While international passenger travel has been severely restricted through the Covid-19 crisis, international freight forwarding has continued across the globe in spite of issues posed by the pandemic.

Relay's international assignments, undertaken in cooperation with our long-standing freight forwarding partner Tech Cargo, have included a major ongoing exercise in transport and logistics undertaken for a UK Government Agency.

Worldwide multi-site deliveries for a UK Government Agency

Protecting Staff and Visitors

This project, which began about six months ago, has involved the delivery of mailroom x-ray scanners to multiple sites across the world. Their advanced technology offers a means of protection which is vital for staff and visitors alike.

Supplied by Cambridge based Todd Research, a global expert in threat detection, this sophisticated X-ray equipment is a powerful asset for safety and security within mailrooms for many high-profile organisations – from Government sites to banks. The units include advanced image recognition technology. This will quickly identify the material composition of scanned objects within parcels and other postal enclosures, accurately pinpointing any level of threat.

The delivery and installation of this equipment has required meticulous planning and highly efficient lines of communication, testing the strength and reliability of Relay's international network of partners and agents. The different rates of Covid-19 infection in different international regions, and the varied local restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus, have made this a particularly challenging logistical exercise.

Shipment challenges

The dimensions of the x-ray scanning equipment pose particular challenges for cargo shipment by air freight. Since each unit is 175 cm high, there has been main deck capacity only for the airline. The height also means that the packaged machines are unable to pass through X-ray, so security procedures had to be carried out before arrival at the airport's point of departure.

Tech Cargo's Greg Frost has explained that Covid-19 has created unique difficulties for the air cargo shipments. He says that: "While deliveries to some sites on the European mainland can be undertaken by road, the majority of consignments require to be transported by air. With passenger air transport at a standstill, available capacity has been greatly reduced, which has created challenges in the scheduling of our planned delivery programme."

Access and communication

Following clearance at the destination airport, the equipment is delivered according to a schedule agreed with the local site. Difficult access problems, which Relay is remarkably skilled at addressing, have to be overcome in many cases before the machines can be unpacked and positioned, ready for staff to use.

Greg also mentions that the need for members of staff to be on hand in order to gain access has required an intense level of communication, partly because many of them have been working from home during the pandemic.

A demonstration of logistics expertise

Our long experience and skills in the transport, logistics and handling of fragile, bulky and valuable electronic equipment have proved to be vital assets, as they have on so many occasions!

Caroline Banks of Todd Research commented: "In spite of the extraordinary difficulties the pandemic is causing throughout the world, this international delivery programme of our x-ray scanning units for our client has so far gone remarkably smoothly. The freight forwarding and logistics expertise demonstrated by the Relay and Tech Cargo partnership has been very impressive."