In a news conference from the White House Rose Garden on March 29, President Trump said, “FEMA is working with these companies to launch Project Airbridge to expedite the movement of critical supplies from other countries to the United States.”
“UPS Healthcare, and our full portfolio of services, is providing a suite of highly-choreographed logistics solutions in support of Project Airbridge,” said UPS Chairman and CEO, David Abney. “In addition to managing and brokering air freight flights, UPS is ramping up around-the-clock operations to provide receipt of PPE and kitting for distribution to hospitals and hot spots around the country. We are bringing the full power of our integrated global logistics network to bear to assist FEMA in the pandemic fight.”
The first charter flights have already arrived, and will continue for the next two weeks. In total, the 25 UPS-managed flights will carry more than three million pounds of materials – the equivalent of 14 full Boeing 747 freighters. Cargo will include masks, surgical gowns, gloves, medical swabs and thermometers.
Led by FEMA and the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, Project Airbridge is a partnership between UPS and large U.S. healthcare distributors including Cardinal Health and others, and the U.S. federal government. UPS is providing air freight brokerage services on third-party aircraft, as well as on UPS-owned aircraft. Goods will be distributed at the direction of FEMA to hospitals and COVID-19 hot spots throughout the country.
Simultaneously, UPS’s Healthcare division opened a new 450,000 square-foot healthcare distribution center on April 4, with dedicated space for FEMA. The facility is located just a few miles from UPS Worldport, the company’s automated global air hub, in Louisville, KY. With that proximity, UPS has the ability to quickly fulfill orders for delivery overnight, anywhere in the U.S.
The UPS Supply Chain Solutions business unit offers transportation and freight services, logistics and distribution, consulting, and customs brokerage services – and FEMA is taking advantage of almost every aspect of UPS Supply Chain Solutions’ capabilities.