BEARS ON BOARD 2016-07-05

Unitrans is well-known for its general and oversized cargo transportation. However, as the company was concerned about animal welfare, it openheartedly responded to a request to transport two bear cubs to Bucharest, Romania. Although it has already been the third shipment of live animals for Unitrans after elephants and lemurs, the process was unique and requested special attention: 1. The special thing with this shipment was that “the cargo” was getting bigger and heavier every week: it is not common to weigh bears as it is usually done with other general cargoes. So after the preliminary transportation arrangements, which took about 5 months, it turned out the bears are about 100kg heavier than expected. 2. In addition, the airline was used to transporting small animals, like dogs and cats. Therefore, long discussions and persuasions took place before the airline agreed to transport the bears. 3. Another feature of this shipment was to assure the shortest possible transit time, in order not to exhaust the bears. There was no direct flight from Yerevan to Bucharest, thus a transit flight was arranged with waiting time of four hours and ten minutes at a transit airport. Moreover, this transit time could hardly suffice for EU veterinary checking procedures. It was a big risk, as any question in documentation could cause delays, and the bears could have missed their next flight to the final destination. For this purpose, a pre-approval for cargo documents was obtained from the transit check-point. The whole team of responsible personnel involved in this transportation at the point of origin, transit, and destination, including the shipper and the airline representatives, were at call to ensure smooth handling and transportation of the bears on the agreed day and to take decisions on spot, if necessary. The responsible personnel at the Yerevan customs terminal also acted with understanding, allowing the bears to arrive at the terminal within a special time interval, which is usually not applied to other cargoes. As a result of the well-coordinated and wakeful work of the entire team in different countries, the bears were smoothly loaded into the airplane in Yerevan, passed all the required transit veterinary checks on time, and were transported to the airport of Bucharest without any problem. Within less than two and a half hours after the airplane landed at the destination airport, the Bucharest handling team finalized the customs clearance and terminal handling and loaded the bears on a dedicated truck. Thus, the transportation of the two bear cubs became a good example of interaction between human beings for the sake of animals. Once affected by humans and now dependent on them, the bears now live freely and happily at a bear sanctuary in Romania.