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Covid-19 Vaccines Distribution: Logistics Operators Getting Ready

The whole world is anticipating getting the Covid-19 vaccines and governments around the world are debating the timeline for offering Covid-19 vaccines to the public. Problem is inoculations for the new coronavirus will require thousands of extra flights, taxing stretched airlines.

There will be an inevitable scramble to deliver vaccines as they become available; it is an open question, though, whether the global community will support getting deep-frozen vaccines to the entire world in a timely manner. In either case, the logistics network for life sciences is taking a giant step forward.

Cold Storage
Logistics providers are building giant cold-storage facilities, or “freezer farms,” and lining up equipment and transportation capacity as they gear up for the rapid delivery of millions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccines around the world.

Drug makers have been racing to build supply chains for their coronavirus vaccine candidates, finding manufacturing sites and ordering specialized production equipment. As some drugs advance to final-stage clinical trials, logistics providers are preparing to deliver them securely.

The distribution operation—taking drugs from far-flung manufacturing sites to medical teams via warehouses, cargo terminals, airports, and final storage points, all in a matter of days—promises to be a logistics high-wire act with risks at every stage. Breakdowns in refrigeration equipment, transportation delays, broken packaging or other mishaps could leave many thousands of doses useless.

Shipping companies say they are preparing as much as they can while waiting for information from vaccine makers and the U.S. government about details such as how many vials they will need to handle, the dimensions of the vaccines’ packaging and the timing of the distribution.

Logistics operators have been expanding their refrigeration and freezing capabilities in recent years, particularly as the health-care industry has grown and pharmaceutical transport has become a bigger business. Once vaccines are ready to move, the doses will head into airfreight networks that have been roiled during the pandemic by the grounding of thousands of passenger flights, which has removed large amounts of capacity usually available in cargo holds. And if distribution begins during the peak holiday shipping season in November or December, companies will be shipping the drugs when cargo space is at a premium.

How Covid 19 is Changing the E-commerce Supply Chain

The Benefits of eCommerce During COVID 19

How It All Starts?

As people have embraced social distancing as a way to slow the spread of the pandemic, there has naturally been a drop-off in brick-and-mortar shopping. That would seem to mean there would likely be an increase in online shopping as people turn to ecommerce to purchase the items they may have otherwise purchased in person. Upheaval is here, and e-commerce companies along with their supply-chain partners are going to have to think of new ways to respond.

Shopping from home surged as the way customer responded to the pandemic.

By the Number

According to the Commerce Department, online U.S. retail sales surged to $200.7 billion in the second quarter, up 44.4% from the same period in 2019. “Retailers and logistics providers are ramping up hiring, with plans to bring on hundreds of thousands of workers to help process, package and ship online orders during the holiday peak,” Wall Street Journal.

Total e-commerce revenues for U.S. logistics providers are estimated to reach $53.3 billion this year, up 22.8% from 2019, as a result of the pandemic and as companies continue to outsource online fulfillment operations, according to research firm Armstrong & Associates Inc.

Ecommerce Logistic
Logistics Providers help e-commerce businesses in all steps of goods distribution

The Importance of Logistics & Supply Chain

Smart companies are recognizing that e-commerce will remain a major sales channel for packaged goods manufacturers and retailers. Investments in plant or process will help build future business. However, shifting to an advantageous e-commercial model will require more than a website and marketing. Companies need to look at the quality and reliability of their entire supply chain and how to minimize e-commerce order fulfillment costs. That includes logistics and transportation planning as well as multi-carrier parcel shipping strategy.

To succeed, companies will need to develop assets and expertise in these areas, or work with partners who can fill these gaps. For small e-commerce businesses, or vendor in many supply chains, it is time to reach out to others. Let your partners know how your operations are doing and ask how they are handling the crisis. All the relationships you have worked hard to perfect can pay off simply because you’ve been a good partner.

Air Cargo Takes a Toll After the Coronavirus Outbreak

Air Cargo

The air cargo industry is bracing itself for the impact of measures taken to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China. Overnight, British Airways announced that it would suspend all direct flights to and from mainland China, with others expected to follow. United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Canada are amongst the other airlines that had already announced plans to reduce flight numbers.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has extended the New Year holiday – a time when production in the country comes to a halt – by at least three days, until February 3. Businesses in the Guangdong province, which includes Shanghai, have been ordered to remain closed until further notice. Most flights into and out of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, were stopped last week.

It isn’t yet clear what impact this could have on air cargo, although supply chains are expected to be hit, with belly-hold air cargo capacity already reduced. Meanwhile, there has been some suggestion that there could be a surge in demand when factories re-open. Freight forwarder Westbound Shipping said that its staff in China would work from home, but supply chains would be affected as truckers, warehouse staff, cargo handlers, manufacturing staff would not be able to return to work for longer than expected