The “Temple” is a superstructure that sets out the framework for collaborative standard operating procedures (SOPs), to ensure tailored services when it comes to transporting, handling, distributing, and storing COVID-19 vaccines. To accomplish this goal, BRUcargo recently kicked off a Taskforce focused on coordinating, steering, and fine-tuning the demanding task (see CargoForwarder Global 18OCT20). The initiative comes amid sobering feedback from the industry reporting a lack of readiness for COVID-19 logistics. We asked Samuel Speltdoorn, Cargo Business Development Manager of Brussels Airport, if his company’s initiative is intended as a wake-up call to the industry to start facing the challenge.
Samuel Speltdoorn (SP): The aim of our local taskforce is to prepare our local BRUcargo stakeholders and align all the resources and procedures for the correct handling of Covid-19 vaccines once they start moving through Brussels Airport. Our community already has an excellent pharmaceutical track record and many of them were already individually looking at what they can do to optimize vaccine handling processes. With the taskforce, we aim to combine and foster local knowledge, and offer the pharmaceutical shippers a robust pharmaceutical gateway to the world; we are, after all, the preferred pharma gateway of Europe. So, I personally would not call it a wake-up call; we have been awake for quite some time at Brussels Airport.
CFG: Members of the Taskforce are shippers, handling agents, airlines, Brussels airport, forwarding agents, and some others: Is that only a debating club or can decisions also be taken
and put into practice, and if so - who is the cook and who is the waiter?
One of the strengths that BRUcargo has built-up in the past decade is its community-focus. As we have seen in previous projects, the community is usually the driver of our success. This became only more evident when Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) was launched 4 years ago. For BRUcure, ACB plays a vital role in the organization and roll-out of the different work packages. In these work packages we aim to create and implement a community solution, with the input of all stakeholders involved, through moderation of Brussels Airport Company and Air Cargo Belgium.
Once available, COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed worldwide. Is the Taskforce cooperating internationally with other airports and organizations to set the course for the seamless flow of these temperature-critical serums, or is it concentrating on optimizing the conditions on a local, respectively regional level?
The main scope of the BRUcure taskforce is to get the local BRUcargo community ready for the handling of Covid-19 vaccines; this in cooperation with Air Cargo Belgium. Brussels Airport is also a leading member of Pharma.Aero, where we are currently validating pharma corridors such as BRU-HKG and BRU-MIA with more to follow. Pharma.Aero is the international backbone of our network of like-minded airports with a focus on improving the handling of pharmaceutical shipments. Brussels Airport is also actively involved in the recently launched Sunrays project, for which Pharma.Aero joined forces with TIACA. The findings and recommendations of project Sunrays are a valuable source of information for any cargo airport community preparing for the handling of the Covid-19 vaccines.
You compare your project with a Greek Temple. A term that takes getting used to. Please specify and illustrate in short.
Please see the illustration below. The focus within BRUcure is on eight work packages. The foundation of our community project relies on our local BRUcargo community. Without them, we cannot build up a solid Covid-19 readiness framework.
We then have 4 elemental work packages, consisting of gathering information on shipper requirements, mapping and preparing local capacity, creating a Covid-19-tailored SOP, and offering full transparency through digitalization. Once we have a solid framework in place, we intend to run a validation on the entire airport community and issue each stakeholder with a Covid-19 readiness label.
In order to manage the community stakeholders, ACB has assigned a dedicated person into the community control tower. Our BRUcure community control tower function will coordinate and stimulate the cooperation between all stakeholders involved in the logistics of the Covid-19 vaccines at Brussels Airport.
On the operational level, the control tower will monitor the processes at BRUcargo and follow up on the transparency required by the pharma shippers. It will be the SPOC for all stakeholders related to the transport and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Samuel, thank you for the interview.
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