Transporting the Covid-19 vaccines, once developed and approved, to 8 billion people living on this globe in a fast, reliable and secured manner will become the greatest logistical challenges ever. Similarly, it is a huge opportunity for the air freight industry to contribute to a better world, grow its own business, up its reputation and raise its profile, pronounce the organizations Pharma.Aero and TIACA in a joint statement that we had ask them for contributing.
CFG: What statistics are we looking at when it comes to vaccine transportation?
Pharma.Aero / TIACA: At this early stage we do not have the analytics available to provide the statistics on vaccine transportation. We believe there are still uncertainties in the efficacy of the vaccines including the number of doses per treatment, temperature range, packaging, etc. As we gather more information from the pharmasetical companies and the logistics supply chain we will be in a better position to answer, its really hard to predict at this point.
Do TIACA and Pharma.Aero see themselves as a kind of coordinator who manages the supply chains of Covid-19 vaccines from A-Z?
As pharmaceutical manufacturers race to develop Covid-19 vaccines, they realize the massive logistical challenges ahead of them when the life-saving vaccines would need to be manufactured and distributed to almost 8 billion people in the world with speed, quality and reliability. The air cargo industry will need a global strategy in order to be prepared and agile to tackle the immense logistical and air transportation tasks on a global scale. Industry preparedness would require clarity on supply chain requirements. The aim of this joint project between Pharma.Aero and TIACA is to examine the Covid19 air cargo supply chain and provide the air cargo industry with more clarity and insights into the demands, expectations and quality supply chain requirements, including but not restricted to critical trade lanes, air cargo capacity, handling and storage, track and trace requirements, for the transportation of the vaccines.
There will probably be a race for transport capacity, as most countries want to be the first to receive vaccines on a mass scale. What can TIACA / Pharma.Aero do to ensure a steady and fair global supply against the background of the hesitant recovery of civil air traffic and the continuing capacity bottlenecks (bellies)?
The goal of this project focuses on the planning, recommendations and overall preparedness of the supply chain to be able to distribute the vaccines once available in the most efficient manner possible. It does not address the fair and equitable accessibility to the vaccines though we will make every effort to collaborate with the various global organiztions to work towards this goal.
What are the biggest challenges you envisage?
Challenges are numerous, but different from one region to another so hard to be specific at that stage. But in general, the future challenges will continue being the loss of belly capacity, border closing and trade restrictions, shortage of manpower due to lockdown measures or bankrupcies, scarcity of specific pharma handling expertise, inadequate ground infrastructure in certain regions, slow digitalization adoption, and overall international political situation. Bringing the Covid-19 vaccines to 8 billion people in a fast, reliable and secured manner will be one of history’s greatest logistical challenges, but also a big opportunity for our industry to contribute to a better world, grow its business, and raise its profile.
In how far will TIACA and Pharma.Aero be talking to governments and authorities - what influence do you expect to have? What are the main bodies represented in the working group/s?
We plan on engaging and calling for open discussions and collaboration with global organizations such as: IATA, WHO, GAVI Alliance, Cool Chain Association, FIATA, ACI, ICAO, WTO, WCO, COVAC, etc, as well as, customs authorities and other government agencies.
Next to safety issues regarding vaccine transport (temperature, handling, etc), security will play a major role: both in terms of theft and piracy. What do you think?
Cargo theft, pilferage and counterfeits continue to be key concerns of the pharmaceuticals industry, more so now when it comes to the distribution of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines. Another aspect of supply chain requirement that the joint project endeavours to address are the cargo security requirements by the pharmaceuticals manufacturers and to provide recommendations on how air cargo logistics players could take proactive measures in mitigating such risks.
The above statements are jointly made by Pharma.Aero and TIACA.
Questions: Brigitte Gledhill / Heiner Siegmund