UNICEF opens newest logistics centre in Shanghai, China
SHANGHAI, – Forty-seven containers of “school kits” are set to be shipped to the Democratic Republic of Congo from the new UNICEF Regional Logistics Centre in Shanghai. This is the first major shipment the new facility will process as a result of UNICEF’s increasing humanitarian supply procurement in China.
“We are always looking for suppliers that offer us appropriate, cost-effective and quality products.” Ms. Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific said at the opening ceremony. “Clearly, China’s vast and diverse manufacturing sector has much potential as a source of such products.”
UNICEF’s annual procurement of goods from China has been increasing significantly over the past few years, from about US$ 5.2 million in 2001 to about US $40 million in 2006.
With the opening of the regional logistics center in Shanghai, UNICEF will be able to procure and pack goods directly in China and ship them to children in need around the world. Previously, those supplies had to be shipped to the UNICEF warehouse in Copenhagen before distribution.
“By setting up a regional logistics centre in Shanghai, UNICEF will be able to move more quickly to respond to the needs of children, especially in emergencies.” Ms. Anupama Rao Singh added.
The Centre will start out handling a large share of UNICEF’s education supplies for the “School in a Box” project that has become part of UNICEF’s standard response for helping children go back to school during emergencies.
Chinese suppliers have been awarded long term contracts to supply most of the teaching and learning materials in the “school-in-a-box” kits. The forthcoming shipment of school kits to D.R. Congo alone could benefit up to 5 million children.
“As the largest developing country, China is prepared to strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations in the international humanitarian affairs to provide timely assistance to people in need, especially Children.” Mr. Zhang Shaogang, Deputy Director-General of Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of Ministry of Commerce said.
The Government of China has helped provide UNICEF with an 8000-sqm warehouse in Shanghai free of charge for an initial period of two years. Discussion is underway to secure total tax-exemption for UNICEF procured supplies.
“We look forward to working together over the coming years towards implementing more cost-effective solutions that offer both value and quality, thereby benefiting children the world over.” Ms. Anupama Rao Singh said.
About UNICEF in China
UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the Revolutionary War. In 1979 UNICEF officially commenced its cooperation with the Government of China to support child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.