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FedEx Blog

Salute to FedEx Charters and FedEx Express Operations

August 19, 2009

FedEx Corporate Contributions received a most unusual request: to transport 7 Beluga whales and 4 dolphins to a temporary home while Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was under renovation.  Two planes transported the special cargo under the direction of FedEx Charters team including Dave Lange, Walter Hooker, George Miller and Larry Ashkenaz in the fall of 2008.  Many details had to be worked out: making sure planes were available, reviewing flight schedules in and out of both airports, lining up crew and extra equipment such as the 40,000 pound capacity forklifts, gaining airfield and security clearance and about 500 other details.  The same arrangements were made for the return of the special cargo in late spring.

FedEx Operations deserves special recognition for the success of this most unusual transportation.   FedEx Chicago Region Sort Ops managers, Steve Vasco and Bill Hatzold, tightly choreographed operations that took 30 hours, covered almost 1,000 miles and involved more than 250 people.  Brian Lienert, FedEx Sr. Manager in Hartford, CT, received the whales and dolphins after a 90 minute drive from the aquarium.

Loading the Airbus A300 took about two hours.  Cradles were arranged on the jet based on their weight.  The heaviest cradle, holding 1,800 pound Naya, plus water hardware and a pallet, weighed nearly 6 tons.  A forklift moved each cradle off its flatbed and onto a heavy-duty loader to the cargo door.  Rollers on the bed of the loader and on the floor of the cargo jet made it easy to maneuver the huge cradles into place.  One flight carried five animals, five trainers, a veterinarian and support staff, plus several pallets of gear, taking off for a two hour flight back home to the Shedd Aquarium.  The trainers monitored temperatures, breathing and vital signs during the flight.

Shedd’s animals are back, exploring their remodeled homes and discovering wonderful changes to the new Oceanarium.

It was a pleasure working with Shedd Aquarium and their outstanding staff and we are honored that they trusted FedEx with this special delivery.

Lisa Daniel/FedEx Corporate Contributions


    Laura says:

    I work for FedEx Ground in Victoria,Tx Terminal 0779. Amazing…and wonderful. I can’t believe FedEx could carry that amount of weight on there planes!!!! Congrats and great job done getting them back to their new home safe.

    Kim G says:

    This is a great story that I really enjoyed reading! It’s a great testament to the trust that shippers place in the Fedex corporation!

    simon says:

    I work for Fedex at CANH,China.great!

    Sunil Menon says:

    I recently visited the Shedd Acquarium and was amazed to see these creatures! It’s so great to know my company was instrumental in moving them from Hartford to Chicago.

    Alicia Penson says:

    That was an awesome story! Job well done to all of the teams. I am glad the story was captured and available for everyone to see. It showed how responsible and dependable OUR company is.

    Linda Lucatelli says:

    How AWESOME that we work for a company that not only helps our
    fellow mankind but also the other creatures of the world that God, too, created.
    BZ to all who help! Linda

    Marco Nogueira says:

    That makes us proud of working for Fedex!
    Great job, Fedex!
    Marco Nogueira

    Bill Nelder says:

    As ex Fed Ex Snr Manager in UK & Middle East i worked with Larry Ashkenaz on many occasions..he is a mine of information…

    fernando says:

    From Fedex Brazil

    There are no words in this whole world to describe this event, Bz to all Fedex employees that made this event be safe.

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