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As a freight forwarder and customs clearance agent, Thomas Smith is licensed to handle shipping of live animals. The Pet Cargo division, which falls under the Airfreight department, were involved in the planning and execution of the relocation of 13 pet cats from Dubai to Malta.

The procedure presented numerous challenges given the unusual number of animals being imported. Prior to the travel date, the Pet Cargo team advised the pets’ owner to microchip all animals in accordance to ISO 11784/11785 requirements and have all the cats vaccinated against rabies, 21 days prior to their arrival in Malta. An Original Health Certificate was prepared for all 13 cats. Establishing a smooth and safe trip relies heavily on the ability of the team to familiarise themselves with the pets’ habits and behaviour, such as if it’s their first time travelling, whether they are on any medication or if typically they show signs of aggression towards others. Any issues are taken into consideration to ensure no complications arise.

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Due to the unique extent of this job, the owner flew from Dubai to meet the Pet Cargo division at the Thomas Smith offices to discuss the essentials. The team worked closely with the owners’ appointed agent in Dubai, who handled the export documents, such as health certificates, and the purchasing of animal transport cages. All documents were reviewed to ensure full conformity with live animal shipping regulations. The application for the import license from the Trade Department was filed, the CVEDA certificate was prepared from the state vet in Malta and customs declarations form handled prior to the pets’ arrival.

To ensure a safe and comfortable flight, the IATA Live Animal Rules & Regulations are adhered to and the owner was advised which best kennels to purchase based on size and type. As the company handling the export, the pet owner’s Dubaian agent supervised the purchase of storage accommodation for the 13 cats.

A direct flight from Dubai to Malta was booked for all 13 pets, including their owner, who travelled back to Dubai to accompany her cats on their long journey from the UAE to Malta. Pets cannot always travel as accompanied cargo, however, in this case, the arrangement proved to be cost-effective, whilst giving the owner further peace of mind. Once the aircraft arrived at its destination, the pets were cleared in, while the government vet and customs agents reviewed that all documents and microchips were in order. Once the vet confirmed that all was correct, the customs agents approved the release of the pets.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the airfreight executive for his professionalism, he helped with the relocation of our 13 cats, which could have been stressful, but he managed to sort everything in an efficient and stress-free manner. We very much appreciate all the help he gave us.”


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Pet owners are reassured of their pets’ full protection after a complete walk-through of the shipping process and how their companions are treated throughout the entire transit when they meet our Pet Cargo team. The International Air Transport Association demands that at least 2 employees complete the LAR (Live Animal Regulations) course to supervise the shipping of live pets. Four Thomas Smith Pet Cargo employees have the authority to oversee pet imports and exports, following in-house training as well as completion of the LAR course, which gives them full knowledge about animals’ behaviour during flights.

Thomas Smith is a PET approved shipper (LAR certified) and an IATA member. Contact our Airfreight department at [email protected] or call on +356 2205 8146.


Published by other sources:

Times of Malta