitals.
On March 29, US President Trump said: “FEMA is working with these companies to launch Project Airbridge to expedite the movement of critical supplies from other countries to the United States.”
Led by FEMA and the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, Project Airbridge is a partnership between UPS and large US healthcare distributors including Cardinal Health and others, and the U.S. federal government. UPS is providing air freight brokerage services on third-party aircraft, as well as on UPS-owned aircraft. Goods will be distributed at the direction of FEMA to hospitals and COVID-19 hot spots throughout the country.
UPS Chairman and CEO, David Abney said: “UPS is ramping up around-the-clock operations to provide receipt of PPE and kitting for distribution to hospitals and hot spots around the country.”
UPS has confirmed that the first charter flights have already arrived and will continue for the next two weeks. In total, the company estimates that flights will carry more than three million pounds of materials – the equivalent of 14 full Boeing 747 freighters. Cargo will include masks, surgical gowns, gloves, medical swabs and thermometers. Shipments have originated from China, Malaysia, Honduras, among other countries.
Simultaneously, UPS’s Healthcare division opened a new 450,000 sq ft healthcare distribution centre on April 4, with dedicated space for FEMA. The facility is located just a few miles from UPS Worldport, the company’s automated global air hub, in Louisville, Kentucky.
According to UPS, this proximity quickly allows it to fulfil orders for delivery overnight, anywhere in the US.
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