Brussels Airport’s Pharma infrastructure and Air Cargo Belgium’s dedicated BRUcure Task Force are on standby for the swift distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, as was demonstrated to the press on 18NOV20.
Some 40 companies of all the trades involved in air cargo logistics set up the BRUcure Task Force in September, building further on Brussels Airport’s specialty in pharma logistics.
“We set up BRUcure on the basis of the expectations of the pharma shippers,” said ACB’s Director Geert Keirens. “We have been working on the finetuning of procedures, as well as IT support for the monitoring of the entire airport process and temperature integrity.”
A specific broader scale ‘Belgian’ collaboration with other airports such as Liege Airport has not been set up, Mr Keirens admitted. “On the global level, of course, we have collaboration through TIACA.” According to Mr Keirens, some 15 CEIV Pharma-certified companies at the airport together can boast more than 30,000 m² of pharma-dedicated infrastructure.
“These can be turned into dedicated Covid-19 vaccine premises overnight,” Brussels Airport’s Head of Cargo Product and Networking Development Nathan De Valck added. “On top of that some of the other warehousing space can be modified for extra capacity if necessary."
Part of the existing capacity is to be found at the Swissport Pharma Center, which was opened in September 2019 as a new-build adjacent to the existing warehouse, which is still being refurbished. It proivdes 2,620 m² of ambient pharma space (+15°C to +25°C), as well as a 1,000 m² cooling facility (+2°C to +8°C)
The facility was the site of a demonstration of the logistics processing of a vaccine consignment from off-loading from the truck through packing in the va-Q-tainer and airside transport in Brussels Airport’s pharma dollies.
BRUcure can also rely on Brussels Airport’s extensive expertise in transporting vaccines like the Ebola vaccine, which had to be shipped on dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide (co²). That sort of temperature control comes into the picture when needing transport at -79°C.
This aspect was demonstrated by Christophe Sacré of Hazgo. This Belgian company was set up 10 years ago and specializes in services for dangerous goods, dry ice, and temperature control. It has 2 subsidiaries in France, 1 in South-Africa, and has entered into partnerships all over the world.
“Temperature integrity is in the packaging, the so-called thermal control unit,” said Mr Sacré. “Dry Ice is part of the packaging. It can be used for 24, 48 and 96 hours. There even is a solution that can stretch as far as 10 days. So, for consignments that have been packed today at the shipper’s premises, we know exactly for how long the temperature integrity can be guaranteed. If that time span is exceeded, we are called in so that we can add more ice.”
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
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