09 February, 2021

Moscow Cargo Shares Experience in Shipping COVID-19 Vaccines at International Aviation Conference

The SVO JSC cargo operator Moscow Cargo LLC shared insights into the special challenges of handling and delivering the COVID-19 vaccines at an online seminar sponsored by the Intergovernmental Council for Aviation and Airspace Use (IAC and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The online seminar, Preparation and Implementation of a Plan for the Coronavirus Vaccines Air Distribution, was held on February 1-2 at the headquarters of the IAC and was part of the ongoing ICAO-IAC project titled Improving Flight Safety and Maintaining Airworthiness in the State-Parties to the Agreement.

The seminar brought together participants logistics and supply-chain experts from several countries, including specialists from cargo and passenger airlines and top managers of cargo terminals and airports, as well as representatives of IATA, ICAO and government civil aviation regulators.

The experts discussed issues of aviation safety and vaccine distribution, ICAO regulation, the readiness of airports and airlines to ensure the required temperature control for handling some vaccines, and cooperation in the digitalization of supply chains in support of the UN response to COVID-19.

Elena Konkina, Commercial Director of the Moscow Cargo Terminal, and Anna Filippova, Commercial Director for Air Transportation at DHL Global Forwarding, submitted reports to show preparations that were made and measures implemented for handling vaccines at Russian airports. The companies successfully cooperate with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in arranging shipments of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine abroad and across the Russian Federation.

Between November 19, 2020, and January 30, 2021, Moscow Cargo LLC serviced 60 flights delivering more than 260 specialized thermal containers with the Sputnik V vaccine, with a total weight of about 30.5 tons all over Russia and abroad.

Until recently, the Russian vaccine was transported using thermal containers with refrigerants capable of maintaining a temperature of -18 to -20 °C, as required by the developer, during the entire flight to its final destination. On January 21, 2021, the Russian Ministry of Health approved amendments to the registration certificate of the Sputnik V vaccine, confirming that the manufacturer managed to ensure the stability of the liquid form of the vaccine at a temperature of +2 to + 8 °C.

This temperature range is standard for the storage and delivery of medical immunobiological drugs by air and greatly simplifies the transportation process, allowing expanded distribution and increased availability of mass vaccination for the population. Thus, Sputnik V vaccines can now be delivered to the market at the temperature of both +2 to + 8 °C and -18 to -20 °C.

Moscow Cargo LLC is a modern high-tech cargo aviation terminal and the main handling operator of Sheremetyevo International Airport, which serves 68 % of the airport's cargo and mail turnover.

Today, the Moscow Cargo terminal, with a total area of 42,300 square meters and designed to handle 380,000 tons of cargo per year, is the largest in Russia, the CIS and Eastern Europe and has no analogues in Russia in terms of technical equipment. High-tech equipment and production facilities for handling special goods allow Moscow Cargo LLC to effectively handle all types of cargo without restrictions.

During the construction of the Moscow Cargo terminal, all the latest industry requirements for handling of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products were taken into account. The terminal has a spacious cool-zone with 26 chambers equipped with an autonomously adjustable temperature control in the range from -20 to + 25 °ะก. Also, the terminal is equipped with 60 cells maintaining a temperature at +2 + 8 °C for storing assembled pallets with temperature-sensitive goods. The terminal storage area can simultaneously accommodate up to 30 active containers, the handling of which is carried out by specially trained personnel. A wide range of additional services of the terminal includes adding dry ice to the shipment packaging at the request of the customer.

Sheremetyevo Airport is among the TOP-5 airport hubs in Europe, the largest Russian airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic. In 2020, the airport served 19 million 784 thousand passengers.

Sheremetyevo is the best airport in terms of quality of services in Europe, the absolute world leader in punctuality of flights, the recipient of the highest 5-star Skytrax rating.

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