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Dubai forms Vaccine Logistics Alliance

To expedite global distribution to developing nations


Dubai has launched the Vaccine Logistics Alliance to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world through the city.

In support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX initiative and its efforts to equitably distribute two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance combines the expertise and global reach of Emirates airline with DP World’s global network of ports and logistics operations, along with the infrastructure of Dubai Airports and International Humanitarian City to distribute vaccines worldwide.

The distribution will focus on emerging markets, where populations have been hard-hit by the pandemic and pharmaceutical transport and logistics are challenging.

The alliance is working with a broader set of stakeholders including pharmaceutical manufacturers, forwarders, government agencies, and other entities for the transportation of vaccines.

Each alliance partner brings to the table a specific and complementary set of strengths and capabilities in vaccine distribution, thereby building a 360-degree solution that harnesses the combined logistical and infrastructural advantages of Dubai as a hub.

International Humanitarian City, the world’s largest hub for humanitarian logistics based in Dubai, will be a vital partner in the alliance. It brings its vast expertise in humanitarian logistics for aid materials such as food and medicine in markets with limited infrastructure. IHC and Emirates SkyCargo have already partnered on many humanitarian cargo flights and, in 2020, signed an MoU for closer collaboration for humanitarian assistance flights.

Since the current global crisis began, the IHC has facilitated the distribution of over 80% of the WHO’s global medical response in the fight against COVID-19.

DP World, a leader in global supply-chain solutions with ports, terminals, and logistics operations on every continent, is joining Dubai’s initiative to transport, store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. DP World logistics operations will facilitate the collection of vaccines from manufacturing sites in places like Europe, the US, and India and deliver them to airports, seaports, and dryports for onward transportation.

DP World’s global GDP-compliant network of warehousing and distribution hubs will be used to store vaccines for time and temperature-sensitive distribution to hospitals and clinics. DP World will deploy its track-and-trace technology, such as Cargoes Flow, to give real-time information on the location of shipments, and continual temperature control and monitoring. Its ports and terminals, including Jebel Ali in Dubai, which is one the largest in the world, will be used to ship, store, and distribute medical devices, such as syringes and wipes.

DP World has kept trade flowing throughout the pandemic ensuring countries receive vital supplies. DP World and UNICEF have also announced a wide-ranging partnership to support the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and related immunization supplies in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The new partnership - with a multi-million dollar value - is the largest to date to support UNICEF’s lead role in procuring and supplying two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines and auxiliary vaccination supplies on behalf of the COVAX Facility.

Emirates SkyCargo is a global leader in the air transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, including vaccines. The air cargo carrier has over two decades of experience in transporting pharmaceuticals across the world and has developed extensive infrastructure and capabilities for the secure and rapid transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.

Emirates SkyCargo recently activated the world’s largest airside hub dedicated to the storage and global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines at Dubai South. With a modern wide-body aircraft fleet, its network reaching more than 135 cities across six continents including major pharma hubs, and its expertise in handling pharma shipments, makes it well placed as a partner in the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance.

Emirates SkyCargo has over 15,000 square meters of cool chain space for pharmaceuticals across its terminals in Dubai and has already had a head start for COVID-19 vaccine logistics, having already moved COVID-19 vaccines on its flights during December 2020.

Dubai Airports, operator of Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), will provide additional space at dedicated facilities at DXB. The repurposed cargo facilities will act as storage for COVID-19 vaccines that will be transported through its interlinked operations at DXB and DWC. Working closely with Emirates SkyCargo and Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Airports will ensure that the additional capacity for vaccine storage meets all the stringent regulatory guidelines for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, and that related processes are streamlined with stakeholders and business partners.

Dubai’s central location means it is easily accessible to almost 80% of the world’s population within just four hours, making the decision to join forces and develop the world’s preeminent distribution hub a very strategic one.