Luke Whittle, Aviation Security Supervisor
The Aspinall Foundation is a world leading conservation organisation dedicated to bringing the population of endangered animals out of extinction. The animals are born and raised within their reserves until they are ready to be flown back to protected areas of their natural habitat. We were approached to transport one of their endangered Eastern Black Rhinoceros’s Zambezi; the plan was to transport Zambezi from the Port Lympne Reserve back to the Serengeti in Tanzania, where he would be released back into the wilderness to roam free.
Transporting any type of airfreight requires strict security clearance, and for livestock, particularly an energetic, 17-year-old Rhinoceros weighing in at 1,254kg, this can be especially difficult. Screening an animal of this type and weight can be risky and requires direct liaison with the CAA in gaining an acceptable approved protocol. Understandably, many companies would be wary of attempting this, due to the volume of work and thoroughness required to create a protocol that could potentially be negatively received or rejected.
Our pragmatic capabilities are well known within the industry, and through word-of-mouth and just a quick internet search, Mixed Freight Services were approached by Lydd Airport to assist with the screening of Zambezi; we were eager to take on the challenge.
The Aspinall Foundation were understandably unaware of the technical security steps required to be taken in order to transport a Rhinoceros securely, and required thorough guidance from the beginning. From the initial proposal, up until Zambezi was handed over to the aircraft, we were in constant direct communication with the Port Lympne Reserve.
The level of security involved in an unusual protocol like this must prove to be extremely precise in order to gain CAA approval, and we were very equipped and technically knowledgeable to ensure this standard would be maintained throughout the process; all staff concerned with the transportation, handling, and health of the Rhino were given a security briefing prior to commencement. Screening ‘cargo’ of this type requires an appropriately trained member of staff to carry out the initial first steps of engagement, the security screening and up until completion of transport.
This member of staff, Luke Whittle, our Aviation Security Supervisor (pictured), was also required to conduct a thorough background check and risk assessment of Zambezi’s health and handlers weeks before any screening processes could be considered. Once all necessary background checks were complete, the screening could begin; a process throughout which Luke was required to use specific technical equipment at all times.
Completing the mission
Upon completion of all required steps in conjunction with the approved protocol, Zambezi was declared secure cargo, making him safe to fly. Zambezi was loaded into a Mixed Freight Services approved vehicle to be transported to Lydd Airport; this was followed by an escort vehicle in which Luke was present throughout the journey and ensured the vehicle remained in sight at all times; not only for the added security purposes, but in aiding the emergency response team in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
We were consequently able to successfully and confidently write up a CAA approved protocol to have the rhinoceros safely screened and transported. Zambezi’s lively temperament made it challenging as he was unwilling to cooperate at first, however, with much patience, we were able to screen him and transport him to Lydd Airport so he could be flown out.
When you entrust your air cargo movements to a business with over 35 years’ experience, a wealth of industry knowledge and connections, you’d be right to have high expectations. We work round-the-clock to screen, handle and move your shipments, securely and safely.
Project Zambezi demonstrated how our years of expertise and knowledge in aviation security screening and secure supply chains culminated into one of our biggest projects. Producing off-site specific protocols is a challenging endeavour, requiring governmental approval and a depth of industry knowledge that many other logistics companies are not equipped with.
At Mixed Freight, we’ve transported and handled abnormal cargos that require bespoke knowledge and skills internationally for over 25 years. Contact us today and place your trust in our ability and commitment to delivering your cargo safely and efficiently with our dedicated team.