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Worried about Indian domestic transit of Covid vaccines: Tushar Jani  

November 7, 2020: Tushar Jani, chairman, Cargo Service Center (CSC) India on Thursday evening said not to make too much discussion and worry about international but instead be concerned about the domestic movement of Covid-19 vaccines throughout the country.

Tushar Jani, chairman, Cargo Service Center (CSC) India
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Tushar Jani, chairman, Cargo Service Center (CSC) India

November 7, 2020: Tushar Jani, chairman, Cargo Service Center (CSC) India on Thursday evening said not to make too much discussion and worry about international but instead be concerned about the domestic movement of Covid-19 vaccines throughout the country.

“How you are going to deliver the vaccines to 1.3 billion people or 664,000 villages in the country. Where is the money? Who will transport it,” he asked.

"Our terminal in Mumbai is ready to handle eight Boeing 747 aircraft every day to fill with them with Covid-19 vaccines. We have doubled our capacity and our temperature-controlled space can store as many as vaccines that could load into three freighters. We are currently handling 50 tonnes of vaccines every day already. All our compliance will be done by December end and from January 1, 2021, we will be ready to handle as well as track and trace our vaccines on a real-time basis. But be concerned about the domestic transport,” he added.

He was talking during the first-ever Global Vaccine Logistics Virtual Summit 2020 organised by the Indian Transport & Logistics News (itln.in) presented by Frankfurt Airport and supported by AirBridgeCargo Airlines and GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo on November 5, 2020.

Saurabh Kumar, chief executive officer, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo, noted that his airport is ready as Hyderabad is already a hub for vaccine manufacturing and they already have the experience, infrastructure and resources optimised to deal with the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Air cargo terminal handling is a specialised operation. The handling will have a huge impact on the potency and duration of the potency of the vaccines. We are planning to increase our capacity in three levels: First is where we take the handover or the acceptance point, second is a storage point before we make it into a pallet and third is after it is made into a pallet before it is going into the aircraft They are flexible infrastructure upgrades that can be used for other temperature levels in the future as well. We will be training all our staffs for specialised operations and we are recruiting more to enhance our manpower,” he said.

Umesh P, head export/import operation at Sanofi India, said, "The challenge of moving Covid-19 vaccines is not just about storage but also about dealing with government institutions like the customs and adjusting the freight cost for affordability."

Prasanna Salvi, head of vaccine task force (TCL), channels, emerging markets & SMEs at BlueDart, pointed out that vaccines logistics are not new for Blue Dart as they have been running temp-controlled logistics for 6-7 years now.

“We already have partnerships across the supply chain with various stakeholders including the government of India, on-road and on air. Last-mile and air network is where our strength lies. We are into skilling-up our workforce as well as those in our partner network to take this challenge,” he said.

"The most important challenge is to have proper digital imprint throughout the Indian pin codes so that no one will overpromise or underdeliver," he added.

Vikram Khurrana, director at Sheetal Parivahan noted that his company has 3 decades of experience in moving temp-controlled pharma throughout the country and are ready for the challenge.

The relay race of Covid-19 vaccine starts from me and the risk factor starts from us. So we are training our team to handle the shipment with precision and care. I have to train and interact with them at regular intervals to get the best out of it. We are ready. But still, there should be sharing of data and collaboration to make sure that there is no missing gap in the supply chain moving Covid-19 vaccine," he said.

“The airlines should feel free to call us any point in time and tell us this is the data that we want from you. Also, airports should give us a red carpet treatment for feaster clearance and unload for faster movement of trucks. We have also selected best global vendors who could handle temp-controlled shipments in the local Indian market so that we connect with them if there any kind of emergency,” he added.

Libin Chacko Kurian

Libin Chacko Kurian

Principal Correspondent at STAT Media Group, he has six years of experience in business journalism covering food & beverage, nutraceuticals and now logistics. His current passion is to understand the nuances of global supply chains and their current turmoil. Outside work, he is also interested in philosophy, history, birding and travelling. Mail him: libin@statmediagroup.com


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