Logistics leaders Agility, Maersk, TNT Express, and UPS are offering vital warehousing, transport, and logistics support in the current emergency in the Central Philippines, to ensure that critical relief supplies reach those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The four companies make up the Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs), a cross-company partnership that supports humanitarian relief efforts during natural disasters.

The LETs are responding to a request for assistance by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which in addition to being the frontline agency fighting hunger, also leads the Logistics Cluster, which coordinates the logistical response of the humanitarian community in times of disaster.

Super typhoon Haiyan, the fourth most intense tropical cyclone in recorded history and possibly the strongest to have ever hit land, began life as a cluster of thunderstorms in the warm Northwest Pacific waters of the Federated States of Micronesia. According to the UN, more than 11 million people have been affected, almost a million people have been displaced, and 4,460 people are reported dead.

“Partnership and close coordination of relief efforts is essential during a large-scale disaster such as Typhoon Haiyan,” explains Thomas Thompson, Head of the WFP-led Logistics Cluster. “We are fortunate to have the expertise and many offers of support from our LET partners, who have come together to help the Filipino people.”

The assistance from the LET partners includes logistical support, such as the facilitation of customs guidance for relief goods brought in by the humanitarian community. In addition to staff and expertise, LET partners have also offered access to operational assets such as trucks, vessels, barges, forklifts, refrigerated containers and warehouses.

“Agility and its LET partners are ready to help the Philippine government speed assistance to the areas and people most in need,” said Tarek Sultan, Chairman and CEO of Agility. “Chaos and disorder inevitably follow a tragedy of this magnitude. The LET teams can deploy experienced logistics professionals and pool resources in a way that increase the efficiency of efforts led by the government and humanitarian groups.”

“UPS has a long history of working with disaster relief organizations to deliver critical, life-saving aid to communities in need around the world,” said Eduardo Martinez, President, The UPS Foundation. “The victims of Typhoon Haiyan are facing many hardships. Last week, UPS pledged $1 million in financial and logistical support to organizations that will provide assistance in the days, weeks and months ahead. By doing so, we are helping ensure impacted citizens have a reliable, efficient and predictable path back to recovery.”   

“TNT Express appreciates this opportunity to offer logistical support to the victims of typhoon Haiyan. By delivering assistance where it’s most needed, we can help the victims rebuild their lives,” said Jan Ernst de Groot, Managing Director External Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, TNT Express.

“The efficient deployment of logistics expertise in the first phase of an emergency can be crucial in providing medicine, food and shelter to minimize human suffering. With our logistics and transport expertise and equipment, the Maersk Group is ready to assist the Philippine government and the UN to respond to this tragic disaster and help pave the way for a speedy recovery,” said Nils S. Andersen, CEO of the Maersk Group.

In addition to providing warehousing and transport assets, the LET partners provide expertise and local knowledge to support the response of the entire humanitarian community in getting food, shelter, and health and water sanitation items to the communities most affected.

The LET initiative is the first multi-company commitment to the humanitarian sector and was launched in 2008 at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Central to the LET model is the partnership of otherwise competing companies utilizing their corporate expertise, local resources, and relationships in support of humanitarian relief efforts in response to natural disasters.