With the Covid-19 vaccine expected to roll out by the end of this year or early next year, Indian Cold Chain Operators need to gear up to ensure an efficient logistics network. Safely delivering doses for mass vaccination smoothly to 1.3 billion people is going to be a big challenge in a country such as India which has the second-highest population in the world.
As per executives at logistics companies, the framework to distribute vaccination involves tapping into all available cold chain and warehouse operators in the country. A bulk of the vaccines will be distributed through the Centre’s Immunization Programme (UIP) mechanism, but executives expect that the government will have to rope in private cold chain operators, and their lies the opportunity for private organizations.
India’s UIP is supported by more than 27000 Cold chain facilities, of which 3% are district level and above and rest at the local level, according to the Government’s comprehensive UIP plan for 2018-22.
Apart from delivering the vaccines, the pertinent challenge would be to maintain the optimum temperature throughout the transportation process. The need for trucks, cold storage units to equip themselves to transport and maintain vaccines at such low temperatures will be foremost. After the vaccines are rolled out in the future going through the process of production and safety trials, it’s storage and transportation might just be the biggest issue to handle.
According to executive officer Sunil Nair of Snowman Logistics, “It is important to understand that there is not enough capacity available. So, in each city, they will have to look for companies, including private ones, who have cold storage facilities and who can take care of distribution, of course under the Centre’s directive,” he said in an interview to livemint.
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By Vikram S. Puri, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Rotarian with multiple technology patents and 34+years of Supply Chain Experience.
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