Travel reports & stories
Haalboom’s Unusual “Travel Report.”
Haalboom stands for salvation. Salvation of orders that no one else would want to accept because they are deemed unmanageable, too complicated or even too dangerous. That’s nothing new to us.
But the fact that we now stand for the salvation of gods, respectively their 3,000-year-old temples, makes us very happy because good relations – especially at the very top – are a very good reference.
Wait a second, Yeha?
Correct. Yeha, a small village in the rocky, yet quite impressive northern region of Ethiopia near the border with Eritrea, is surrounded by wild deserts and break-neck roads. The special site there is a pre-Christian temple that the German Archeological Institute, a branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, wants to rescue from complete cultural dilapidation. Meaning, special supporting construction material needs to be shipped in two containers from Berlin via Hamburg, Djibouti, Addis Abeba, and finally to the small village of Yeha. And why is it that no one wants to touch this job?
Even if the job weren’t that dangerous, many shipping companies would fail to solve the additional problem of locating a crane in the region. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. But if there is only one single crane rental company within 1,000 kilometers, one should have excellent relations even here, to get access to it.
But the first problem is to even get there in one piece! The dangerous trip takes four weeks just from Berlin to Djibouti. From there a good fi ve days by truck covering the 1,000 kilometers to Addis Abeba, the Ethiopian capital. Then, another 1,000 kilometers to Yeha, via cargo ship right through the Indian Ocean. It’s not easy because pirates are extremely active in that very region. And it won’t get any safer on land: feuding warlords, organized crime, as well as endless “roads” covered in potholes are just a few examples of the many adrenaline rushes that our drivers can expect. We won’t lose contact of our drivers and the trucks with the construction materials.
We’ll regularly report from this journey. And, of course, we’ll get there! Just as we have always done – no matter how dangerous or full of problems it is. We’ll report back.
Why would the word “impossible” still give you hope?
Because an “impossible” situation can only be overcome by courage and skill. And by close and trustful collaboration! This was demonstrated by Hilal from Juba, Alaa from Port Sudan, Kaddidja from Djibouti and – last but not least – the German embassy in Addis Abeba. We owe them all a masterful achievement, accomplished through a high degree of expertise and skill. After over 1,000 km of impassibility – in every meaning of the word – they managed a single point of delivery in Yeha – exactly on time – of the desperately needed containers of construction material.
But what is so particular about two inconspicuous, almost boring, brown boxes?
Flashback? Yeha in Ethiopia (in the far north of the country, close to the border with Eritrea), a small village with a 3,000-year-old Sabaean temple that is in danger of complete dilapidation. Yeha is off the radar and even further removed from the possibility of being reached via any means of transport. It is too far from Berlin (where the necessary construction material originates) and too dangerous to reach by land. Pirates, warriors, criminals and road conditions can mean certain death. Like any other international shipping company, we, too, know that there are complicated missions. But, unlike other companies, we do accept these types of orders considered too impossible, too dangerous and daredevil by our competitors. Other shipping companies might say, “Who cares about an ancient temple somewhere in Africa that needs two containers of special material?”
We said yes, and made it in 91 days from Berlin to Yeha. A four-week sea voyage across a not-always-peaceful ocean was followed by a reception in the Republic of Djibouti’s customs department. The completion requirements made any trip to the authorities in Good Old Germany seem like a walk in the park!
There was endless arguing, entire days spent with discussions about correct or incorrect terms and idioms. For this you need more than just a sane mind. Even we needed nerves of steel!
But our training paid off. The last challenge arose, when we needed to make sure that the only crane existing in a radius of 1,000 kilometers would arrive in Yeha in time. The only thing that would top this challenge would be this crane breaking down …well, that’s exactly what happened!
Keeping calm, quick action and good relations are necessary when one has to acquire special replacement parts for this crane from Addis Abeba (about 18 hours away). And, of course, to locate someone who is able to install these parts and has the time to do it.
The German Archaeological Institute showed confi dence in us all the way through, which was wonderful. We are happy to say that the entire team was once again able to keep their word and provide amazing service no matter how impossible the circumstances.
We have the best connections to Africa!
It’s not a new concept, but the basis for a successful economy is the efficient connection from Point A to Point B. It seems logical, but it’s hardly ever the case. And if the problems start already in Europe with the various railroad systems, then the subject “connection to Africa” is an even more complex one.
For this singular and highly complicated continent, competent engagement is of the utmost importance. And so is our knowledge of people and cultures that help to connect Africa and Europe professionally in the field of transportation.
OTTO HAALBOOM Internationale Spedition has built these valuable connections over decades. Even the southern part of Africa is accessible for larger air freight shipments through the unique cooperation of Haalboom with Air Namibia. The airline will soon upgrade their current fleet of 10 Boeings and Airbuses to 14 aircraft.
Based on the growth rate and the increasing supply problems in Africa, there is a need for reliable transportation for contracts of any size that can be delivered on time, no matter how involved or complicated it is. The right plane, the right ship, the right trucks or trains – in containers, as general cargo or hazardous goods, we can do it. Whether it’s entire quays, cranes, solar complexes, humanitarian goods or highly sensitive luxury goods…
WE MOVE IT. With heart and mind.
Quitters can’t be helpers.
Communication is essential, especially in regions of the world where there is limited accessibility due to unrest and war. You can only overcome these limits with lots of experience and fearless creativity.
Such courage doesn’t come from just any importer or exporter. In such regions, there is a necessity for extensive regional knowledge, possibly by local agents, who can manage cultural as well as infrastructure intricacies.
So, it was not by accident that the following “problem case” landed on the CEO’s desk at OTTO HAALBOOM Internationale Spedition. The job: transportation and construction of a solar complex in Mali, Africa.
The promised photo-voltaic complex that is very important for the area of Mopti in Mali (ca 300 km outside of Timbuktu) was in danger of not arriving at its destination, due to increasing unrest.
The competition said the job was too unsafe, too uncertain, and too unreliable.
But we picked up where the others failed because of our familiarity with the country. We were able to offer smart solutions. In this case, it wasn’t the approach to the transport problem, but the extensive ability to consult and mediate within the West African region. Therefore, once more “to Timbuktu” for us! The sensitive modules were shipped to Africa via airplane.
At the promised time, the photo-voltaic complex is now in Mopti. Haalboom’s own specialists delivered it without any complications.
It’s no accident that Haalboom’s mantra is “No job is too complicated.” We prove it time and time again. This slogan is not only for our clients, but also for the people of this world that depend on our commitment.