AIA becomes first air cargo company to partner with Mercy Ships

General sales and service agent (GSSA) Airbridge International Agencies (AIA) has become the first air cargo company based in the UK to partner with Mercy Ships for the charity’s annual Cargo Day initiative.

Mercy Ships Cargo Day has been running for two years, and is a fundraising campaign that asks the shipping industry to unite on one specific day – 3 October – to donate cargoes, commissions, address commissions and individual pledges to Mercy Ships.

The money raised helps to fund Mercy Ships medical programmes in every country that its hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, visits.

Last year, ship owners, charterers, brokers, port agents and inspection companies united to donate more than £500,000 to the charity.

Mercy Ships is looking to smash that target in 2018, and is calling on the air cargo industry to partner with them for Cargo Day, in order to bring urgent medical care to people in Africa who desperately need it. AIA is the first UK air cargo company to respond to that call.

AIA chief executive officer, Mark Andrew said: “For AIA it just looked like a perfect match to find a charity that is involved in logistics like us. With Mercy Ships, you are giving to an organisation that is actively going out to different places to heal people – be it children or adults – so every day is different.

“AIA is one of the largest independent cargo General Sales Agents, and we represent a number of airlines that can potentially offer airfreight capacity for urgent needs that perhaps the shipping industry cannot match in terms of transit time. Our aim is to get the airfreight industry involved in Mercy Ships Cargo Day alongside us, and see if we can get some additional donations.”

Mercy Ships UK corporate partnership manager, Charlene Cree said this year, it hopes other air cargo companies will follow their example and join thecampaign too.

Mercy Ships operates the largest charity-run hospital ship in the world, delivering free, safe medical care to some of the world’s poorest countries. This “floating hospital” is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, who give their expertise for free to help treat dental and eye problems, cleft lips and palates, tumours, club feet, childbirth injuries, burns and a variety of other conditions.