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DHL delivers milestone 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses

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DHL marks a new milestone of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, shipping out 1 billion vaccine doses to more than 160 countries since December last year.

“Looking back at the state of emergency these past nine months, we are honoured to be playing our part, seamlessly managing and executing multiple supply chain set-ups without cold chain interruptions or security incidents,” said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL.

“We are working across multiple supply chain set-ups and managing direct distributions in certain countries. We implemented new, dedicated, and reliable services at an accelerated speed to ship the highly temperature-sensitive vaccines, as well as ancillary supplies and test kits,” Busch said

“In line with our purpose of ‘Connecting people, Improving Lives’, we will continue tapping into our cold chain infrastructure, resilient global network, and deep pharmaceutical logistics knowledge and experience of our people,” she said.

To reach high immunisation levels, around 10 billion vaccine doses will be required worldwide by the end of 2021.

The global distribution of these doses remains necessary to ensure that as many people as possible have access to vaccines.

Related: CEVA Logistics signs MoA with Hope Consortium to assist in vaccine rollout

Besides managing various and complex supply chain set-ups, the sensitive temperature requirements have been a major challenge for logistics experts.

“Our advantage is that we already had a sophisticated network in place with the necessary healthcare expertise. This allowed us to react swiftly,” explained Claudia Roa, President of Life Sciences & Healthcare at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.

“We ship the vaccines in special active thermal containers equipped with state-of-the-art GPS temperature trackers to ensure consistent temperatures and provide full transparency throughout the entire journey,” Roa said.

DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Express have been tasked with transporting COVID-19 vaccines on multiple routes from Europe and other origins to countries across Asia, South America, and Europe.

Meanwhile, DHL Supply Chain is responsible for the proper storage and local distribution of the vaccines in several German states.

DHL further emphasised that the logistics infrastructure and capacity built up for the pandemic should be maintained because another 7-9 billion vaccine doses will be needed annually in the coming years to keep (re-)infection rates low and to slow down the pace of virus mutations – not counting seasonal fluctuations.

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