Etihad Cargo readies itself for Covid-19 vaccine mission

Published: 30 September 2020 - 3 a.m.

Etihad Cargo has launched a new pharmaceutical service and set up a dedicated Covid-19 distribution team in anticipation of a vaccine for the virus, which could be rolled out across the UAE as soon as the end of 2021, according to health officials.

PharmaLife is a new specialised pharma and healthcare product which replaces the carrier’s TempCheck product. Etihad said the product will “serve the anticipated global demand for swift and secure shipment services ahead of a Covid-19 vaccine”.

“The pandemic prompted a reassessment of our top-level services to ensure we can address the specific requirements for shipping high volumes of in-demand product in very short timescales,” said Andre Blech, head of operations and service delivery at Etihad Cargo.

“To avoid last minute pressure once a vaccine is approved, we have established a dedicated Covid-19 vaccines workforce composed of a Steering Committee and a Working Group to manage all anticipated elements.”

Available at 54 stations on the Etihad network, PharmaLife will focus on key gateways including Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Chicago, Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hyderabad, London, Milan, Melbourne, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, and Sydney.

The PharmaLife offering is hallmarked by two shipment solutions: global lease active and hybrid containers with PharmaLife Active solutions for premium, sensitive products. PharmaLife Passive Solutions will provide the right equipment and right storage conditions with three specific temperature ranges (+2° to +25°, +2° to +8°, and +15° to +25°).

As part of the rollout, Etihad Cargo is reviewing the refurbishment of a dedicated pharmaceutical handling facility to accommodate increased capacity at its hub in Abu Dhabi.

“Pharma shipments are a key part of the global flow where every stakeholder has a responsibility to maintain product integrity,” said Blech.

“Our intention is to continuously expand our Pharma trade lanes, which requires collaboration with industry partners.”

He added: “A core part of this is through working with our GHAs to offer cool dollies or thermo trucks for key destinations; dependent upon viability, we could look into an advanced lease model for this kind of equipment as currently, due to tarmac constraints, cool dollies and thermo trucks are quite rare and expensive.”

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