DHL eCommerce and DHL Express staff in Vietnam took part in a capacity building workshop to learn how they can play a key role in helping prevent the shipping and transport of illegal wildlife products.
Vietnam ranks fourth in wildlife trafficking instances through the air transport sector globally, and is the second most common destination (after China) for the trafficking of rhino horns. In recent years, Vietnam has been on the front lines of many large-scale illegal wildlife seizures, intercepting shipments of rhino horn, ivory, leopard skins, and pangolin scales, among other commonly traded wildlife products.
The workshop was organised by TRAFFIC – a leading non-governmental organisation working exclusively on wildlife trade in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development – and through the USAID-funded Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) Project.
The workshop covered the local and global implications of wildlife trafficking crimes, the role of the CITES convention in regulating the international wildlife trade, common wildlife trafficking trade routes, the modes and methods used by wildlife traffickers for shipping illegal products, and risks to the transport and logistics sector.
During the workshop, participants discussed potential vulnerable points along their supply chains in Vietnam and ways to strengthen their company’s operations, staff and customers’ awareness, and reporting mechanisms for wildlife trafficking. Last October, TRAFFIC and DHL convened another workshop for DHL staff in Ho Chi Minh City.
“It has become critically important for DHL to work together as a Group to identify the smuggling of live animals and their parts and derivatives through cargo, post and express channels, and to ascertain actions to reduce these risks,” said Thomas Harris, managing director, DHL eCommerce Vietnam. “Our cohesive effort towards cutting off transportation links of these products to buyers is a small but important step towards ending illegal wildlife trade on a global scale
“This training is useful as we know that wildlife is transported [through courier companies],” said Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Central Hub manager, North, DHL eCommerce Vietnam. “We want our staff to know how to check shipments for animals. This is really important for our day-to-day work.”
Following the workshop, staff were awarded certificates of participation along with informational resources for further learning. In the coming months, TRAFFIC will continue to provide technical guidance to DHL in Vietnam to support the implementation of those action points identified during the event.
“Criminal networks take advantage of the connectivity and ease of online marketplaces and commercial transport supply chains to smuggle illegal wildlife and DHL in Vietnam is setting in motion strategies to protect themselves from this to happen through their business.
“The Deutsche Post DHL Group is already a signatory of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration, so this workshop could be seen as another practical step in helping to implement those high-level commitments” said TRAFFIC’s Monica Zavagli, Wildlife TRAPS senior project officer.
This was the second workshop in the past month between TRAFFIC and DHL around strengthening in-country supply chains against wildlife trafficking. The first was held with staff in Bangkok, Thailand in late July, and also focused on local capacity building.
Many in the transportation sector are recognising the need to take action against wildlife trafficking. Recently, Etihad developed a new 20-minute online module designed to inform its employees of the business risks associated with the illegal wildlife trade and ways to prevent them.
In addition, the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership has conducted trainings across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to train airport and airline employees in key wildlife trafficking hubs.