In addition to these containers we have shipped 9 pallets of goods for onward shipment to Moldova, supported the shipment of medical supplies from Northern Ireland to Zambia through the Missionary Container Service and gave clothing and blankets to Barnabas Aid to support the Ukraine relief effort.
The containers for Angola are no longer loaded at MMN. We continue to support our partners there with ordering goods and arranging the shipment but the containers are loaded by their own volunteers.
We shipped more containers to Angola this year as they were donated the building supplies to construct a new meeting hall for the church in Camundambala by a company in Northern Ireland.
What did we send?
We continue to send a whole range of goods from medical supplies to books, to layettes to vehicle spares, and everything in-between that is needed to keep the mission work going. Some of the goods are ordered by our partners as they are not available in country (mainly spare parts for plant and vehicles, building and electrical supplies), others are donated by supporters (clothing, household goods, layettes, bedding and childrens' items) and others are shipped on behalf of other christian organisations (predominantly Christian literature).
The graphs below give more detail of the type of goods that are shipped by weight and compares this with what we shipped in 2021. This is split by weight is not perfect as weight does not equate to the importance or value of the items.
What challenges are we facing?
The main challenge we have faced this year is the rapidly increasing costs of shipment. As the pandemic eased the shipping companies had way more goods to ship than space available so could increase the costs and this was further exasperated by the rising fuel costs that resulted from the situation in Ukraine. The costs have stabilised towards the end of the year but are still significantly up from a year ago.
When we shipped a container to Zambia in October 2021 it cost £9,600 but the last one we sent in December 2022 cost £14,500 – an increase of over 50%!!
Some of these costs are covered by our partners when they order the items and others are covered by donations given by supporters to cover the transport costs of the items that have donated. However, there is still a shortfall on each container that is shipped to Zambia which we are currently covering from our reserves.
This is in additional to the time that we give freely to enable this to happen. The time covers ordering and receiving goods/donated items, sorting and packing them onto pallets and the processing of the shipping paperwork. We have recently reviewed how much time this takes and we estimate that is 10 staff days per container to Zambia, 3-4 days for Angola and 1.5 days for Malawi.
We would appreciate your prayers that we might have wisdom in knowing the best way of moving forward with the ever-growing financial implications of shipping containers.
None of this work would be possible without both your practical and prayerful support, so thank you for your involvement over the past year in allowing us to meet these needs of those living in other parts of the world.
They have made such a big difference to the work of our partners and have been such a blessing to the places they have been sent. God is being glorified by both a practical and spiritual need being met.
What we shipped by weight compared with last year