World's first dedicated airside cargo hub created by Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates SkyCargo has created the world’s first dedicated airside cargo hub in Dubai to handle the logistical complexities of distributing the potential Covid-19 vaccine. The air cargo carrier will be re-opening its Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.
Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square meters of temperature controlled GDP-certified dedicated pharma storage area allowing for large scale storage and distribution of the potential Covid-19 vaccines. Overall, it is estimated that the facility can hold around 10 million vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point in time.
The freight division of Emirates has also set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the various partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates chairman, and chief executive, said, “Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for Covid-19 vaccines to the rest of the world. We have the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour flying radius. Over the years, through our continuous investment in capabilities and processes for the transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, Emirates SkyCargo has managed to position Dubai amongst major global pharmaceutical customers as the year-round preferred point of transit for their valuable cargo. Setting up a dedicated airside hub for Covid-19 vaccines is a keystone project harnessing our network, reach and competencies to positively impact the lives of people around the world.”
The Dubai hub will allow the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution.
The state of the art infrastructure at Emirates SkyCentral DWC is also complemented by one of the world’s largest fleet of Cool Dollys helping protect temperature-sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Additionally, the availability of a large number of temperature-controlled trucking docks and the proximity of the terminal to the aircraft parking gates will ensure rapid and efficient clearance of cargo for further distribution.
In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for value-added services such as re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution for its customers.
The extensive size of the facility, which can potentially handle millions of vaccine doses, along with the creation of a dedicated team to handle and execute requests will allow Emirates SkyCargo to be able to effectively handle the large volume of time-critical requests for cross-border vaccine movement that will follow the successful introduction of a vaccine.
Through a combination of scheduled and charter flights, the cargo carrier will then be able to fly the vaccines to markets where they will be most needed.
Emirates SkyCargo has moved more than a quarter-million tonnes of pharmaceutical cargo in the last four years.
With its fleet of modern and efficient all wide-body aircraft and a network that currently spans more than 130 destinations across six continents, combined with the strategic geographic location of its Dubai hub, Emirates SkyCargo will be able to rapidly move vaccine shipments from manufacturing sites to the vaccine hub and then onwards to the rest of the world on a combination of scheduled and passenger flights.
Over the last few months, however, Emirates SkyCargo has worked on restoring its worldwide network and cargo connectivity with flight services restored to 75 destinations by May, 100 by July and nearly 135 destinations by early October.