Emirates SkyCargo estimated its facility would be able to hold up to 10m vials of a Covid vaccine © Getty Images
Emirates SkyCargo estimated its facility would be able to hold up to 10m vials of a Covid vaccine © Getty Images

Emirates to set up ‘world’s largest’ Covid-19 vaccine hub

27 October 2020

Emirates SkyCargo is to set up an air cargo hub in Dubai which it claims will be the “largest dedicated airside facility in the world” for global distribution of a potential Covid-19 Vaccine.

The air cargo carrier announced it will be re-opening its Emirates SkyCentral Dubai World Central (DWC) cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine. 

The company’s freight division has also set up a rapid response team to coordinate requests from various partners involved in the international distribution of the vaccine and to streamline its response to vaccine transportation requests.

The hub will allow the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution. A combination of scheduled and charter flights will allow the cargo carrier to fly the vaccines to markets where they will be most needed.

Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certified dedicated pharma storage area. It is estimated that the facility can hold around 10m vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point of time.

As well as cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group said Dubai was 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 eight hour flying radius,” he said.

“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.”

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