Schiphol cargo community creates vaccine task force

By Damian Brett

The Schiphol cargo community has created a task force to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine.

A taskforce led by Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN), Schiphol Cargo and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, as well as shippers, pharma firms, forwarders, airlines, ground handlers and trucking companies, have met to start work on up to four possible ‘vaccine scenarios’, based on different temperature ranges.

“We have a strong pharma and air cargo community at Schiphol, we know what we are talking about, and we will be ready for what is coming,” said Maarten van As, managing director, ACN.

“As an industry interest group, part of the supply chain, we have a social responsibility to participate and do our part in the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine – it is not just about the Netherlands, it is about getting the vaccine distributed at speed to the world.”

Ferry van der Ent, director of business development, Schiphol Cargo, added: “The most important thing is to provide a safe, secure, and reliable trade lane, especially when there is a peak in demand, so that we can guarantee the vaccines are tamper-free, with no temperature excursions and handled properly.

“The Dutch Civil Aviation Authority is also very supportive in granting permissions for Covid-19 related ad-hoc flights.

“We are now focusing on a fast and swift handling process on the tarmac, getting the vaccines as soon as possible to the end-customer via the distribution channels, rather than storing them at the airport.”

The vaccine readiness group will host a round table on September 29, open to the entire Schiphol Cargo Community, as well as Dutch Customs and the Dutch Ministry of Health, to discuss methods of mapping capacity, from ground handlers to airlines, as well as back-up solutions.

Under the initiative, the community will continue to work closely with customs and governmental bodies to ensure faster customs release and priority customs checks.

“There will be a focus on ensuring the proper distribution of storage to guarantee sufficient cool room capacity,” the airport said. “This could include pre-warnings and data exchange, as well as increased security and strict handover protocols.”

Community members will look at ways to speed up handovers between parties in the cool chain, including last minute delivery, quick pick-up, and airside delivery or pick up.

Enrica Calonghi, global head of pharmaceutical logistics at  Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, said: “We still don’t know the how, the where to, the where from, or the when.

“We have to work collaboratively and that is one positive that 2020 has brought us. It means that as a community, we should not just think about capacity in the air, but also on the ground, from the trucks, to the warehouse space, and we have to think as a community.”

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