A Fascinating Baby Elephants' Journey
 
Apr 02, 2019
Category:

A fascinating story of a journey arranged to deliver a Myanmar Government’s present to Moscow. In order to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Russian Federation, the Government of Myanmar presented to Russia three minor four-year-old elephants: Hsu, Swe and Nyein. It was determined that Moscow City Government would be the animals’ new owner and that the famous Grandpa Durov’s Corner Theatre would provide a new accommodation for the young travelers. The theater’s staff faced a tough task: shipping those generous presents from Myanmar to Russia.

Bolloré Logistics Myanmar in partnership with Major Cargo Service / Moscow Aviation Hub has been awarded to handle this project. At first, the job appeared quite ordinary: arranging an airfreight shipment of several animals from Yangon International Airport to a Moscow airport. However, further negotiations revealed that a number of auxiliary services would have to be provided, such as to ensure fabricating cages to fit the elephants nicely in accordance with the plane’s cargo door dimensions, to supply sufficient amounts of fodder and make sure absorbent bedding were all in place, procuring various permits (CITES, a certificate of origin, a vet certificate, etc.), synchronizing with the airport teams for the necessary to receive the elephants, load the cages onto the chartered plane, taking care of the export and import customs clearance and veterinary control procedures and, finally, transferring the animals from the arrival airport to Grandpa Durov’s Corner Theatre, downtown Moscow.

This mission seemed impossible indeed. Merely arranging an airfreight shipment for such cargo isn’t a task a logistics operator would routinely perform; the requirement to provide quite exotic additional services, though, doubled or tripled its difficulty.

Once the customer had provided us with all necessary details, we started working out a logistics solution. Having talked to the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (the Russian veterinary regulator), to the customer and our different teams, we finally drafted a list of service providers to find an animal cage manufacturer, a sawdust provider and an elephant fodder provider in Myanmar; we found the necessary cargo handling equipment and freight vehicles. In Russia, we contracted a charter airline willing to fly their aircraft with live animals on board. Both Bolloré Logistics Myanmar and Major Cargo Service representatives ensured smooth interaction and coordination between the multiple parties involved in the process.

Unforeseen obstacles
The elephants’ journey was expected to take place in September, i.e., within three months from the time our customer first asked us to arrange this shipment. We didn’t believe that any obstacles could come up which would cause us to reschedule the delivery; however, we soon discovered that things were turning out a lot tougher than we’d expected.

For starters, the consignor had difficulties preparing the documents required for the veterinary control in Russia. Vet certificates issued in Myanmar had multiple deviations from the standard prescribed by the Russian veterinary regulator. We had to step in and help in reaching a compromise between the strict requirements of the Russian law and the capabilities of the Myanmar veterinary service.

The next surprise was that we’d been given different information about the elephants’ dimensions. Animals’ height is usually measured at the withers; however, for freight purposes it is important to measure these animals at the highest point of their body, i.e., the hump. As we received updated details, we had to ask the cage manufacturer to alter the cage sizes; we also had to discuss every extra inch with the air carrier to make sure that our exotic cargo would still fit into the aircraft old.

A happy ending
By mid-November, we had finally sorted everything. Also, we had purchased plenty of fruits for the time they’d spend within these cages (an entire 24 hours!) and had all the paperwork in place. Once the freight plane landed in Moscow Vnukovo Airport, handling operations started: the elephants were reloaded from the aircraft directly into warm road freight vehicles in which they remained until we completed all customs and vet control procedures.

A short while later the elephants had been cleared by the customs. Thus, all remaining formalities were completed, and the animals were carried by road to their new home, Grandpa Durov’s Corner Theatre.

Just like in the rest of South East Asia, elephants are considered sacred animals in Myanmar and their safety and well-being was our biggest concern. Thanks to the dedication of the team that stayed with them every step of the way, this operation was a great achievement professionally, but more importantly humanly. We would also like to thank all the parties involved for their support to make this adventure a real success.

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About Bolloré Logistics
Bolloré Logistics, a brand of Bolloré Transport & Logistics, is a global leader in supply chain management ranking among the world’s top 10 in transport and logistics with an integrated network of 616 offices in 106 countries. www.bollore-logistics.com

Jim BROULEAU
Regional Marketing & Communication Manager – Asia Pacific
Bollore Logistics Asia Pacific - Regional Branch Bangkok
75/68 Richmond Building 19/F, Sukhumvit Soi 26,
Sukhumvit Rd., Klongton, Klongtoey - 10110
Bangkok - Thailand
Tel: +66 2260 8219 HP: + 66 8 1371 0758
jim.brouleau@bollore.com - bollore-logistics.com

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