WHEN Allseas Global Logistics was contracted to source, assemble, pack and deliver all the materials, components, vehicles, equipment and supplies required to create a base camp for mine workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s remote jungle, the company knew that it had a real challenge on its hands.
But thanks to meticulous planning, inventive thinking and a major element of flexibility and resourcefulness, Allseas delivered every item on time and in one piece.
Now the development and execution of the project has been given the ultimate accolade by the industry, earning Allseas a prestigious award. In recognition of the unique challenges involved in this project, Allseas was named winner of the Project Forwarding Award at the annual BIFA (British International Freight Association) Freight Service Awards.
Allseas, headquartered in Newark with UK offices in Brighouse, Tilbury, Felixstowe and Swinderby, and with a network of offices worldwide, put together a complex package of transport via air freighter, ship and specialist barge to meet the very specific requirements of client Rio Tinto, which needed a temporary base camp for 30 workers on a diamond mine exploration project.
This package of transport solutions included twice landing a fully loaded Ilyushin 76 on the short, unlit, unmanned Isiro airstrip in the remote Congo jungle, seven miles from the camp site; gathering together 30 off-road and all-terrain vehicles, each one packed with equipment, from three African states; barging these vehicles up the Congo River on a newly built specialist barge, taller than normal and with strengthened vehicle load ramps; and creating a road through the remote jungle to the final destination.
Allseas broke new ground in every sense – opening up a route that had not been used since Congo was a Belgian colony more than 50 years ago.
Portable buildings, generators, water filtration units, camp furniture, satellite communication systems, surveying and mining equipment, medical equipment, cooking equipment and food were all delivered, as well as the fleet of vehicles, all being relocated from mining sites across Africa. The task even called for the delivery, by air, of a fuel bowser filled with 20,000 litres of highly flammable AV-Gas.
Bureaucracy, politics, lack of infrastructure and underlying problems of corruption all added up to some extremely difficult working conditions.
“We are really delighted to have won the BIFA Project Forwarding Award,” said Allseas Managing Director Andrew Morris. “This was a tremendously challenging project – and also one that gave us a huge amount of satisfaction for a job well done. This award is real recognition of the efforts put in by so many people within the Allseas Group.
“We began the project with six months of planning and reconnaissance. As a group, we employ nearly 100 people; at various stages of the project, we were dipping into the resources of every one of our areas, including our sister company, International Export Packers.”
Morris headed up the project personally, drawing on his considerable experience working in extreme locations and conditions. As Worldwide Ambassador for the Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust (REACT), he was also very concerned about protecting the environment.
“This was a project in virgin forest. Working in a way that was not destructive to this precious environment was number one for us, and we would not have got involved without assurances from the client. Rio Tinto’s ethical and environmental policies were very important to us. We were pleased to discover they had already sent in 20 botanists to ensure minimal disruption to the environment.”
The Project Forwarding Award was presented to Andrew Morris at the BIFA Annual Lunch and Awards Ceremony in London by Jean-Pierre Dutaut, General Manager, Sales at OOCL, which sponsored the award. Members of the Rio Tinto project team joined Allseas representatives at the award lunch.
Caption: (left to right) Andrew Melton (Chairman of BIFA), Andrew Morris (Allseas) and football referee Graham Poll, who hosted the BIFA Awards ceremony in London.