STATE OF READINESS: Emirates launches Covid-19 vaccine cargo hub

Published: 26 October 2020 - 7:27 a.m.

Emirates SkyCargo has already moved more than a quarter of a million tonnes of pharmaceutical cargo over the last four years but is now gearing up for potentially the largest distribution mission of its history.

The airline has invested in new facilities designed to aid the global distribution of a potential Covid-19 vaccine as the UAE prepares itself to act as a central hub in the world’s upcoming logistics operation.

Emirates SkyCargo has established first dedicated airside cargo hub for the vaccine and has re-opened its Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as an anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.

The freight division of Emirates has also set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the various partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests.

“Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for Covid-19 vaccines to the rest of the world,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chief executive.

“We have the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour flying radius.

“Setting up a dedicated airside hub for Covid-19 vaccines is a keystone project harnessing our network, reach and competencies to positively impact the lives of people around the world.”

World’s first dedicated airside hub for vaccine

Emirates SkyCargo’s vaccine hub in Dubai South will be the largest dedicated airside facility in the world for Covid-19 vaccines. The Dubai hub will allow the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution.

Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled GDP certified dedicated pharma storage area allowing for large scale storage and distribution of the potential COVID-19 vaccines. Overall, it is estimated that the facility can hold around 10 million vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point of time.

Emirates has one of the world’s largest fleet of Cool Dollys, helping protect temperature sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Additionally, the availability of a large number of temperature controlled trucking docks and the proximity of the terminal to the aircraft parking gates will ensure rapid and efficient clearance of cargo for further distribution, the airline said.

In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for other, services such as re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution for its customers.

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