Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shipping Methods - Getting it to Mosul

Now lets discuss the mechanics of getting stuff to Mosul.

Several commercial carriers take stuff to Iraq, but as far as I know only FedEx carries stuff to civilian addresses in Mosul at this time. Others tend to serve only US military addresses because of the security situation.

Many chemotherapy drugs need to be refrigerated. Exposure to the daytime temperatures in Iraq (up to ~120F) could seriously impact their shelf life or even render them useless. In the USA, such drugs are normally shipped packed with ice in insulated packages via overnight "next day air" fast carriers like FedEx.

In Iraq's current turmoil, overnight shipments to civilian addresses like the hospital are simply not practical, even via FedEx. FedEx shipments to civilian addresses in Mosul including the hospital travel seem to travel by land from Baghdad to Mosul and have sometimes been turned back by security roadblocks between the two cities. FedEx transit time from US and European origins to Mosul in 2005 have been between 11 to 23 days.

FedEx service to US military destinations in Mosul is separate and distinct from service to civilian addresses. The Mosul airport is under currently US military control . FedEx shipments to military personnel and civilian contractors in Mosul travel via air from Dubai to Mosul, and transit times to Mosul from US shipping origins can be less than 3 days. FedEx does not provide service from US controlled areas at or near Mosul airport to civilian addresses in Mosul. However, shipments delivered to Mosul airport can be picked up by a vehicle sent by the hospital or transferred by other means to the hospital. Because shipping chemotherapy drugs packed in ice requires minimizing transit time, it has been necessary to develop and utilize contacts with personnel at the airport.

FedEx uses an associate shipping company, Falcon Express Inc., to deliver shipments to destinations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and Yemen (see FedEx press release). FedEx shipments to Iraq seem to be routed through Dubai, and Falcon Express contacts in Dubai have been very helpful in ensuring that shipments of chemotherapy drugs are protected from the extreme heat of the Middle East during any layovers there and expediting shipments.

In summary, FedEx and it's associate company Falcon Express have proved capable of delivering chemotherapy drugs to Mosul, and methods have been established for getting shipments of drugs packed in ice to refrigeration Mosul within a workable transit time when the drugs require refrigeration.

This seems kind of dry and boring and unexciting, even simple, until you have been involved in it personally and understood the sincere concern of a rather large group of people working together to hurry a shipment of lifesaving drugs to it's destination safely. I count more than 100 email messages related to the last shipment, and I know the sincerity in the hearts of all involved.


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Blogger waldschrat said...

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