Dubai has launched an alliance to speed up distribution of Covid-19 vaccines particularly to emerging markets that have been hit hard by the pandemic and where transport and logistics will likely be a challenge.
The Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance supports the WHO’s COVAX initiative and its efforts to equitably distribute two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021. The move will combine the expertise and global reach of Emirates SkyCargo with DP World’s worldwide network of ports and warehouses, along with the infrastructure of Dubai Airports and International Humanitarian City.
The distribution will sharply focus on emerging markets that have been hard-hit by the pandemic and where pharmaceutical transport and logistics are challenging.
The alliance is working with a broader set of stakeholders, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, forwarders, government agencies and other entities for transportation of vaccines.
IHC will bring its vast expertise in humanitarian logistics in markets with limited infrastructure. The organisation has helped distribute over 80 percent of the WHO’s global medical response in the fight against Covid-19, and signed an MoU with Emirates SkyCargo last year to carry out humanitarian assistance flights.
Facilitating the collection of vaccines from manufacturing sites in Europe, US and India and delivering them to airports, seaports and dry ports for onward transport is DP World, who recently partnered with UNICEF to support the global distribution of vaccines and related immunisation supplies in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
“Humanity will only defeat coronavirus if vaccines can be distributed everywhere. Dubai’s position as a global hub means we have a responsibility to combine our infrastructure and capabilities for this common goal,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman and CEO of DP World.
The port and terminal operator’s warehousing and distribution hubs will be used to store vaccines for distribution to hospitals and clinics. It will deploy its track-and-trace technology for real-time information on the location of shipments, and continual temperature control and monitoring. Meanwhile, Jebel Ali in Dubai will be used to ship, store and distribute medical devices, such as syringes and wipes.
Dubai Airports, meanwhile, will provide additional space at Dubai International (DXB), with repurposed cargo facilities providing storage for vaccines that will be transported through its interlinked operations at DXB and DWC.
Providing air transport for the distribution of vaccines is Emirates SkyCargo who activated the world’s largest airside hub dedicated to the storage and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines at Dubai South. With 15,000 square metres of cool chain space its terminals in Dubai, the leading carrier has already had a head start after moving Covid-19 vaccines on its flights during the month of December.
“With our modern wide-body aircraft fleet, our network reaching more than 135 cities across six continents including major pharma hubs, and our expertise in handling pharma shipments, we are well placed to work with our partners in the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance in order to make sure that the COVID-19 vaccines are reaching every corner of the globe, especially cities in emerging markets, said Nabil Sultan, senior vice president for cargo at Emirates.
“Dubai’s central location means it is easily accessible to almost 80 percent of the world’s population within just four hours, making the decision to join forces and develop the world’s pre-eminent distribution hub a very strategic one,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
“Over the coming months, there will undoubtedly be a major surge in demand for the efficient, safe and reliable global distribution of high volumes of COVID-19 vaccines, and we wanted to be ready to respond to and accommodate that demand.
“This alliance is timed perfectly and will not only support a global need, but also support the future of travel,” Griffiths added.