Supply Chain Readies to Deliver 9 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Per Day

Supply Chain Readies to Deliver 9 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Per Day

Dec. 9, 2020
2021 will be known as the "year of cold chain logistics," says ABI Research

As approval of COVID-19 vaccines will continue the freight industry is gearing up to deliver an average of 271 million ultracold and cold doses per month (9 million doses per day), in 2010.

According to ABI Research,  there will be at least 857 temperature-controlled trucks leaving Pfizer and Moderna manufacturing facilities or distribution centers each month.

If  AstraZeneca also receives approval, these numbers will be materially increased.

In its new whitepaper, 68 Technology Trends That Will Shape 2021, ABI Research’s analysts identify 37 trends that will shape the technology market and 31 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months.

“For success in 2021, especially after a very challenging 2020, one must understand fundamental trends early, and take a view on those trends that are buoyed by hyperbole and those that are sure to be uncomfortable realities. Now is the time to double down on the right technology investment,” says Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI Research.

In 2021 the firm says there will be 'vaccine freezer frenzy"

“Early vaccine candidates require ultra-low temperatures, as much as -70 degrees Celsius ©, or -94 Fahrenheit. This is impacted by a lack of adequate storage capacity for these new types of Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The containers to store and transport them are not widely available and not required for common vaccines. Constant temperature control is needed from the manufacturing site to the inoculation sites. According to known criteria, people will require two vaccines from the same manufacturer within 21-28 days. That equates to at least 662 million doses in the United States and approximately 1.5 billion across the European Union,” explains Susan Beardslee, Freight Transportation, and Logistics Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

While the focus has been on fulfillment centers and modal capacity for air, another concern is the need to seamlessly track temperatures and provide alerts for any out-of-spec loads. To achieve this goal, there is a need for integrated software, sufficient compute and sensor capabilities throughout, and the cooperation of both public and private entities across multiple modes and likely competitors.

“The scale of technology, strategy, and operations excellence needed will require transparency, flexibility, and scale never seen, and will take herculean efforts beyond the actual vaccine development and approval,” Beardslee points out.

These changes will forever affect the global supply chain and the research group doesn't envision the supply chain returning to the "before times."

“Although goods transportation has seen a promising rebound from the spring, pinch points continue, from driver shortages (back to 2018 levels) to container shortages and carrier bankruptcies due to increasing insurance costs and lower profits. Further digitization and integration of systems will provide greater visibility, flexibility, and ROI to supply chain participants that can improve economic performance, but likely after 2021 on a broader scale,” Beardslee explains.

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