FourKites gives logistics aid organization a communications boost

Supply chain visibility platform FourKites has partnered with the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) to accelerate the voluntary transport and delivery of vital goods to emergency hot spots as they occur throughout the country.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities, ALAN launched as a means to connect disaster relief organizations and other nonprofits with transportation services providers willing to move life-sustaining supplies to disaster zones. The organization has since been at the forefront of other relief efforts involving hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

According to recent studies, ALAN said 80% of crisis management budgets are used for logistics, and of that amount 40% is wasted because of lack of access to reliable supply chain information and transportation equipment.

ALAN’s affiliation with FourKites puts its members in close communication with a large network of shippers, carriers, brokers and third-party logistics services providers that can step forward to help out in emergencies.

“When disasters hit, we often receive a huge influx of requests, many of which need a timely response in order to help save lives and reduce suffering,” said Kathy Fulton, ALAN’s executive director, in a statement on Tuesday. “By working together [with FourKites], we will be able to get the word out about essential logistics needs faster — and to far more businesses that can help — during particularly challenging times.”

Specifically, FourKites provides ALAN online access to its “Community Page,” in addition to real-time public information such as blog posts and a live network congestion map, Susie Bodnar, FourKites’ director of operations and client strategy, told American Shipper.

Hurricane season is a particularly busy time for ALAN and the organization is already worried about the current stress on the supply chain due to the nation’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALAN currently works with upwards of 35 emergency response organizations throughout the U.S., including those providing medical care and supplies, food and water, and cleaning supplies. According to ALAN, those logistics industry donations include about 25,000 miles of free transportation services, and hundreds of hours of donated warehousing and logistics support.

“Whether it’s a donation of refrigerated trucks, warehouse space or boxes for emergency food supplies, it needs to get there quickly,” said FourKites CEO Matthew Elenjickal. “FourKites is honored to team up with ALAN during this critical time to ensure that critical supplies reach their destination on time.”

Bodnar said FourKites provides its service to ALAN free of charge. The company has performed similar pro-bono work recently with the New York City Economic Development Corp. to deliver food to vulnerable populations throughout the city, as well as Truckers Against Trafficking.

Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.