Air cargo sector “must be prepared” for international vaccine distribution

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The IATA has said that the air cargo sector ‘must be prepared’ for when quarantined borders re-open in order to effectively distribute a Covid-19 vaccine internationally.

The international trade body has issued guidance that it says will ensure that the air cargo industry is ready to support the large-scale handling, transport and distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine.

It has provided recommendations for governments, logistics and supply chains in preparation for what it says will be the largest and most complex global logistics operation ever undertaken.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac said: “Delivering billions of doses of a vaccine that must be transported and stored in a deep-frozen state to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical challenges across the supply chain.

“While the immediate challenge is the implementation of Covid-19 testing measures to re-open borders without quarantine, we must be prepared for when a vaccine is ready. This guidance material is an important part of those preparations.”

The guidance calls on governments and supply chains to address the availability of temperature-controlled storage facilities and contingencies when such facilities are not available, as well as defining the roles and responsibilities of parties involved in the distribution of vaccines, particularly government authorities and NGOs.

For businesses in logistics and the supply chain industry the IATA said that capacity and connectivity needed to be addressed as global routes had been reduced ‘dramatically’ by the spread of the virus.

It also called on the sector to address the facilities and infrastructure required for the distribution and storage of facilities that would keep the vaccine in a ‘deep-frozen’ state.

The IATA also called on governments and businesses to address border management including the introduction of fast-track procedures for overflight and landing permits for operations carrying the Covid-19 vaccine as well as potential tariff relief.

Finally, it said that arrangements must be in place to ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft.

For more on this topic, read the Editor’s Blog: Visibility the key challenge for vaccine distribution


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