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Abu Dhabi launches Hope Consortium for global vaccine distribution

November 27, 2020: Amid an anticipated surge in vaccine logistics demand, Abu Dhabi announced the launch of Hope Consortium to cement its position as the global logistics hub to facilitate Covid-19 vaccine distribution across the world.

L to R: Richard Ettl, CEO of SkyCell; Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports; Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group; HE Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the department of health %u2013 Abu Dhabi; Rashed Al Qubaisi, CEO, Rafed; Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, head of Digital Cluster %u2013 Abu Dhabi Ports, CEO of Maqta Gateway.
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L to R: Richard Ettl, CEO of SkyCell; Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports; Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group; HE Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the department of health %u2013 Abu Dhabi; Rashed Al Qubaisi, CEO, Rafed; Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, head of Digital Cluster %u2013 Abu Dhabi Ports, CEO of Maqta Gateway.

November 27, 2020: Amid an anticipated surge in vaccine logistics demand, Abu Dhabi announced the launch of Hope Consortium to cement its position as the global logistics hub to facilitate Covid-19 vaccine distribution across the world.

Comprising global entities, the Hope Consortium represents a complete supply chain solution to address vaccine transport, demand planning, sourcing, training, and digital technology infrastructure, and facilitate vaccine availability across the world.

The news follows Hope Consortium member Etihad Cargo and the consortium transporting five million vaccines in November on behalf of the department of health – Abu Dhabi, which is spearheading the consortium and will oversee regulatory compliance, full chain expertise and scientific insight.

The consortium also includes Abu Dhabi Ports Group, Rafed, the healthcare purchasing arm of Abu Dhabi-based ADQ, and Switzerland’s SkyCell, which develops temperature-controlled logistics containers for the pharmaceutical industry. As part of the Hope Consortium, SkyCell will establish a regional service and manufacturing centre in Abu Dhabi.

The Hope Consortium has pooled its collective expertise to garner a multi-faceted capability to provide logistics services to handle over six billion doses from the vaccines being developed and manufactured around the world – whether in single or multi doses – in cold and ultra-cold conditions in 2021, rising to over three times more doses by the end of next year – the largest capacity and logistics capability regionally and one of the largest globally.

HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the department of health – Abu Dhabi, said, “While assuring vaccine supply to the domestic market, the Hope Consortium will offer international governments, non-governmental organisations, and vaccine suppliers a cohesive solution across every supply chain step – from air freight, regional storage and temperature monitoring, to inventory management, cold and ultra-cold container solution, regulatory clearance, and healthcare and pharma quality assurance.”

Distribution of the vaccines, which will be stored in Abu Dhabi Ports Company facilities, will be carried out by Etihad Cargo, the first Middle Eastern carrier to gain IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification for pharmaceutical logistics. The UAE’s national carrier will leverage its extensive intercontinental network, fleet and charter flights to supply vaccines globally.

“With two-thirds of the world’s human footprint within a four-hour flight of Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s investment in technological expertise and world-class infrastructure facilities means we can serve as a global logistical hub to and for, the world,” explained Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group.

“Etihad Cargo’s role in the consortium will leverage our outstanding pharmaceutical logistics expertise and specialised pharma and healthcare service, PharmaLife, the IATA CEIV Pharma certified product capable of facilitating temperature-sensitive cargo between +25⁰C and -80⁰C. Our network reaches across key destinations will be supported by the utilisation of our charter operations to meet global demand for swift and secure Covid-19 vaccine shipments.

“We are already managing all anticipated shipment elements through our dedicated Covid-19 vaccines workforce,” Douglas added. “A dedicated pharmaceutical handling facility to accommodate increased capacity at our Abu Dhabi hub is also currently under review, as well as additional thermal covers and enhanced capabilities at origin stations based on established pharma trade lanes and specific requests.”

As part of the Hope Consortium, Abu Dhabi Ports, which has the Middle East’s largest capacities for cold chain and ultra-cold storage, will leverage its capabilities as an innovation epicentre serving the Middle East and wider world through Abu Dhabi as a supply chain gateway connecting East and West.

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, said, “Our expansive operations at KIZAD are among the largest cold chain and ultra-cold storing in the region and enable us to support the emirate’s drive to spearhead global immunisation efforts that will positively impact millions of lives.

Dr Noura Al Dhaheri, head of Digital Cluster – Abu Dhabi Ports, CEO of Maqta Gateway, said, “Supporting the uninterrupted flow of critical cargo, such as medical and food supplies have been crucial in Abu Dhabi Ports’ story during 2020, but the distribution of vaccines will form the most significant success to date. Maqta Gateway is committed towards creating innovative digital solutions to boost the transparency and integrity of the region’s supply chain.”

The Hope Consortium intends to transport the vaccines using SkyCell’s hybrid containers. The storage and transportation containers are secured through an IoT monitoring service which tracks temperature conditions to ensure sensitive vaccines are protected even under extreme conditions. With insulation and cutting-edge cooling technology, the containers maintain steady temperatures for an average of 202 hours (8.4 days) and self-recharge automatically in a cooling chamber or reefer truck.

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