UPS Delivers a Whale of a Move for UGA

"Yikes! How am I going to move this?"

That was the question Bud Freeman, PhD, director of the University of Georgia Museum of Natural History in Athens was asking himself during a relocation project for nearly 75,000 unique biological specimens.

And some of these specimens weren't small. Not just a bunch of teeth. No, we're talking about big, awkward bones, including a 350 lb. whale skull and a seven foot whale jaw. Not exactly papers and envelopes.

The collection, including several rare skeletal and mammal specimens, like the Minke whale, elephants, the otter, and the New England coyotes and cottontail, was located in Nahant, Massachusetts (an island off the coast of Boston). To get them to Georgia, Dr. Freeman knew he'd need to bring in the experts at UPS. Randy Samson, Business Development Manager at UPS, pointed him to UPS Express Critical.

Created to meet the unique needs of some of our customers, UPS Express Critical ensures oversight of shipments requiring specialized handling, unique transit, or high security. "We use our resources across the globe to manage the extra precautions involved in moving these highly unusual shipments," Samson said. "Each one receives a custom-tailored solution that's far outside what you'd normally think of when shipping with UPS."

White Glove Service

Samson said the UGA move involved multiple challenges. For example, the collections had to be transported from an old WWII artillery bunker. "We really couldn't get tractor trailers or the normal type of equipment you'd need for a shipment like this," he said. "And because there was no loading dock, only smaller, lighter vehicles equipped with lift gates could be used."

Within a day, Samson and his staff prepared a fully customized solution for the complex shipment. The plan included securing trucks and creating a special project team within UPS Express Critical. This group managed the entire process, staying in constant communication with the drivers, the museum staff, and Dr. Freeman. It was important, Samson said, to treat the specimens in the move--and everyone involved--with "white glove service."

As part of this specialized service, UPS Express Critical offers several highly sensitive tracking tools. "We can provide real-time GPS tracking, and we can monitor the environment of our shipments, too," said Samson. Any time during the move, Dr. Freeman could go online to see where the shipment was, and check the temperature and humidity levels. He "could even see if any shocks had occurred during the move," Samson said.

Breathing Easy

Once the move started, the UPS team faced many obstacles, the first of which was realizing they needed more trucks--and within hours, more arrived on the scene. "I think Dr. Freeman was very surprised we were able to respond with the equipment so quickly," Samson recalled.

The collection, which arrived in great condition, now safely sits in the museum. That's why Freeman said he's breathing easier, and trusts UPS implicitly. "UPS is a tradition in many, many families, and my family has used UPS for decades and many of the people I know do the same."

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