Vaccine Logistics: A challenge comes with opportunity
Logistics plays an important role in vaccine distribution as it has to reach every nook and corner of the country. It is definitely considered a revival of the cargo industry but at the same time, it comes with many challenges in terms of infrastructure, temperature, first mile/last mile deliveries, etc. Industry veterans share their opinions on this exclusively with Jasleen Kaur. Take a look at the top 6 opinions –
Jaideep Raha, Managing Director, Jetex Oceanair
Logistics plays the most crucial role in Vaccine Distribution. Whoever is the operator he must have proper trained manpower and infrastructure and his own CHA licenses and good inventory of Reefer Truck Vendors if he himself does not have them in adequate numbers. Most importantly, the logistic operator has to ensure that the temperature chain does not break in the First mile and Last mile delivery.
Challenges for vaccine logistics are –
a) Prompt Customs Clearance
b) Efficient Terminal Handling
c) Cold Chain facilities
d) First Mile and Last mile Delivery systems
e) During the Day time within the City limit the Goods Vehicles No Entry Permission by the Traffic Police Department of the Respective City.
This Vaccine Logistics certainly is not the parameter of revival of the cargo industry. Yes it will to some extent will act as an oxygen to the Industry to sustain till this CV19 stain is not eradicated and foreign Travel restriction is not lifted globally and normal Business Operation resumes globally.
Keshav Tanna, Director, Links Forwarders
Logisticians would play a big role in vaccine distribution but we need to be careful here in terms of what kind of investments we wish to make. It is important to understand that this is not normal / general cargo and requires special handling with varying temperatures depending on the kind of vaccine. This movement is going to be highly complex.
As far as challenges concerned, firstly, I do not believe that the vaccine will have to reach our entire population of 1.3 Billion. Hinterland India is not as affected as urban India where the masses live close to each other in tier 1 and tier 2 cities – these will be the worst affected as the families per sq. foot is quite congested unlike rural India. Secondly, some of our population has already been infected and have developed anti bodies (doesn’t mean they will not need the vaccine) but the distribution urgency would be different from individual to individual.
Along with this, I do not think that distribution of the vaccine per se will revive the cargo Industry; as I mentioned these could and would perhaps make a difference to a few big logistics players but not the MSME forwarder. Though what will revive the Industry, is the fact that this distribution, which is must, once achieves decent numbers will bring back trade confidence to commerce and Industry which will once again pick up, thereby reviving the EXIM trade.
Kamal Jain, Director, Cargomen Logistics
Logistics play an important role in the distribution of vaccines as it needs to reach remote areas of the country . Our strategy is to support our client in terms of providing “unbroken cold chain” service . As far as challenges are concerned, it depends upon the stability of the medicine and temperature requirement cold chain solutions are designed.
Vaccine Logistics is indeed an opportunity for the revival of the cargo industry. Covid vaccine distribution requires cold chain transport movement and that to be every knock and corner of the country.
Mahesh P Trikha, Managing Director, Aargus Global Logistics
Logistics shall have a role of great responsibility among the various segments of the entire chain. It will have to be very efficient, accurate and right the first time and all the time. Else the basic purpose of logistics to make the vaccine reach the millions, in good shape, gets defeated. Key Strategy must include Product Knowledge thru intense training and its importance of timely and safe delivery in good condition.
Being Temperature sensitive and being awaited for long, the security for safe delivery could also be challenged. However, we can see India is fully prepared to deliver it without much issues around. We had done the similar exercise for Polio Vaccination and this should, though a gigantic task, we should sail not with much difficulty.
Vipin Vohra, Chairman, Continental Carriers
The role of logistics in the distribution of the Covid vaccine is very crucial. The most important part of the same is to develop a foolproof plan for delivering a safe and effective product not only to the Indian population of 1.3 billion but also to various countries as quickly and reliably as possible. Successful implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program requires precise coordination across all platforms starting from manufacturers, central & state government, local bodies and the most important logistics handling partners. The strategy would require good freight management with upgraded cold chain logistics solutions to maintain the required temperature, a secure web based IT tracking system to ensure traceability, safety of the product and maximize coverage.
Vaccine supply and distribution is quite a complex process which requires a temperature-controlled atmosphere throughout the shipping process, starting from the manufacturing unit until the delivery point. Presently, cold chain networks are concentrated in the big cities and towns. To fill this gap we need enough cold chain trucks, freighters and a good freight management scenario. A Good number of Planes, trucks, warehouses and health centers will need to be outfitted with freezers. Vaccine logistics would require special planning, secured loading and protection throughout its movement.
Sunil Kohli, Managing Director, Rahat Cargo
The role of logistics is going to be extremely crucial to ensure a seamless transportation, storage and distribution of vaccines in the country. Most of these COVID-19 vaccines will require storage at 2–8 °C and potentially –80 °C, this approach will require the development of novel solutions for establishing and maintaining low to very low temperatures in the entirety of the aircrafts. Restrictive measures regarding the movement of goods, implemented as a result of the pandemic, could also potentially impact the shipment of vaccines across borders. However, one answer would be for the pharmaceutical industry to combine a distributed manufacturing approach with multiple manufacturing sites in different regions. This would minimize distribution needs through a multimodal transport solution.
Maintaining the cold chain will be a crucial issue for COVID-19 vaccines, which poses a significant problem in many parts of the country. Low temperatures must be maintained whether a vaccine is being delivered to a wealthy, densely populated city or a poor, sparsely populated rural area. Trucks that provide refrigerated transportation for the pharma industry will also have to comply with the varying storage requirements of different vaccines. To sum up, a closely coordinated action among all the participating agencies would be essential to achieve an effective and desired outcome.