When historians draw up a blueprint of how the world fought and won the war against coronavirus, the UAE will appear high up in the global ranking of nations that were proactive, decisive and made the right move at the right time. Today, as the world gets ready for what may become the largest mass inoculation ever undertaken in the history of mankind, the UAE has announced a global consortium to address mammoth challenges in sourcing, distribution and facilitating availability of vaccines in the region and beyond.
As the lead member of Hope Consortium, Abu Dhabi will become a global logistics hub to handle transport, demand planning, sourcing, training and build digital technology infrastructure. The consortium includes Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Rafed, the health care purchasing arm of Abu Dhabi-based ADQ and SkyCell of Switzerland, which develops next-generation, temperature-controlled logistics containers for pharma industry.
SkyCell will establish a regional service and manufacturing centre in Abu Dhabi. By pooling in collective resources, the Hope Consortium will be able to handle six billion doses sourced from global manufacturers. This volume will grow over three times by the end of next year, making Abu Dhabi the largest capacity and logistics facility regionally and one of the largest globally.
The mass inoculation of global population, when it begins, will likely exceed any human activity in terms of scale, volume and geography, testing not just the resolve of powerful nations, but will also require marshalling of global resources never attempted before. It will also test robustness of transport logistics and efficiency of existing and new extreme cold chains that will deliver vaccines from manufacturers to health centres in remote corners of our planet.
In the UAE, these vaccines will be stored in Abu Dhabi Ports Company facilities in the capital, located within four-hour flight from two-thirds of the world population. Etihad Cargo’s specialised pharma and health care service PharmaLife will leverage on its logistical facilities capable of handling temperature-sensitive cargo between +25⁰C and -80⁰C.
Together with the previously announced air cargo hub by Emirates in Dubai, the UAE can emerge as the central vaccine storage and distribution point for Middle East and beyond. In Dubai, Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal will be a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution point.
In the coming months, when ultra-cold containers of vaccines start rolling out of manufacturing facilities, the global supply lines will go through the UAE, a desert country ready to provide this live-saving medicine to the world.