Headed by taskforce leader, Mike Duffy, WFS’ EVP Innovation, and supported by senior operations, commercial and communications specialists across WFS’ global network, Project Coldstream is working closely with airlines, forwarders and logistics providers, government agencies and industry organisations, such as Pharma.Aero and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to clearly understand temperature and handling requirements. The group will be responsible for developing in-house solutions to the challenge, ensuring the preparedness of WFS’ pharma handling capability, devising plans for additional capacity where needed, and working closely with WFS’ airline customers.
According to IATA, the industry expects this to be the largest airlift of a single commodity ever, requiring the equivalent capacity of 8,000 747 aircraft. IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, had earlier remarked, “Safely delivering Covid-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But it won’t happen without careful advance planning.”
Hinting at how the whole world is eagerly awaiting a safe Covid vaccine, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director had earlier mentioned that while it is incumbent on all to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available, as the lead agency for the procurement and supply of the Covid vaccine on behalf of the COVAX Facility, UNICEF will be leading what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest operation ever. “The role of airlines and international transport companies will be critical to this endeavour,” Fore had added.
WFS currently operates 12 dedicated pharma facilities in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Miami, New York JFK, and its EUR 10 million state-of-the-art Pharma Centre at Paris CDG. These facilities are all either IATA CEIV or Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certified or compliant.
A press release from WFS quotes Barry Nassberg, WFS’ Group Chief Commercial Officer, as saying, “We are extremely proud to be playing a key role in the international response to Covid and the next big stage of this will be the rapid and safe distribution of vaccines once they are approved. WFS’ significant investment in dedicated facilities and training for pharma shipments means we are uniquely placed to meet the requirements of governments, the pharma industry and our customers. They can be assured of our robust support.”
The transportation of Covid vaccines is expected to commence by the end of 2020, reach its peak in the second half of 2021, and continue into 2022. Countries and trading blocs have already ordered over 5 billion doses and, already, some 65,000 tonnes of vaccine are forecast to require air cargo transportation, plus ancillary hardware and PPE which will be needed to administer it.
The press statement also has Duffy saying, “We are part of an industrywide solution which is mapping where vaccines are being produced to ensure rapid global vaccine trade flows. We will use all the capabilities we have to deliver and support a consistent and reliable end-to-end handling solution.”