Shortly after COVID-19 hit British Columbia, Concord Pacific recognized that they were in a unique position to help. This led them to make the bold and generous move to source, ship, and donate 1 million masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to front line workers across the province. Canaan Group was honoured at the invitation to assist them in this meaningful work.
As COVID-19 cases grew in our province, hospitals, care homes, and businesses had difficulty finding enough PPE supplies to protect their staff. With connections in Asia, Concord Pacific was able to source and purchase large quantities of masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and other PPE supplies from various factories.
Although Concord Pacific is Canada’s largest community builder, they had little experience with importing products. With the mutual connection of St. Paul’s Hospital, they contacted us for assistance because of our experience in importing PPE supplies to various health authorities in BC and Ontario. Our team was thrilled at the opportunity to serve them from beginning to end.
The project included several shipments. The immediate need for masks led us to decide to transport the first shipment by air, so it could arrive in the shortest amount of time. For the remainder of the 1 million masks, we decided to use ocean shipping, which was a more economical option but required 3 weeks to arrive.
Being a complex project, we had to coordinate with multiple Asian suppliers to schedule the shipments. With over 74 overseas offices, Canaan Group had local teams assist with the logistics, customs, and processes at the origin cities. Prior to shipping, our customs team had to ensure all the products met the requirements and standards of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Health Canada. Since hand sanitizers contained alcohol, it was considered dangerous cargo which had additional regulations and compliance requirements, including obtaining proper licensing from the factories.
Once our teams confirmed that all regulations were met, we coordinated with the suppliers to transport all supplies to be loaded into containers. The containers were trucked to ports in Asia and loaded onto ocean liners that crossed the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver. They were then unloaded at the port, where we sent our truckers to pick up the containers. Upon arrival at our facility, they cleared customs, and were then distributed to the City of Vancouver, City of Richmond, City of Burnaby, and other municipalities, which each distributed them to places like local hospitals, care homes, businesses, and the vulnerable.
Outside of British Columbia, Concord Pacific is also donating masks and PPE supplies to Ontario, including the City of Toronto and North York Hospital, as well as to organizations in Seattle.
We are so proud of the work of all our warehousing, ocean, air, customs, and trucking departments staff during this project! The combination of their responsive service, teamwork, organization, and innovation allowed this project to be a success. Our team at Canaan Group is proud to play a small part in supporting Concord Pacific’s generosity to improve the safety of health care workers. We thank them for putting heart, skill, and effort into their work in service of our community.