In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Massachusetts was among the early “hot spots” for infections in the U.S., the global trade experts at the MSBDC Export Center were called upon to assist with desperately-needed imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies. The Export Center was tapped by a major area hospital and even healthcare workers unions to help facilitate challenging PPE shipments being imported from China. The Export Center provided extensive global trade technical assistance to these organizations and also linked them with service providers, such as OCEANAIR, that could help to arrange critical support services for the PPE import shipments.
OCEANAIR’s support for this initiative expanded when the hospital partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to help with the Commonwealth’s own efforts to import PPE, which had been through numerous challenging setbacks up until that point. Through those challenges, the Commonwealth realized that it needed to charter its own flights, flown directly into Massachusetts, in order to securely deliver the PPE needed by frontline workers in the state. OCEANAIR arranged and managed the charter, coordinating with multiple suppliers of PPE in China and orchestrating a series of six flights to successfully deliver over 7 million pieces of PPE for this emergency humanitarian airlift mission.
We were delighted and honored to support our hospitals and front-line workers in obtaining the PPE they needed and deserved. Importation of PPE in the current environment is a complex, high-stakes undertaking. We are deeply appreciative of the dedication, skill and initiative employed by OCEANAIR to make it happen.
In my 42 years in the global trade industry, this was one of the most memorable, important and meaningful initiatives that I have had the pleasure to be a part of. And it would not have been possible without the support of the MA Small Business Development Center Network and the Massachusetts Export Center. We truly value their partnership and they play an important role in bringing together the global trade community in Massachusetts.
Members of the OCEANAIR team met each of the six flights to supervise unloading and have managed numerous follow-on ocean shipments of PPE from China for the initiative.