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Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub

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Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
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Emirates SkyCargo is stepping up its readiness to handle the logistical complexities of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally by creating the world’s first dedicated airside cargo hub for the vaccine in Dubai. The air cargo carrier is taking a global leadership position by announcing that it will be re-opening its 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 also set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the various partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world. We have the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour flying radius. Over the years, through our continuous investment in capabilities and processes for the transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, Emirates SkyCargo has managed to position Dubai amongst major global pharmaceutical customers as the year-round preferred point of transit for their valuable cargo. Setting up a dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccines is a keystone project harnessing our network, reach and competencies to positively impact the lives of people around the world.”

World’s first dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccine

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

Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled GDP certified dedicated pharma storage area allowing for large scale storage and distribution of the potential COVID-19 vaccines. Overall, it is estimated that 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 state of the art infrastructure at Emirates SkyCentral DWC is also complemented by one of the world’s largest fleet of Cool Dollys helping protect temperature sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Additionally, the availability of a large number of temperature controlled trucking docks and the proximity of the terminal to the aircraft parking gates will ensure rapid and efficient clearance of cargo for further distribution.

In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for value-added services such as re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution for its customers.

The extensive size of the facility, which can potentially handle millions of vaccine doses, along with the creation of a dedicated team to handle and execute requests will allow Emirates SkyCargo to be able to effectively handle the large volume of time critical requests for cross-border vaccine movement that will follow the successful introduction of a vaccine.

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 transportation capabilities

Emirates SkyCargo is harnessing decades of experience gained from transporting temperature controlled pharmaceutical products and vaccines for global manufacturers to develop innovative solutions that will meet the challenge of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally within a short timeframe.

Since 2016, the air cargo carrier has invested substantially in its capabilities for the transportation of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. This included the introduction of a specialised product – 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 that currently covers more than 30 cities. Emirates SkyCargo has moved more than a quarter million tonnes of pharmaceutical cargo in the last four years.

With its fleet of modern and efficient all wide-body aircraft and a network that currently spans more than 130 destinations across six continents, combined with the strategic geographic location of its Dubai hub, Emirates SkyCargo will be able to rapidly move vaccine shipments from manufacturing sites to the vaccine hub and then onwards to the rest of the world on a combination of scheduled and passenger flights.

Over the last few months, however, Emirates SkyCargo has worked on restoring its worldwide network and cargo connectivity with flight services restored to 75 destinations by May, 100 by July and nearly 135 destinations by early October. Emirates SkyCargo’s network covers all major pharmaceutical clusters and manufacturing locations, facilitating the eventual transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine once manufacturing commences.

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Air Freight

Etihad Cargo and CargoAi agree worldwide partnership

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Etihad Cargo and CargoAi agree worldwide partnership. Image: Eithad Cargo
Etihad Cargo and CargoAi agree worldwide partnership. Image: Eithad Cargo
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Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Aviation Group, and CargoAi, the SaaS application which provides air cargo digital solutions, have partnered to elevate the carrier’s API accessibility for freight forwarders as part of its digitalisation strategy.

During the past few years, Etihad Cargo has accelerated its development of technology advancements which have provided simplified customer experiences through a number of partnerships. This has culminated in the launch of its brand new digital platform. Their latest collaboration with CargoAi will further enhance this through the provision of brand-new API accessibility for freight forwarders the world over.

“Digitalisation has been at the core of Etihad Cargo’s strategy over the last three to five years, and continues to be a focus in driving digitalisation and streamlining processes across the air freight world. Our partnership with CargoAi supports this vision, and provides an additional tool which delivers a rapid and fluid digital booking services platform,” explained Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group.

Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi, noted “Etihad Cargo is a cutting-edge, highly innovative carrier in the field of digital air freight. We are fortunate to have the chance to be the first provider to use their latest modern APIs. As cargo capacities worldwide are still restricted, e-marketing the Etihad Cargo offer on our platform is clearly a major opportunity for our freight forwarder clients”.

With CargoAi’s expertise in the areas of air freight and tech, integration is taking place at a record pace. By beginning of August, all aspects of the company’s offer of capacity – including rates, schedules, quotations and bookings – will be available via the platform. The unique Business Intelligence solution will for its part provide access to live data with staggering simplicity.

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DB Schenker transports filling line to build up vaccine capacities

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DB Schenker transports filling line to build up vaccine capacities. Image: DB Schenker
DB Schenker transports filling line to build up vaccine capacities. Image: DB Schenker
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DB Schenker has transported equipment for a vaccine filling line this week on behalf of US-based healthcare company Nexus Pharmaceuticals.

With a total volume of 82 tons, it was necessary to charter an Antonov An-124 aircraft for the flight from Frankfurt-Hahn in Germany to Chicago-Rockford in the US. The transported material comprised of a vaccine filling machine with isolator from the German specialized engineering companies Bausch + Stroebel and Franz Ziel.

Once the production line is operational, it has the capability to produce up to 30 million doses of vaccines per month. The design and fabrication of the machine already began years before the pandemic.

Thorsten Meincke, Member of the Management Board for Air and Ocean Freight at DB Schenker: “With our expertise in intercontinental transports, we want to support the global fight against the pandemic by building up vaccine production capacities where possible. More than ever, logistics truly matters. We are proud to be able to realize short-term air freight solutions for our customers even in times of limited market capacities.”

John Cook, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations of Nexus Pharmaceuticals: “Nexus Pharmaceuticals is keenly aware of the need for an increase in global vaccine production capabilities and as such has aggressively taken steps to address the situation. The filling line and associated isolator represent critical pieces and their arrival is the culmination of Nexus’ commitment to addressing medical needs during the pandemic. Nexus’ investment with DB Schenker’s tremendous support was instrumental in the fast-tracking of the commissioning of our state-of-the-art sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.”

Bausch + Stroebel is a German specialist in machines for pharmaceutical packaging. Ahead of the break-out of the pandemic, the company already started to develop and build the now transported production line for the filling of sterile pharmaceutical products into vials. Franz Ziel created a tailor-made isolator to realize a truly aseptic environment for the processing of sterile pharmaceutical products.

From the two companies’ locations in Ilshofen and Billerbeck, DB Schenker transported the equipment to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport from where an Antonov An-124 charter flight carried 67 tons to Chicago-Rockford. The cargo was split into 20 boxes: The largest container possessed a length of 8.5 meters and 8.3 tons in chargeable weight. As even the Antonov’s capacities were not sufficient, another 15 tons were transported on DB Schenker’s regular weekly scheduled charter flight from Munich to Rockford.

After the arrival of both flights in the US, DB Schenker forwarded the entire cargo to Pleasant Prairie in Wisconsin where Nexus Pharmaceuticals will use the vaccine filling line with its surrounding isolator in a state-of-the-art sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. Depending on the type of vaccine, the machine is capable to produce up to 30 million doses monthly which could help to alleviate production bottlenecks to overcome the pandemic. The vaccines filled by the machine could be distributed both in the US and internationally. Subsequently, the line will be used for filling Nexus Pharmaceutical’s extensive portfolio of specialty and generic injectable products into vials.

An Antonov An-124 has a length of almost 70 meters. With a total shipment volume of 400 cubic meters, DB Schenker’s decision to utilize the four-engined airlift was based on the size of the cargo rather than its weight.

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Virgin Atlantic Cargo launches new service to Norway

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Virgin Atlantic Cargo launches new service to Norway in collaboration with Kuehne+Nagel. Image: Wikimedia/ Riik@mctr
Virgin Atlantic Cargo launches new service to Norway in collaboration with Kuehne+Nagel. Image: Wikimedia/ Riik@mctr
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Virgin Atlantic Cargo is extending its cargo-only network to Evenes, operating flights between London Heathrow and Norway for the first time in its history.

The first official flight will depart on Wednesday 3rd February, and the airline is set to offer twice-weekly flights on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft offering over 100 tonnes of capacity each week, primarily serving the Norwegian seafood and fish industry.

This new service will offer fast, efficient connections via London Heathrow onto Virgin Atlantic’s extensive global network, with seafood set to travel onwards to various US destinations and other
gateways on Virgin’s network. For exports to the US, the service will allow cargo to reach its destination up to 72 hours faster than current solutions through Oslo. The route expects to carry
vast quantities of fresh salmon, as well as cod and crabs.

Flying a wide-body aircraft into Harstad/Narvik airport at Evenes posed challenges for the Virgin Atlantic team which they overcame to ensure the route was operationally viable. Working closely
with Kuehne+Nagel counterparts, the teams took part in online training and also operated a test flight Wednesday 27th January as part of the launch preparations.

Key challenges for Virgin Atlantic’s team include limited hours of daylight per day, cold and windy weather with winter temperatures reaching highs of just minus 2 Celsius as well as de-icing
requirements. All pilots took part in special training for the unique approaches and departures they will experience alongside detailed briefings and airfield assessments that they will conduct at the airport.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo continues to innovate and expand its destination offering with the new service to northern Norway its 11th new cargo destination in twelve months.

Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said: “Virgin Atlantic Cargo continues to expand at pace, and this exciting new launch is testament to the innovative spirit of our business. Norway is our 11th new cargo destination in twelve months, and we’re now able to offer customers a fast, efficient cargo service via London Heathrow onto the rest of our network. ”
“We look forward to working alongside Avinor, Perishable Centre North, Widerøe Ground Handling, and especially Kuehne+Nagel as we provide this seamless service for customers.”.

Dennis Verkooy, Global Head Perishables & Carrier Management Air Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, said: “What sounded impossible has quickly developed into an innovative solution. Together with
our partner, Virgin Atlantic Cargo, we are now able to provide our customers in Northern Norway a service that is not only reliable and secure but also gives them the fastest possible access to their
markets. “The new route will ensure that temperature-sensitive products will arrive on time and in perfect condition with maximum freshness to consumers.”

 

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