The International Air Cargo Association (Tiaca) along with Pharma.Aero have expressed strong concern over the current state of air cargo readiness for the upcoming Covid-19 vaccine transportation, with only 28% of the industry feeling well prepared for it right now.
According to the results of an air freight readiness survey undertaken by the two organisations, completed by 181 airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airport operators and solution providers, the majority of the industry players have begun preparation to handle, store, transport and deliver the future vaccines. They are setting up dedicated teams, engaging with partners, mapping and upgrading their capabilities, as well as developing new services. Compared to companies that are already in close engagement with vaccine manufacturers, companies not involved in direct conversations with the manufacturers felt the least prepared for the upcoming logistics challenge.
“We as an industry are as strong as our weakest link. To move the needle on industry readiness we need to ensure everyone is engaged and informed. Only with a strong and transparent dialogue between pharmaceutical and air cargo sectors, governments, non-governmental organisations and healthcare institutions can we overcome these challenges. The sooner, the better,” said Emir Pineda, member of Tiaca’s board of directors and co-lead of the Sunrays project, initiated in August by Tiaca and Pharma.Aero, a cross-industry collaboration for pharma shippers.
Industry collaboration between pharma and air cargo sectors, improving visibility and transparency and help from international organisations and donors to ensure no country is left behind are some of the priorities identified to ensure maximum air cargo preparedness.
Tiaca believes manufacturers should involve all their air cargo logistics providers as early as possible and that all air cargo stakeholders should be involved in the conversation, including airports and ground handlers.
“The use of tracking and monitoring devices should be encouraged and the approval process for their safe use in flight needs to start as soon as possible,” says Pineda.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has already said that the vaccine delivery will be a logistics challenge of epic proportions, the likes of which the industry has never faced before.