Cainiao partners with Ethiopian to launch pharma service

By Rachelle Harry

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics division of Alibaba Group, has partnered with Ethiopian Airlines to launch an airfreight pharma service that will transport temperature-controlled medicines from Shenzhen Airport.

The move comes as the world gears up for widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

IATA Pharma-certified Shenzhen Airport is China’s first medical cross-border cold chain facility.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian’s 54,000 sq m Pharma Wing, located at its cargo terminal, has compartmentalised cold storage facilities that can hold goods between temperatures of -23℃ and 25℃.

It also has cool dollies, a dedicated pharma team and a temperature monitoring system that gives updates in real time.

The Cainiao-Ethiopian partnership will see temperature-controlled medicines, including Covid-19 vaccines, distributed twice a week from Shenzhen Airport to Africa, and to the rest of the world via Dubai and Addis Ababa.

James Zhao, general manager at Cainiao International Supply Chain, explained: “Cainiao’s global logistics network spans over 200 countries and regions, providing end-to-end integrated logistics services, including digital customs clearance capabilities.

“The launch of the cold chain airfreight [service] has further bolstered our global logistics capabilities and allows us to offer a one-stop solution for the global distribution of medical products such as the Covid-19 vaccines.”

Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group chief executive, added: “Ethiopian Airlines will repeat its remarkable and globally recognised success of leading the fast delivery of PPE few months ago with similar delivery speed, professional handling and maintaining of the cold chain during the forthcoming global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“In anticipation of the Covid-19 vaccine release, we will be at the forefront to further discharge our responsibility in the distribution of the vaccine across the globe.”

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