Facing the Storm

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston with unprecedented force. Heavy rain poured down on southeast Texas for five days, disrupting business operations, flooding many communities, and forcing thousands from their homes. Four Panalpina employees were among those who lost their homes.

Panalpina took immediate action on both a professional and personal level.

Business units in Dallas, Chicago, and New Orleans stepped in to ensure the continuity of our operations and informed our customers about any changes to their delivery.

Beyond operations, Panalpina made sure to take care of our colleagues in need. Our business unit in Dallas took the lead by loading up a truck with urgently needed everyday supplies, which were sold out in most Houston stores. Regional management project coordinator, Bruno Mbamala, and a hired driver drove the goods down to our warehouse in Houston, where they were unloaded, sorted, and distributed by all of the south district management team to our Houston colleagues.

(Bruno Mbamala and Barbara Carmichael with the Houston goods)

“Harvey took away many things from the people of the region: Homes, vehicles, livelihoods... It is important for every member of our Panalpina family to know that they will be supported through such an ordeal,” said Bruno.

New Challenges

Once the roads were somewhat drivable, our colleagues faced new challenges: how would employees go back to work, when every school in the area was closed? Where would parents leave their children?

With the help of our extended Panalpina family, this issue was quickly resolved.

A designated area was set up within Panalpina’s facilities for children to play together under the supervision of some of our employees’ family members. This way, parents had the peace of mind to return to work, knowing their children were safe nearby.

“With every school in the Greater Houston area closed, providing care for our employees’ children was of critical importance, and it allowed them to get things back on track for our organization so quickly,” said Reda Hicks, country legal services manager. 

The human spirit

Even after they went through the traumatic experience of losing their homes, affected colleagues demonstrated that the human spirit was still alive. They were in need – and their neighbors too, so they simply shared the emergency supplies which Panalpina provided with them. This selflessness in time of a disaster serves as an inspiration to us all. 

Thanks to the donations of more than 120 fellow employees, we were able to provide support to the community. Moreover, Panalpina donated additional funds to help our four colleagues who lost their homes in their recovery process.  

“I feel very proud of our Panalpina staff for their proactivity and generosity through these difficult times. Our main priority was the safety of all of our Houston employees and ensuring support for them. I also thank those who supported our customers and kept our business running,” said Frank Hercksen, Regional CEO for the Americas.

A most sincere thank you goes out to all of those who helped us in one way or another.