Lufthansa Cargo adds premium shipping service for Covid-19 vaccines

The product can be availed starting 11 January, offering ‘seamless’ monitoring of vaccine shipments and a 24/7 after-sales support.

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Lufthansa Cargo Cool Center in Frankfurt Lufthansa Cargo cool center in Frankfurt (Courtesy of Oliver Rosler/Lufthansa Cargo)

Lufthansa Cargo has announced a premium product specifically developed for the transport of Covid-19 vaccine doses, just in time as different candidates get regulatory approval across the globe.

The product called “Covid-19 Temp Premium” will be bookable starting 11 January 2021 and will offer ‘seamless’ monitoring of vaccine shipments throughout the entire process and a 24/7 after-sales support.

“The distribution of temperature- and time-sensitive pharmaceuticals is extremely demanding. We were one of the first airlines to specialize in the transport of medical goods and pharmaceuticals and can therefore draw on many years of experience,” explained Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo.

The German carrier, which transported 100,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical products in 2019, is well prepared for the continuous distribution in the coming months and had played out possible transport scenarios since spring through a dedicated taskforce. The company also expanded its ground infrastructure to handle larger volumes, said Gerber.

Outlining every possible angle and issue, Lufthansa said details like the quantities to be transported, by which routes and over which periods of time, are partly still open.

“The actual transport routes of the vaccines depend largely on the future production sites for approved vaccines and the respective recipient markets,” it said.

The company said it will respond to shifts in demand using its fleet of 18 freighters as well as commercial flights from Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings to add belly capacity as needed.

Before the pandemic, Lufthansa Cargo invested heavily in its temperature control facilities, including the brand new pharma hub in Munich and the recently extended and upgraded pharma center at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

With its pharmaceutical hubs and up to 200 other stations, Lufthansa Cargo has one of the world’s largest airline pharmaceutical networks, with 30 of these stations already CEIV Pharma-certified.

Aside from the usual temperature storage requirements for pharmaceuticals, the cargo carrier highlighted its experience in extremely cold requirements for which its uses special refrigerated containers and coolants, such as dry ice.

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