Portal - March/April 2021
PORTAL FOCUS: South Asia
Move One—Overcoming Obstacles in Afghanistan
By Curt Clements, CEO, Move One Relocations
The September 11 attacks, which are permanently scarred in our memories, changed the world. This event triggered the United States’ initiative to combat terrorism and led to the longest wars in American history. Days after 9/11, as the U.S. military prepared its entry and invasion of Afghanistan, also known as the ‘Graveyard of Empires,’ Move One was there ready to take action in providing the logistics support needed in one the most remote, logistically challenging countries on the planet.
Afghanistan is a made up of dry desert and jagged mountain peaks which are snow covered nearly all year around. The Hindu Kush mountain peaks exceed 24,000 feet and provide a Northern barrier. Brutal weather combined with a limited paved road network make road travel difficult. Afghanistan is located over 7,000 air miles from the United States, and over 1,200 road miles (and across one international border) to the nearest deep-water port. This remote country would play host to more than 100,000 U.S. and coalition troops and over 200,000 contractors at the peak of the deployment in just a few years.
By the end of October 2001, Move One had established offices in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in order to support the Afghanistan logistics requirements. By early 2002, Move One’s expansion included physical offices in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
The size, scope and complexity of this deployment was immense. Move One grew from a small operation, with only about 200 employees in East Europe and the Balkans, to more than 3,000 employees supporting offices in 20 countries; including more than 10 offices in Afghanistan.
With the invasion of Iraq in 2003, additional stresses were placed on the Military’s global supply chain. As the U.S. began to reposition troops and equipment out of Afghanistan to support expanded operations in Iraq, the flow of life support and base construction supplies and equipment into Afghanistan only accelerated. Movement of goods by surface, while the most cost-effective, became constantly mired in delays and political gamesmanship. The U.S. military was also pivoting to utilize more civilian aircraft to carry their equipment as well as provide airside operations to handle these aircraft. As their staff and equipment were brought in, Move One established handling operations in Bagram, Kandahar and Kabul.
At peak, Move One was handling up to 100 aircraft per week including over 8-10 million kilos of cold chain goods per month. As troop levels have slowly reduced, Move One has transitioned to support reconstruction, AID and commercial cargo including courier operations as the ASC (Authorized Service Contractor) for UPS in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What’s Next for Move One?
With extensive knowledge and experience in handling cold chain goods, Move One is working very closely with their global partners and NGO partners to plan the effective distribution of COVID vaccines as well as other vaccines through the region. There a major need for an effective rollout of these essential vaccines and medicines during this critical time, as well as a far greater long-term need to rebuild public health. Move One can ensure the effective integration into global supply and health networks. If a country has been able to transition from many decades of war, they will need to restart their local industry. Move One is positioned to be part of the solution to tie these countries to their global customers and suppliers, which will provide them with the resources necessary to thrive.