The sky’s the limit for DHL when it comes to unusual shipments
DHL has provided an overview of three of the more unusual shipments it carried on its aircraft in 2023, ranging from manatees to bobsleds.
The best side of humanity
In October, the parcels and logistics giant flew three manatees – Soleil, Calliope and Piccolina – more than 1,000 miles from Cincinnati in Ohio to Orlando in the state of Florida.
DHL transported the animals, which weighed between 750 to 1,000 pounds, in custom-built containers on a specially scheduled cargo plane and a veterinarian monitored the animals’ condition throughout the flight.
The containers included 8-inch-thick foam beds and blankets to keep the manatees warm. In addition, to ensure that their bodies stayed moist, they were constantly misted with water.
State wildlife officials had rescued the three as tiny, orphaned calves in Florida in 2021 before they were transported to Cincinnati Zoo to help them gain weight and grow big enough to be returned to the wild. ZooTampa is now taking care of their final stage of rehabilitation.
Early next year, they will be released back into Florida’s waters.
The key to a long life?
In April 2023, DHL made a last-minute rescue possible for a small bird in need after a man from Germany had locked his apartment and accidentally taken the key with him on a trip to Tunisia.
“In the apartment, the little bird was in urgent need of food and water, so the man had to get the key back to his home country immediately,” DHL said.
“Within just a few hours, DHL flew the key some 1,200 miles from Tunis Airport to the DHL Hub in Leipzig. A DHL service team quickly located the key amid the many other shipments from Tunisia.”
The man’s partner picked up the key directly at the Leipzig Hub. Later, she sent DHL a thank you letter, confirming a happy outcome: She was able to get to the bird in time – without breaking down the door.
In October 2023, DHL delivered 21 bobsleds from Cologne, Germany, to Yanqing in China. The 4 m long sledges belonged to athletes from several European nations who needed them for the start of the Bobsleigh World Cup.
DHL picked the equipment up from the national bobsleigh federations and first brought it to Cologne.
The next stop was Luxembourg, from where DHL flew all the sleds about 5,000 miles to Beijing.
“Two trucks finally took them to the Olympic sliding track in Yanqing,” DHL said. “As many athletes trained until the last minute, the transport was very time critical, leaving no room at all for delays.
“At the same time, professional bobsleds are finely tuned precision machines, accurately adjusted and calibrated to their respective pilots. Therefore, they must be handled very carefully.”
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