Abu Dhabi boosts vaccine distribution with aid of logistics companies

Agreements signed with eight more freight forwarding companies to help deliver vaccines across the globe

The Hope Consortium in Abu Dhabi stores Covid-19 vaccines on-site in Abu Dhabi and distributes them across the world. Courtesy: Hope Consortium
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The Hope Consortium, a Covid-19 vaccine storage and delivery centre in Abu Dhabi, teamed up with eight more international logistics companies to expand its reach and distribution range.

The centre aims to deliver billions of vaccine doses around the world by the end of the year to help achieve global immunisation against the virus.

On Thursday, the consortium signed agreements with eight freight forwarding companies. These are: Bollore Logistics, Ceva Logistics, DB Schenker, DHL, FedEx Express, Micco Logistics, RSA Global and UPS. This will help increase its global access while maintaining the integrity of vaccines during transport.

The consortium had already agreed to work with Agility Logistics, Aramex, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and Kuehne+Nagel.

The Hope Consortium aims to play an essential role in dealing with the key logistical challenges of ensuring vaccines are successfully delivered around the world.

The centre will ensure vaccines are stored at the correct temperature, sourced and distributed depending on demand and correctly tracked.

The facilities in Abu Dhabi can store up to 70 million vaccines, which require standard refrigeration temperatures of 2°C to 8°C,  including those produced by Sinopharm and Oxford/AstraZeneca. These are expected to supply the bulk of Africa's vaccine needs.

It also has the capacity to handle between three million and five million vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage, down to minus 80°C, through a “freezer farm” consisting of 50 units in its facility in Abu Dhabi.

The units have numerous compartments, allowing the storage of vaccines at several ultra-cold temperatures.

The consortium is chiefly managed by Department of Health Abu Dhabi, with four other partners involved. These are:  Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Cargo, Rafed – which is part of ADQ – and SkyCell.

This month, Robert Sutton, head of the logistics cluster at Abu Dhabi Ports, told The National that they had already handled more than three million vaccines.