In the remote village of Ngala in northeast Nigeria, it’s 8:00 in the morning and the horizon is hazy. A crew of warehouse workers from the Logistics Sector’s implementing partner eHealth Africa is already hard at work reviewing inventory and preparing for incoming cargo. The Ngala common storage facility is one of seven such sites managed by NGO partners and made available to all humanitarians operating in the northeast.
Partnerships are essential to operations in Nigeria.
The Logistics Sector would not be able to operate without the support of its dedicated partners who run warehouses and help facilitate cargo movements for the rest of the humanitarian community.
Common Storage Services
In December 2016, the first common storage warehouse was opened in Maiduguri, managed by the Logistics Sector and operated by an NGO partner, Premiere Urgence Internationale (PUI). Two years on, there are additional common storage facilities in: Bama and Banki, operated by INTERSOS; Monguno, operated by Solidarites International; Ngala, operated by eHealth Africa; and Dikwa and Damasak, operated by ACTED. By December 2018, the Logistics Sector had facilitated access to more than 6,500 m² of common warehousing throughout the northeast, and had received for storage more than 59,000 m³ of humanitarian items on behalf of 38 organisations. The Logistics Sector also provides capacity support through no-cost loans of mobile storage units to partners on request. This joint cooperation with partners enables the Logistics Sector to provide storage where none is otherwise available to the wider humanitarian community, day after day, in extremely complex circumstances.
Air Cargo Consolidation
Making his daily rounds, Richard Oranu stops by a partner’s warehouse to pick up a consignment and prepare it for delivery to the airport. Richard works for PUI, which has partnered with the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and the Logistics Sector since the beginning of 2017 to facilitate an air cargo consolidation service that saves time and effort when loading cargo, and provides secure storage in cases where the volume of cargo is higher than the capacity of the available helicopter rotations.
For the most urgently needed relief items, such as medicine and therapeutic food supplements, UNHAS is the quickest and most direct means for delivery to the deep field. However, as helicopter transport is very costly and can only carry very limited amounts per rotation, cargo from different organisations needs to be promptly collected, consolidated, and delivered to the airfield to ensure that precious time and resources are put to best use. PUI provides shunting services, picks up cargo from partner locations, and delivers it directly to the tarmac. To date, more than 295 m³ of urgently needed relief items have been consolidated for such airlifts.
Almost all supplies destined for northeast Nigeria are channeled through Maiduguri before moving on by road to their final destinations. With enough relief items to reach more than seven million people in need (OCHA, August 2018) moving along remote roads in volatile and insecure areas, there was a clear need for effective coordination between the humanitarian community and the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF). The Logistics Sector, in support of the Civil-Military coordination function led by OCHA, began consolidating cargo movement notifications and coordinating escorts on behalf of humanitarian partners.
Since November 2016, over 25,000 truck movements have been facilitated through more 7,000 notification forms on behalf of 32 humanitarian organisations.
Without close cooperation with partners, the successful implementation of Logistics Sector activities in northeast Nigeria would not be possible. As 2018 comes to a close, the Sector team would like to say a huge thank you to all of its partners, and we look forward to continued good work in the coming year.
Read more about the Logistics Sector operation in Nigeria here.