TIACA says air cargo industry not ready for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

A SURVEY conducted by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma

20 October 2020 - 19:00
A SURVEY conducted by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma.Aero shows that only 28 per cent of participants in the air cargo industry feel they are well prepared to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine once available.

Ground handlers and airports feel less prepared than freight forwarders and airlines, according to the survey which found 36 per cent of participants planned to invest in additional physical or digital infrastructure.

TIACA vice chairman Sanjeev Gadhia, who heads Nairobi-based air cargo operator Astral Aviation, said the global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine would be the toughest logistical challenge ever faced, with an estimated 10 billion doses requiring distribution in 2021 and 2022.

More than 40 vaccine candidates are already undergoing clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

'We know that as from November the first vaccines might be ready to be transported,' Mr Gadhia told Reuters via email. 'TIACA and Pharma.Aero call for more collaboration and transparency: information on vaccines specifications, volumes, production sites, trade lanes, is desperately needed by all.'

Large cargo airlines like Korean Air Lines and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways have been investing in expanding pharmaceutical handling capabilities as they seek alternative revenue sources with passenger demand at a fraction of last year's levels.

'Yield on vaccines are high compared to general cargo, hence airlines will have a financial benefit to transport vaccines and to invest in the supporting equipment,' said Mr Gadhia, whose own airline is adding a freighter later this month.

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