Smooth travel logistics is one of the key building blocks of good executive protection. It enables principals to concentrate on the business rather than on the details of getting from A to B. It lets executives pack more meetings and more places into less time. And it always puts productivity front and center without ever compromising security.
While the logistical benefits of executive protection are clear even during a routine commute from home to the office, they become even more apparent on trips to emerging markets. In many of these countries, traffic accidents are still a major cause of death and injury, so the elevated risks of the road are one reason to leave the driving to specially trained and vetted professionals. But security knowhow, local knowledge and networks, and cultural and linguistic fluency also combine to facilitate trips to emerging markets in other ways, too.
The challenge: Get the principals to their meetings despite a general strike that cut off traffic to the airport.
Our principals had plans to travel to Morocco when labor unions there called for a general strike of public and private sector workers. While general strikes in the North African country had only limited effect in 2014, prior to that they had created considerable unrest. The call for labor action came at a sensitive time: a string of government reforms had triggered numerous protests and tensions were high. The day of the strike happened to be the day our client had planned to arrive. To make matters worse, taxi drivers announced plans to blockade traffic to and from the airport to which our principals were arriving.
Due to scheduling constraints, however, our client was intent on carrying out the trip if possible. They contacted Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services to ask us to find a way to make the trip possible, despite the strike that threatened to paralyze the country.
The solution: Use local knowhow and networks to determine risk, then find the path of least resistance.
The first thing our operations team did was to reach out to our contacts in Morocco to get a clear picture of the situation and its risks. Our intelligence sources assured us that although the strike would create numerous inconveniences, the likelihood of any violence was low, and that the itinerary our client had planned would keep them well out of harm’s way.
The question of getting from the airport to the city was another matter. Cab drivers were expected to block the main roads to and from the airport in order to enforce the strike; gridlock on the usual routes was inevitable, and “cabs” who attempted to break the blockade would not be well seen. Our local Moroccan partners had good contacts throughout the city, however, and were able to select several alternative routes that would allow us to securely move the principals between the airport and meeting locations without provoking or running into any trouble.
The result: A safe, productive trip despite a difficult situation.
Our client was able to complete the trip as planned and without any real inconvenience, taking care of business despite the disruptions that marked the city.
The vetted security driver we assigned to the job was a seasoned pro with excellent knowledge of local conditions and a strong network. He was able to move the principals from the airport into the city, between the hotel and meetings, and back to the airport – all as planned.
After finishing the Moroccan leg of their trip as originally scheduled, the client then moved on to the next country.