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Indian airlines, airports are all set to handle distribution of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines

Indian airlines, airports are all set to handle distribution of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines

Friday 20th November 2020

As some of the coronavirus vaccine trials across the world are in their final stages, Indian airports and airlines have geared up to handle the distribution of temperature-sensitive vaccines in the country.

Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and GMR Hyderabad airport's cargo are set to play a pivotal role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as they are equipped with the state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution system.

"Delhi Airport has two cargo terminals with world-class infrastructure that provides GDP (good distribution practices)-a certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. With the capacity to handle over 1.5 lakh MT per annum, this facility has state-of-the-art temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from +25 to -20 degree Celsius, which would be extremely conducive for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines," a Delhi International Airport Limited spokesperson said.

"There are Cool Dollies at the airside that ensure unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft. The terminals have separate gates dedicated for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport," he added.

The emphasis has been laid on quick and efficient transportation and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines whenever they are available.

GMR Hyderabad airport said the terminal is equipped with various temperatures ranging from -20 to +25 degrees Celsius with state-of-the-art equipment and cool containers to cater to product-specific requirements.

"GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) boasts of India's first Pharma Zone with GDP-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo... The Freighter Parking stands are just 50 meters away from the terminal thereby minimizing the ramp exposure timing and ensuring quick turn-around of the aircraft.

"We have recently launched the latest Cool Dollies -- which is a Mobile Refrigeration Unit for Airside Transportation designed to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the Unbroken Cool Chain. The GHAC also boasts of one of India's largest storage facility for Cool Containers like Envirotainer, C-Safe, Unicooler, and Vaqtainer within our premises to make sure the service is available for customer 24x7," Hyderabad Airport said.

An official of SpiceJet said the airline is fully prepared and ready to handle the COVID-19 vaccine.

The airline spokesperson said the airline has extensive experience in the past and already carries blood samples, which require a temperature-controlled environment.

"Today we have the facility of both our aircraft and our ground support vehicles. We have sufficient capacity to cater to the rise in demand for the COVID-19 vaccine shipments and have prepared the capacity keeping in mind the future. We have been transporting vaccine shipments to various international as well as domestic destinations," SpiceJet spokesperson told ANI.

"The transportation of these consignments requires cold chain facilities. SpiceXpress offers cargo shipment with a controlled ambient temperature between +25 degrees C to freezing -40 degrees Celsius. The service is suitable for sensitive drugs, vaccines, and blood samples and with the extra protection of thermal blankets in the world-class active RKN and RAP containers." SpiceJet spokesperson said.

Medical experts have said the upcoming coronavirus vaccine will require specific cold storage and controlled temperatures.

Many other airports and airlines are also learned to be prepared

The strong relationship between growth in international trade and logistics infrastructure is widely acknowledged. Growth in trade induced requirement for supporting infrastructure while

the availability of infrastructure at competitive rates promotes trade and improves the global competitiveness of the country. Availability of infrastructure is also a key determinant of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. 

In developing countries like India, an efficient logistics infrastructure can reduce the cost of transportation which in turn can contribute directly to the global competitiveness of the country. 

The efficient logistics industry acts as an economic catalyst by opening up new market opportunities, moving products and services with speed and efficiency

The demand for air cargo transportation has increased significantly over the last few years because product life cycles have shortened and demand for rapid delivery has increased.

Changing business models such as Just-in-Time Manufacturing and Global outsourcing models have contributed to the rapid growth of the air cargo logistics business.

In such a changing business environment, where speed-to-market is a competitive imperative, movement of inventory is no longer viewed as a compartmentalized process.

Rather, the sourcing of inputs, parts, and components and the delivery of the final product are all viewed as a continuous value-adding chain.

Efficient supply chain management, therefore, offers significant benefits including lower inventory and intermediary costs; and simplicity in order placement, delivery, and management of suppliers and customers. These benefits directly contribute to making businesses more competitive.