Freight News, Logistics

Red tape: the new killer in Nepal

[ May 1, 2015   //   ]

Aid agencies are facing a logistical nightmare in trying to help victims of the Nepalese earthquake, says Air Charter Service – but local red tape is making the situation even worse. Group commercial director Justin Lancaster, said they had grave concerns about the amount of relief goods they will be able to get in. He explained: “One of the biggest problems is that the only international airport in Nepal is Kathmandu, which is a very small airport, with the cargo ramp only capable of handling two or three widebody aircraft at any one time. The warehouse is also insufficient and is, apparently, already full, with cargo being offloaded onto the parking areas.”
The problems are compounded because the authorities have marked cargo flights as low priority at present and are taking up to four days to grant landing permits for Nepal and overflight permissions for India. Top priority is being allocated to scheduled passenger flights, emergency rescue flights and military operations.
Lancaster added: “The situation is so bad that the possibility of trucking aid from other airports in the vicinity, such as Calcutta is being considered, but that is also posing its own challenges, including customs issues and the condition of the roads. With previous relief operations there was often another way in – for example, when there were problems at Port au Price airport in Haiti, we could fly into Santa Domingo in the neighbouring Dominican Republic and could ferry aid in on trucks and smaller aircraft from there.
“The weather has not been kind either, with several flights being diverted into India already due to storms. Bad weather is forecast for the rest of the week and there appears to be no let up until at least the weekend.
“We have booked several charter flights carrying search and rescue teams and relief goods, and are just awaiting slots and permits. In order to get the aid the flow of help, the relevant authorities will need to relax their red tape as much as possible, so that the necessary aid is able to get in. We currently have two staff members on their way to the area – they should be there by Wednesday morning at the latest, with more to follow. Armed with satellite phones, they will be able to give us a much better idea of what is going on and will be able to coordinate all matters on the ground and hopefully get around some of the red tape.”
Meanwhile Air Partner said it had received a large number of enquiries following the earthquake in Nepal . Its freight, commercial jets and emergency planning teams have been working around the clock to provide charter solutions to move search and rescue teams, shelter and medicines to Kathmandu and the surrounding areas.
And Deutsche Post DHL deployed its Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Kathmandu to provide logistics support to help manage the incoming international aid and handle the goods at Tribhuvan Kathmandu International Airport.
CEO of Deutsche Post DHL Group, Frank Appel, said: “The massive scale of destruction from the Nepal earthquake has hugely crippled infrastructure and damaged roads and local airports, posing a great logistical challenge towards relief efforts.”
Moreover: “The sudden influx of relief goods at Kathmandu airport challenges the local capacities to distribute these goods in a timely manner to reach beneficiaries. This is the specific logistics support that our DHL Disaster Response Team will provide at the airport. Our team comprises highly trained volunteers who provide logistical expertise to help coordinate the relief aid at the airport for further distribution to the victims in the speediest manner possible.”
A team of DRT volunteers consisting out of DHL employees from countries such as Bahrain, Belgium, Dubai, India, Malaysia and Singapore arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on 27 April and are supported by Gagan Mukhia, Country Manager of DHL Express Nepal. The team will work with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to mobilize and coordinate humanitarian relief efforts in Nepal.
DHL director for humanitarian affairs, Chris Weeks, said that DHL had conducted a “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” (GARD) program with local Nepalese authorities and the United Nations Development Program in 2010 at five airports – TIA (Kathmandu), Nepalganj, Biratnagar, Simara and Pokhara.

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