At Maersk Line, we believe that we are more than the sum of our vessels. We play an important role in the communities where we operate, also in times of crisis. In 2014, Maersk Group reaffirmed its long-term commitment to Ebola-hit countries by USD1 million donation to the UN humanitarian relief efforts. Maersk Line ensured continued services to the continent and extra equipment enabling trade and ensuring a regular flow of food and relief supplies.
With the overall goal of preventing massive disruptions in trade and aid relief, the Maersk Group leveraged on its core competences, assets, and active UN partnership enrollment, and thereby assisted in containing the outbreak.
Keeping trade lanes open:
In Liberia, one of the most severely affected countries; Maersk Line, accounts for 75% of the total seaborne trade flows. Also the port of Monrovia is operated by the Maersk Group business unit APM Terminals and manages 99% of the import/export flow.
Maersk Line ensured continued weekly calls to Liberia, Conakry and Sierra Leone dedicating four vessels in one specific loop to enable trade in these countries. APMT continued operating the port while taking precautionary measures following WHO advice. Keeping the Ebola-hit countries connected to global trade and aid relief has thus been one of the biggest contributions.
Safety as paramount:
Keeping business as usual during the outbreak required rigorous health and safety measures to protect port employees, seafarers and contractors alike. The efforts and campaigns were successfully carried out with high discipline sticking to stringent protocols and no workers have contracted the disease to date.
Community support through UN partnership:
Beyond keeping the economy running, trade lanes and ports are crucial in sustaining the humanitarian relief supply chain.
Through the Group’s partnership with the UN Logistics Cluster led by the World Food Programme, a USD1 million contribution in pro-bono services was allocated to support their relief efforts. 11,000 tonnes of shipping capacity were donated, more than 480 containers of food, medical supplies and vehicles from around the world to the affected countries were transported. In addition, 72 containers and 11 reefers were donated for storage purposes in warehouses and medical centres and more than 25 humanitarian organizations were supported.
Community support through government relations:
APM Terminals Monrovia built and donated an Ebola treatment centre for the Liberian government, consisting of 50 tents for 100 patients, 10 tents for doctors and staff, showers, toilets and a disposal site. The tents were made of plastic liners donated by Maersk Line.
If port operations had ceased or trade lanes had been affected, the global efforts to fight Ebola would have been severely hampered. Despite the logistical and operational challenges posed by the Ebola threat, the Maersk Group stood up to its social responsibility and played a vital role in enabling the supply of aid and relief cargo as well as minimizing damages to local economies. These are all efforts that work to demonstrate the Group’s long-term commitment to the region.