Of all the nuances surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s beginning to look like transportation will prove to be one of the most demanding aspects. The early stages of the roll-out have sparked much discussion on sub-zero temperatures and how a cold climate is crucial to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the vaccine. Miguel Denga, CEO of a high-volume freight transportation firm, is uniquely aware of these needs. His decade-plus of experience in this sector has put him in direct contact with companies that require expedited and refrigerated transportation services. Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech have made it clear that their vaccines must be kept cold; the degrees of “cold” vary but transportation companies can’t slip up here. Miguel Denga thus wants readers to understand the logistics involved to meet these expectations.
According to a Dec. 19, 2020 article from FreightWaves.com, shipping titans FedEx and UPS are “mobilizing their delivery networks.” Semi-trailer trucks from both firms “are expected to begin rolling out of distribution centers on Sunday [Dec. 20, 2020] with boxes of vaccine packed in dry ice. Dosing sites will begin receiving vaccines on Monday.” Those vehicles are in addition to assistance from subcontractors to get the vaccine to initial recipients. “Moderna’s vaccine can be shipped and stored at standard freezer temperatures,” the article notes. This is of interest to Miguel Denga, who regularly hears from companies who require refrigerated transport services. His company, which serves 48 U.S. states and has more than 3,300 motor carriers in its network, places a great emphasis on refrigeration. Both reefer box trucks and 53-foot trailers can be used and trained personnel help with transportation and preparation for chill loading dock settings. In addition to pharmaceutical firms requested cold transportation, other clients come from industries such as produce, meat, dairy and beverages. While not life-saving services, regular work with food firms that require cold transportation has readied shipping and logistics companies to tackle the COVID-19 vaccine if they are called on to help.
The other core component of vaccine transportation is speed. The planet has been in the grip of a crisis for more than one year and its resolution hinges on treatment. Miguel Denga says expedited hauling and “hotshot” shipments – where time is of the essence – are part of vaccine puzzle. The latter service is actually well-suited for items that need to reach their destination as soon as possible. Major incidents and accidents, where specialized tools and machinery are required, have tested these systems before. Miguel Denga thus says medical companies looking for shipping and logistics firms can count on these companies to transport both vaccines and medical gear.