Successful heavy cargo transport through high-risk and challenging conditions
Repatriation of Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) from Timbuktu in Mali to Uppsala in Sweden proved that close cross-functional collaboration can safely move a major logistical operation despite high-risk working conditions and challenging terrain.
After 7 years, the Swedish contribution to the peacekeeping mission in Mali was complete. Five (5) vehicles and two (2) trailers weighing up to 29,800 kgs per unit were scheduled to return to Sweden. However, the first 400 km of the mission posed a particularly significant challenge: traversing a desert-like terrain on partly non-paved roads in a high-risk territory with potential danger to personnel and equipment.
Using our specially designed and durable off-road equipment to load and transport the vehicles, the high and heavy cargo crossed empty river beds, was towed through deep sand, and the staff put to the test in the dusty, desert terrain.
To ensure a safe passage from Timbuktu to Mopti and onward to Dakar, the convoy was escorted by the Egyptian Military on behalf of MINUSMA (The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).
Meticulous planning, close collaboration, and continuous communication went into securing an optimum and safe repatriation. The Egyptian Military/MINUSMA provided optimal security and protection of personnel and equipment through extraordinary measures and surveillance throughout the entire route. Their efforts played a pivotal role in enabling SGL to complete the mission.
Contributing to the success were the Mali staff and designated heavy transport drivers. Following a one-week course in UN escort compliance, they put in their excellent driver skills and pulled off the close-to-impossible transport operation.
Mr. Aw Abdoulatif, Managing Director, Mali, explains how teamwork played a significant role in the success of the operation:
“The weight and height of the transport made it a difficult challenge. However, based on our knowledge of the route, we knew it was solvable with our special equipment adaptable to the heavy sand and towing requirements. What made the real difference, though, was the close collaboration with the Egyptian Military and the UN. The convoy was moved as one unit, and when a heavy trailer had to be lifted in the middle of the desert without the right equipment available, the problem was solved by excellent teamwork and creative thinking from all sides.”
The COE was successfully transported to Dakar and shipped back to Uppsala, Sweden.