It is not up to LGG, or any airport, to call itself that. From experience, we know that the shippers and logistics companies decide on the flows. At this point in time, neither shippers nor freight forwarders have a finalized view on the flow requirements. Too early to say, as heard so many times lately, Steven Verhasselt, VP Commercial at Liege Airport, states in this guest contribution.
As a dedicated cargo airport, LGG is looking forward to playing its part in the efficient distribution of the vaccine we are all rooting for. We believe we have an important role to play, and we are gathering information and preparing for it. We have the infrastructure, and we have the flexibility to be ready when needed, even when demand spikes at very short notice. Pharma is one of our 5 products pillars since many years. Processes and infrastructure are in place, but we have never seen anything on this scale.
Belgium is a pharma hotspot
We are preparing both for imports, transshipments, and exports. Belgium has a very prominent Pharma and Healthcare industry with Johnson and Johnson, GSK, Pfizer, and others, all with R and D and production facilities in Belgium. At the same time, we are convinced there will be imports and transshipments, as there were and are for the PPE material. We are preparing for various scenarios with various requirements. We learned that different vaccines require different conditions.
On airport, the operators and handlers, the authorities, and the forwarders and truckers have experience with pharma. LGG has been supporting handlers in acquiring the CEIV if deemed necessary by them. We have our LGG PERISHABLE center, available to all handlers, and we are an Envirotainer station.
We have, of course, scheduled services by air and by road, from CEIV recognized operators. That completes the chain.
Pax terminal becomes Vaccine Logistics Center…
The preparations are not limited to the on-airport facilities. We are also looking at the vicinity of the airport, mainly for cold storage, as well as packaging and repacking facilities with cold chain capabilities.
Our Passenger Terminal, mostly deserted nowadays, has meanwhile been turned into a Vaccine Logistics Center.
In the building, we are preparing for Corona safe meeting rooms. We are making an open access office available to all vaccine shippers to come to LGG and monitor the shipments in person. They will be able to plug into a workstation to be in the very first row to monitor operations.
… and the luggage facility will now be a handling station
In the luggage terminal, we are preparing a 24/7 dry ice supply station, as a backup for repackaging should it be deemed necessary, according to temperature loggers and the people monitoring them. As it is airside with direct access to the tarmac, it can be used in both directions. Import shipments and transshipments can be repacked and restocked with dry ice before continuing their way to final destination, either by air or by road. Export shipments can be repacked and restocked with dry ice before take-off by qualified handling staff.
For all questions about the preparations, Vincent Desgives (firstname.lastname@example.org), will take up the role as Single Point of Contact, SPoC Vaccine Logistics @ Liege Airport. All LGG teams, and the entire LGG Cargo Community, have of course answers to questions posed by forwarders, shippers, airlines, or others. Vincent will be right on the spot to make sure that all requested info will be available for everybody at any time.
The greatest challenge will be managing peak capacity. The vaccine has been called ‘the biggest product launch in history’. The PPE materials, and the vaccines now, are putting us in the spotlight and bringing us the recognition our industry deserves. We have been doing it mostly unnoticed, bringing food to the table, phones to the ears, pharma to those who need it, and much, much more. And we will keep doing so when the spotlights turn away again.
LGG believes that the whole industry will have to chip in to make it happen. We will be ready to play our part, and we trust our colleagues at other airports and cargo communities will be ready as well. The only way to make this happen is through cooperation, on a local and global level.
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