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Humanitarian relief is key to container shipping mission

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
February 15, 2012

Social critics of globalization have long characterized the container shipping industry as a villainous partner in the oppression of the world’s most needy. But here’s another example that counters that perception.

In response to alarming maternal and child mortality rates in Namibia, a middle income, sub-Saharan African nation, Damco and Containers 2 Clinics (C2C) have jointly arrived at a humanitarian solution.

Two re-purposed shipping containers left the Port of Charleston, South Carolina onboard the Safmarine vessel, Maersk Visby, bound for the Port of Walvis Bay, Namibia. Once unloaded, they will be trucked to an informal settlement area called the “DRC” outside Swakopmund limits in the Erongo Region. The two shipping containers then will be placed on a site already prepared.  When the container doors open, a fully-functional, fully-supplied clinic will provide maternal and child health care for people who previously had to travel five kilometers for the nearest medical facility. 

C2C is partnering with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to address the highly-treatable conditions that are the primary causes of neonatal and maternal deaths during childbirth. Damco, in conjunction with Safmarine, both members of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, are providing all overland and ocean transportation services in collaboration with C2C.  This partnership highlights the value of using shipping containers as health facilities. Container clinics are durable and movable, allowing them to be re-located to respond to changing conditions. C2C designs its clinics for the low-resource regions in which they operate, and they arrive already-equipped for laboratory, diagnostic and treatment operations. 

And this is not the first time the industry has responded to a health crisis. In 2010, Damco transported C2C’s first clinic to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, helping to provide essential care to women following that nation’s devastating earthquake. 

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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