Covid logistics are being planned right now
Air cargo, truckers are ready to begin distribution
BY JEFF YAPALATER
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Covid-19 vaccine development and
distribution are keypoints in fighting
the pandemic. Governments and companies
worldwide are planning for
both, but the larger issue is distribution
once the vaccine is approved.
Operation Warp Speed falls short
of delivery details but the White
house says the U.S.military will be
part of the distribution and storage.
But this will not be enough to satisfy
the needs of the public. Plans are
underway globally at logistics, transportation,
and cargo companies to
be a significant part of this vaccine
deployment from points of manufacturer
to the U.S., and from the U.S.
Major pharma firms in the U.S.
have been quietly getting pricing for
truck transportation and ground handlers
like Worldwide Flight Services
and dnata are in a state of preparedness.
In the U.S., in conjunction with
WFS worldwide, EVP Mike Duffy is
heading this logistics planning for
Worldwide Flight Services through
their ColdStream initiative which
will bring together various companies
in the industry on the planning
and collaboration among the various
aspects of vaccine distribution given
the broad range of vaccine development,
production and end location delivery.
“Preparedness is important at this
point. We are engaging and collaborating
with many entities. TIACA
and Pharma Aero are two largest air
cargo supply chain entities in our industry
representing many various
TIACA has teamed up with GHI to
support the focus on the challenges
of handling freighters and the industry’s
role in delivering a future
Covid-19 vaccine will be under discussion
at Ground Handling International’s
(GHI’s) Cargo Zone 30 November
According to Duffy, both Schiphol.
A world leader in pharma cargo, and
Miami airports believe they will central
are very important hubs for distribution.
He said that Miami would
be a central distribution point to
South America since they do not have
manufacturing capability, and Schiphol
to Africa with vaccines coming
from manufacturers such as U.S.,
England France, India and Belgium.
“We are looking at airport capacity
and will work with other competitors
to work together as a community.
Port airports are being brought into
the collaborative process through our
NY office. We believe JFK is one of the
gateways so what we are doing, we
are engaging with the Port Authority
to put a plan together and love to have
24 AIRPORT VOICE, OCTOBER 2020
Duffy said that a lot is still unknown
about the number of vaccines
that may distributed, the temperature
requirements and the quantity of
vaccines that will be distributed.
Ground handler dnata is also
working on the storage and distribution
with its ties to facilities around
the world. According to their website,
“Since the start of the pandemic,
dnata has transported millions of
personal protective equipment (PPE),
pharmaceuticals and perishables
across the globe. With the COVID-19
vaccine availability nearing, we are
actively working towards readiness
to manage high volumes. We are developing
effective solutions to manage
your promises and are confident
we will be best placed to help and support
you and your customers by playing
our essential part within the supply
chain. We will provide real-time
visibility, adopting new and reliable
processes to track temperature and
trace shipments and activate fast response
solutions. A growing number
of our stations are already GDP and
CEIV accredited ensuring compliance
to standards and regulations to
ensure optimal integrity of pharma
products. We also leverage our expertise
and enhance our capabilities
to extend the scope of certifications
to new stations. This helps to further
align with common standards and
deliver unified service levels with
trained and qualified teams across
While WFS has a pharma facility
at Building 66 at JFK that handles
standard pharmaceutical temperature
ranges, this may not be enough
capacity nor temperature range if
products demand it.
Reference was made to additional
containers and “reefer” trucks. These
are special refrigerated trailers that
would add capacity at airports being
parked for quick access to move product.
Said Duffy, ““We want to move as
much of the vaccine as quickly as possible.
We see having trucks available
at the aircraft off-loading so the vaccine
gets delivered to the end location
as soon as possible”
Duffy said that WFS’s trucking logistics
software from KALE will be
very useful to smooth out congestion
that will likely occur with surges.
This software will help truckers
and ground handlers work more efficiently.
Jim Barrett of Road Scholar transportation
supplies the types of vehicles
which accounts for a share of his
business. He has been getting quote
calls from manufacturers but he does
not have any detail as to when, volume,
or temperature needed to transport
vaccines. He said , “ This is an
unprecedented program to mitigate
risks of Covid spreading.” Part of the
OPS Warp Speed includes the government
asking manufacturers to produce
prior to FDA approval and deploying
to certain locations. As of yet
there have not been any confirmed
shipments from pharma manufacturers.
Barrett has over 120 and drivers
to handle any tasks given to him.
He also pointed out that security is
a major issue. He suspects that there
will be two drivers per truck so that
there will not be any down time heading
to points of distribution. as well
as escort vehicles protecting million
dollars shipments of medicine on the
roads open to theft.
Based on this security need and
known lack of enough licensed truck
drivers, it likely that military conveys
will be used to transport goods
as well from manufacturers and airports.
Walt Beading of , added. “ Chain of
custody of these valuable vaccines is
of utmost importance. If that chain is
broken by poor handling or tampering,
then a whole shipment has to be
Duffy is busy working on all these
issues and is investing in ways to
make best practices for the handling
of the vaccines.
Innovations and investments include:
-Making transit of arrived goods
as quickly as possible to the public.
Work with security companies to
insure safety and control of goods.
-Training employees how to handle
-Planning the use of “reefer”
trucks for temporary storage.
-Planning truck and driver availability.
-Electrical i-enhancements to meet
need of active temperature containers.
-Dry ice, and PPE to handle products
-Engaging with airlines task forces
to identify their needs.
-Utilizing our new trucking software
to smooth cargo surges and reducing
Duffy repeated the call for collaboration
among all entities even competitors
in the need for swift distribution.
“The Freight forwarders, shippers
and ground handlers, are all involved.
We at the airports could be doing
engaging the whole airport and
getting all involved.”
Ironically, the advent and spread
of Covid could be the beginning of
new world collaboration and new innovative
JFK ground handler ASAK pitching in with other ground/cargo handlers to expediently
load and unload passenger converted aircraft now carrying loose loaded
freight. Given the drop in number of flyers, airlines are using these aircraft to help
more PPE and other goods. These cargo-in-cabin aircraft sometimes have their upper
seating removed to fit tons of cargo or boxes strapped in like travelers. ASAK is now
ground handling 10+ aircraft and rendering aircraft ancillary services to 50+ aircraft
per week. Asak is also handling hundreds of e-commerce shipments daily to fulfill