A South African business development company, ‘tvg&associates’ (TVG), has launched a project to coordinate the air transport of essential medical supplies to the country, using charter operations. This initiative, dubbed Operation Warhorse, is supported by the South African Association of Freight Forwarders.
The country urgently needs medical supplies and equipment, not only to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to treat pre-existing chronic diseases. But there is high global demand for these supplies. South Africa is in competition with many other countries for these goods, and for air cargo space to transport them. Most commercial aircraft have been grounded, reducing available air cargo volumes. Most flights still operating are concentrated on Europe and North America, with few serving South Africa.
“Collaboration between all parties is essential in the current circumstances and the intention is to ensure a stable and inclusive supply chain facilitated by a channel that offers the highest levels of impartiality, good governance and a seamless interaction with agents in addition to opening the way for smaller businesses to benefit from the initiative,” highlights TVG CEO Teresita van Gaalen. “The initiative has been structured in such a way that apart from sharing the airfreight space, it will be business as usual for each agent.”
“The Warhorse Project aims to facilitate the consolidation of crucial industry volumes and obtain the best utilisation of an aircraft to assist in reducing the cost to market while stabilising the flow of emergency essential goods,” explains Warhorse operations manager (and air freight specialist) Fred du Plessis. “The creation of a reliable frequency based on uptake will also open the way for smaller businesses to benefit from the initiative.”
The team running Warhorse will charter aircraft, pay the costs and then rebill the agents for these costs, on a percentage basis, derived from their share of the cargo transported. The agents will then, in turn, bill their clients in the normal manner. The cargo will be under the control of the agent in South Africa and will be sanitised in full compliance with the standards and other requirements established by the government.
The project is intended to alleviate some of the problems being experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Presently the main focus of the Warhorse team bolstered by industry professionals is to secure cargo space and discussions are ongoing with various airlines, airfreight consolidators and some forwarding agents locally and abroad,” says Van Gaalen. The operation has a website: www.warhorse.africa.