The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma.Aero have joined forces to develop global guidance for the air cargo industry to enable optimal transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance will be developed gradually in four work packages through a joint working group to ensure feedback from all stakeholders in the supply chain of air cargo and pharmaceuticals.
In the past few months, air freight has demonstrated once again its vital role in the global economy and distribution of essential medical supplies. In the months to come, air freight will again make an important contribution to the global public good and in fighting this pandemic by playing a vital role in the COVID-19 vaccine global supply chain.
As pharmaceutical companies race to develop the COVID-19 vaccine, it is still unclear what impact this vaccine will have on the global supply chain, specifically, logistics requirements and the air cargo industry. To address these concerns, the joint working group will bring to the table all the key industry stakeholders, including pharmaceutical manufacturers and logistics businesses.
The aim of this program is to provide the air cargo industry with more clarity of the demands, expectations and quality supply chain requirements, including but not restricted to critical trade lanes, air cargo capacity, handling and storage, track and trace requirements, for the transportation of the vaccines. At the same time, shippers will gain more understanding about the capabilities of the various logistics players. This will ensure that once the vaccine is available in the market, the air cargo industry will be ready to respond to the needs of the shippers and transport vaccines in optimal conditions to all corners of the globe.
“COVID-19 vaccine delivery will be one of the biggest logistical challenges in modern history. No one company can own the end-to-end vaccine supply chain,” said Neel Jones Shah, TIACA board member and Global Head of Airfreight at Flexport. “I’m proud to be a member of the TIACA and Pharma.Aero working group, which is doing the critical work of connecting all vaccine supply chain stakeholders to foster effective communication and collaboration. We need to start working together now to ensure the industry is prepared when the time comes.”
“Setting up reliable end-to-end air transportation for pharma shippers is part of the vision and mission of Pharma.Aero. Amongst our members i.e. life sciences and pharmaceutical shippers, certified airport communities and air cargo operators, we have a track record of project-based collaboration,” says Nathan De Valck, chairman of Pharma.Aero. “As a result, Pharma.Aero is well-positioned to make a valuable contribution in preparing the air cargo industry for this immense challenge.”
The working group will consist of members of both organisations and will also reach out to various international organizations. The results will be shared with the industry through white papers and webinars in later stages of the program which aims to complete by end of 2020.