Every day, UPS delivers about 18 million packages. And they're not all routine.
From priceless artworks to the NCAA® Final Four® basketball court, here are some challenging things UPS has helped haul – across town or around the world.
When orphaned polar bear Snowflake needed to move from Anchorage, Alaska, to a zoo in Louisville, Ky., UPS came to the rescue.
1. The NCAA's most famous floor. One unsung hero in Indianapolis during the basketball championship never scored a point. It was the floor beneath the players' feet, which arrived safely thanks to UPS and our relationship with the NCAA and Connor Sport Court. UPS Entertainment Logistics teamed with Connor Sport to make sure the court, stacked in 4-by-7-foot sections, would fit into semitrailers.
2. Operation Snowflake. When an orphaned polar bear cub needed to move from Anchorage, Alaska, to the zoo in Louisville, Ky., UPS came to the rescue. Under the code name Operation Snowflake, UPS assembled a team of logistics experts, veterinarians and load-handling specialists to meet the challenge. Among the complications: Creating a "den" suitable for a 50-pound cub aboard a jumbo jet.
3. Valentine's Day flowers. Valentine's Day shoppers spend over $2 billion on flowers alone. And UPS plays a leading role in getting those flowers to market, shipping upward of 110 million flowers in a temperature-controlled supply chain from South America to Miami. To handle the mid-February rush, UPS adds extra flights of 767s, all packed with flowers.
4. Vaccines to Laos. UPS delivered nearly 100,000 doses of flu vaccine to Laos, desperately needed for those at high risk in remote areas. The vaccine needed to stay within 2 to 8 degrees C throughout the 4,700-mile journey – which was possible thanks to UPS Temperature True® air freight service.
5. A 4-year-old's wish. A young boy who wanted to be a UPS driver got his wish when "Mr. Ernie" presented him with a kid-size UPS truck for delivering packages to his neighbors. The heartwarming YouTube video has had over a million hits so far.
6. Civil War remains. The remains of two sailors who died when the USS Monitor sank 150 years ago were found in the ship's gun turret. UPS shipped ultrafragile forensic facial reconstructions from Louisiana to Washington, D.C., in specially designed containers that protected against damaging shock and vibration.
7. A whale of a collection. When the Georgia Museum of Natural History in Athens, Ga., needed to move 75,000 unique biological specimens, it turned to UPS for help. Among the treasures, a 350-pound whale skull and a 7-foot jaw.
8. A prosthetic hand. U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage lost both his legs and one hand while serving in Iraq, but that didn't stop him from volunteering to swim with Navy SEALs as part of a film project. When he damaged his prosthetic hand en route to Hawaii for the project, UPS jumped in to deliver his new hand in time for the swim.
9. Flame of Hope. UPS Airlines recently transported the Special Olympics' Flame of Hope from Athens, Greece, to Philadelphia. The flame was then transferred to a UPS package car for its trip down I-95 to Special Olympics headquarters in Washington, D.C. From the nation's capital, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics will cross the country, delivering the flame to the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, which run from July 25–Aug. 2.
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