The world has been shocked and saddened by the tragic events caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As with the memberships of many other international organisations around the world, the conflict has caused many businesses within the ICEFAT community to consider how best they can support the Ukrainian people. ICEFAT members have been involved in efforts since the beginning of the conflict, providing logistical support to protect Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage along with organising emergency aid supplies.
The selfless acts of support from organisations, companies, and individuals across Central and Eastern Europe have made global news in recent weeks, and our agents have been aiding the museum sector with their relief efforts in particular. German ICEFAT agent Tandem Lagerhaus und Kraftverkehr Kunst has worked with 25 museums across Germany with a strategy to aid the on-site protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage. These museums have agreed to donate their specialized museum storage crates to Ukrainian museums to enable their counterparts to pack and store their collections until the risk of their damage recedes.
The implementation of this plan required extensive logistical planning. Klaus Hillmann, Managing Director of Tandem, says: “Our task was to identify and bring together the respective quantities of crates from the participating institutions throughout Germany. We then organized the provision of warehouses, technicians and equipment to collect these boxes from the institutions and assemble them in central warehouses for onward transport to Ukraine. This was difficult because very few museums can provide these resources themselves, so we needed the support of other warehouses and colleagues to carry out the operation.”
Once brought to Tandem’s Berlin facility by road and rail (with support from DB Cargo), shipments of museum crates have been loaded onto vehicles bound for institutions in Lviv and Kyiv. Following a fifteen-hour drive to their destination, the crates have been unloaded at their destinations, ready to be packed by Ukrainian museum teams to protect their cultural heritage.
Another German member of ICEFAT, Brandl Transport, based in Cologne, has been a key partner in this aid effort by German museums. Museum boxes and packing materials continue to be collected at Brandl warehouses in Cologne, Munich and Berlin and are then transported in DB Cargo containers to trains that are also carrying multiple humanitarian goods. Upon arrival in Lviv and Kyiv, the crates are taken over by Ukrainian museum teams and serve to protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage at their destinations.
Brandl and Tandem have also donated museum crates from their own fine art warehouses and provided further technical support to make the logistical processes in Germany as efficient as possible.
In France, another ICEFAT shipper has played a key role in mobilising French institutions to support Ukrainian museums through material donations. ICEFAT founding member André Chenue worked with over 50 museums across France to identify the most pressing needs of Ukrainian institutions and coordinate an effective response. Packaging materials, humidity control machines and fire protection equipment were agreed to be of the greatest priority as Ukrainian museums no longer had capacity or resources to manage these demands effectively.
Chenue’s Paris facility was chosen as the hub for these materials, owing to its ability to handle large influxes of crates and machines at short notice. In a less than two-week period, all the necessary objects were gathered and loaded onto an André Chenue vehicle before being transported to Poland, where the shipment was split to the most in-need Ukrainian museums.
The Save Ukraine Art 22 is an Italian-Ukrainian initiative begun by Taras Wozniak, Director of the National Gallery of Art in Lviv, Ukraine to collect necessary materials to protect works of art at risk from the conflict. Italian ICEFAT agent Apice has given its support to the project by providing crates from its Florence facility and other materials from its Milan facility. These supplies are now on their way to Ukraine, to aid the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage.
Alongside these efforts in Europe, other ICEFAT agents have played their part to support Ukraine from their own locations. One example is SRI Fine Art Shipping, a US ICEFAT agent based in New Jersey, which has worked with a local Ukrainian church to organise shipments of food and medical supplies to a refugee site in Poland.
Near and far from the Ukraine conflict, ICEFAT shippers have looked to their logistical resources to help the people of Ukraine and its cultural sector, either with the mobilization of industry partners or through supporting organisations that are directly aiding the region. We have been pleased to work with the international museum community as it joins with broader global action to support Ukraine and we are united in our desire to see a quick conclusion to the conflict.