World Courier is proud to serve as the official logistics partner to the Tara Ocean Foundation and lately, to the Tara Pacific mission (2016-2018), a research mission working to understand the environmental impact to the world’s oceans.
World Courier has supported the Tara Ocean Foundation’s mission around the world, proudly serving as the legendary research schooner’s official logistics partner for the past 5 years. World Courier assisted the Foundation across in the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. For her 2016-2018 voyage, World Courier joins Tara across Asia Pacific to examine the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution in response to climate change and anthropic disturbances.
World Courier has been entrusted with the critical role of transporting 40,000 coral reef samples from the schooner to the 26 institutions and collaborating research laboratories worldwide – a remarkable mission with zero room for error.
Precision is vital when it comes to the packing and shipping of the coral reef samples, due to their fragility. Coral reefs cover less than 0.2% of the oceans’ floor, yet host 30% of marine biodiversity. To this day, 20% of coral reefs have been destroyed, 15% are seriously injured and 20% may disappear in less than 40 years. Coral reefs are critical to the health of the ocean and to mankind. They are also extremely fragile.
An extraordinary mission such as Tara Pacific calls for extraordinary measures in all aspects of its organization, including logistics. The samples collected must be kept at a temperature of -80 °C at all times. To do so, World Courier uses dry ice shippers facilitated by a team of logistics specialists with in-depth knowledge on temperature-controlled shipments.
In less than 48 hours, the samples must be packed and shipped from Tara’s location in the Pacific Ocean to their analysis laboratory – the majority will go to Paris-based CEA Genoscope. Depending on the sampling protocol, some zooplankton samples will be shipped at ambient temperature, in buffered ethanol solutions. Despite the mix of water and ethanol, the shipments require to be classified as dangerous goods, which adds to regulatory compliance challenges. Because Tara Pacific focuses on coral RNA and DNA, the samples are considered as endangered species and therefore have to meet regulations set under the CITES treaty. The samples being irreplaceable, further efforts are required to satisfy authorities, including the completion of mounds of paperwork to absolute perfection.
Tara Pacific covered nearly 100,000 km around the Pacific Ocean for more than 2 years, the 70 scientists collecting 40,000 coral reef samples. The expedition will comprise more than 70 stopovers and visit 30 countries. Each step of the way, World Courier agents will do whatever it takes to successfully accomplish this mission.
About World Courier
World Courier is a global specialty logistics company that designs supply chain programs in complete alignment with its customers’ business goals. Pharmaceutical companies rely on its unsurpassed knowledge, global reach and flawless supply chain execution, as they bring them peace of mind. Each trusted partnership they form with a customer is deeply rooted in a shared vision of improving global health. With 2,000+ associates in more than 140 offices across the globe, World Courier offers solutions that instill confidence in the on-time, on-temperature delivery of critical products.
Meet Rainer Friedrich, Project Manager for World Courier Deutschland and Logistics Manager on the Tara Pacific expedition. His job is to coordinate the complete logistics of the sample shipments. This includes planning and communications with all parties involved, and ensuring meticulous completion of all necessary paperwork and packaging of the samples on board. His past experience serving Tara Oceans from 2009 through 2013 has taught him not to expect anything — in other words, that anything can happen.
“Whenever you coordinate an expedition like this, you can figure out a plan A, but you always have to figure out a plan B or a plan C,” says Friedrich. “The original foundation of the logistics is ideal, but I’ve learned you can’t be sure of anything.” – Rainer Friedrich, Project Manager for World Courier Deutschland and Logistics Manager on the Tara Pacific expedition
His biggest concern with Tara Pacific at present: Making sure the export/import permits are in place for every city and managing against temperature excursions in remote areas with high heat like American Samoa. “You have to plan out a tight schedule”, says Friedrich. “What date and time will we arrive in Samoa? What date and time will World Courier’s New York office need to send the dry ice? How quickly can we import? All these little details must be approached with great care — and everything has to come together very quickly.”