Emirates SkyCargo sets up GDP-compliant air cargo hub

Emirates SkyCargo is all geared up to play a major role in global logistics, supply chain and distribution for Covid-19 vaccine by creating a dedicated airside cargo hub in Dubai.

The air cargo carrier is engaged in parleys with Indian and other pharma companies to offer its dedicated Good Distribution Practice GDP-compliant hub for logistics and supply solutions. As an airliner, which already plays a significant role in supply of drugs and pharmaceuticals in the global network, serving as a hub, it expects to see itself playing a much bigger role as pharma companies roll out the Covid vaccines.

“We are ready to offer the Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine. The freight division of Emirates has set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests,” Julian Sutch, Emirates SkyCargo Manager for Global Pharma Sales, said.

“We are in talks with some of the leading vaccine makers including Serum Institute of India for vaccine supplies,” he said.

distribution hub

Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for Covid-19 vaccines to the rest of the world. The airline has the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 4-5 hour flying radius. The dedicated freighter service offers not just pharma supplies but vaccines, including frozen, as per requirement, he told.

“In normal times, most of the cargo is transported under the belly of the passenger aircraft. With the disruption of normal services due to Covid-19, we are in a position to offer supplies of these temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, through dedicated freight services. There was disruption to the air traffic and cargo movement due to the Covid pandemic outbreak. The business is gradually returning back. We are in for a busy cargo movement season ahead of Christmas,” he said.

Temperature-controlled storage area

The Emirates SkyCargo’s vaccine hub in Dubai South is the largest dedicated airside facility in the world for Covid-19 vaccines. It enables the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution.

“The 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled GDP certified dedicated pharma storage area allows for large-scale storage and distribution of the potential vaccines. About 5-10 per cent of current pharma business is vaccines. This number is set to go up with Covid vaccine roll out,” he said.

The facility can hold around 10 million vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point of time.

The Cool Dollys help protect temperature sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Through a combination of scheduled and charter flights, the cargo carrier will then be able to fly the vaccines to markets where they will be most needed.

Emirates Pharma and the development of dedicated GDP certified fit for purpose infrastructure pharma both at Dubai as well as at major origin and destination points under its pharma corridors programme currently covers more than 30 cities.

Source: Business Line