Emirates SkyCargo is further strengthening its temperature sensitive pharma and vaccine handling capabilities in Dubai with the extension of its fully automated cool room with 94 airline pallet positions at its EU GDP certified dedicated pharma facility at Dubai International Airport.
The extended cool room will provide an additional 2600 square metres of temperature controlled environment (2-25 degrees Celsius) for the storage and handling of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals at Emirates SkyCargo’s purpose built GDP certified facility, reinforcing the carrier’s position as an industry leader for the air transportation of pharmaceuticals and providing additional capacity at its Dubai hub to meet the growing demand for transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. The new extension can hold an estimated 60-90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at one time.
Transportation of COVID-19 vaccines
Emirates SkyCargo continues to play a leading role in the international distribution of COVID-19 vaccines having transported over 75 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on more than 250 flights to over 60 destinations since late 2020.
“Emirates SkyCargo is proud to have flown over 350 tonnes of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, delivering much needed support to communities that are still heavily impacted by the current wave of the pandemic. However, we are always looking ahead and we anticipate that there will be an increase in demand to transport vaccines to developing nations during the second half of the year. Already, we have seen a ramping up of COVID-19 vaccine volumes that were transported over the last few weeks in line with increased manufacturing. We expect to reach the 100 million doses milestone well before the end of this month,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.
“The last six months have been a valuable and mutual learning experience for Emirates SkyCargo and as well for pharmaceutical manufacturers and our logistics partners. We have been able to apply these learnings to make the process of vaccine transportation faster and more efficient, providing a valuable boost to the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine transportation, as well as for other temperature sensitive pharma products in the future” added Sultan.
Emirates SkyCargo was one of the first air cargo carriers to begin extensive preparations during the early stages of the pandemic for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. In October 2020, the carrier announced the setting up of a dedicated GDP certified airside hub in Dubai for transporting COVID-19 vaccines. The carrier has over 20,000 sq metres of EU GDP certified cool chain infrastructure for storing and handling COVID-19 vaccines in Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo also has more than 50 cool dollies dedicated for pharmaceuticals at its hub protecting temperature sensitive shipments such as vaccines during transit between the aircraft and the cargo terminal.
In January 2020, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance aimed at rapidly transporting COVID-19 vaccines through Dubai to developing countries. This was shortly followed up in February 2020 with an MoU with UNICEF to expedite the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX initiative.
In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, Emirates SkyCargo has transported thousands of tonnes of other essential commodities such as PPE, pharmaceuticals and related supplies on its flights. The carrier recently set up a humanitarian airbridge initiative to transport urgent COVID-19 relief items to India. Under the initiative, the air cargo is offering any available cargo capacity on its flights from Dubai to nine destinations in India, free of charge for NGOs for transporting medical and relief items.