Greatest Modern-Day Logistical Challenge – Transportation of a Vaccine for COVID19

Countless articles write about the negative impact on humanity of COVI19 from health, death and economic perspective.  The greatest scientific minds in the world are racing to develop a vaccine that will stop this pandemic in its tracks.  People in the world will rejoice when that day arrives and will be lining up to receive the vaccine. But can they?

Current vaccine transport protocol for shipment demand a cooled state of minus 4 C from the point of manufacture to the end of point of usage. 

Every country will be looking for the vaccine for immediate delivery and use.  Is this realistic? To provide a single dose to everyone in the world requires the space of what amounts to 8,000 B747 freighters.

Today there are about 281 B747 freighters of various kinds in service.  Of these less than half can keep temperatures in the cargo hold at minus 4 degrees C.

Each country will, of course, look after its people first and pass legislation if needed to ensure as much lift as possible dedicated to the needs of its people.  So where does this leave smaller countries or third world countries to obtain and transport the vaccine to its people?

Moving the vaccine to a given point for further sortation is the most obvious challenge.  But when the medicine arrives where will it be stored; how will it be securely protected and where and how will we find adequate supply of refrigerated trucks and drivers who will deliver the vaccine to cities for further distribution to the people?

The need for the vaccine will be so enormous—governments and companies who cannot rise to the logistical challenges face overwhelming backlash and violence by their citizens.

So, what to do? Experts in the logistical supply chain, airlines, trucking companies, airports, warehouse chains, airport ground handling agencies, military officials and government officials need to come together now to set up a logistical chain to move the goods quickly and efficiently.

Some potential steps could include:

  1. Recruiting the greatest logistical experts to come together to develop a workable process with the mandate of the federal and provincial or state governments to do so.
  2. The Military may need to look at converting their cargo uplift aircraft to help carry the vaccine.
  3. Work with refrigerated warehouses to dedicate space while other warehouses are cleared out and converted into temperature-controlled space.  One of course must also consider day to day needs such as food and other mission critical medicines.
  4. Construct a fleet of trucks that are suitable for delivering the vaccine from warehouses while sourcing others. 
  5. Developing a security and tracking process for all vaccines imported into the country or delivered from a local production site.
  6. Speed up the paperwork for imported charter flights that carry the vaccine.  Allow flights that carry the vaccine to land at any airport at any time of the day.
  7. Expand and immediately construct refrigerated warehouse along with a suitable road process for flows to and from for beyond shipment at major airports supported with federal funding.
  8. Convert older aircraft into freighters or upgrade others to enable adequate temperature controls.
  9. Use high speed ships to import vaccines from far away countries.
  10.  Adequate measures to control corruption gouging and hoarding.
  11. A safe secure money supply.

The governments and the logistical agencies need to work together as one team to help speed up the delivery of the vaccine as soon as viable products come to market.  To do otherwise will be unforgivable in the eyes of the public.

The positive aspect of these challenges is that it will be a big enough operation to further kick start the world economy and foster Global cooperation.

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