Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa Cargo "ready" to handle covid vaccine flows

Par thierno - 14 September, 2020 - 08:53

Of the 12,000 m2 of refrigerated capacity at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, two-thirds is held by Lufthansa Cargo's pharmaceutical hub. 2,000 m2 will soon be available. This equipment is capable of handling the future flow of covid vaccines. In addition, Lufthansa's cargo subsidiary is opening two new logistics centers specializing in pharmaceuticals in Munich and Chicago.

Frankfurt airport has 12,000 m2 of refrigerated capacity. Two thirds of this space is occupied by Lufthansa Cargo's pharmaceutical hub, Lufthansa Cargo Pharma, and a further 2,000 m2 will soon be delivered.

At the end of August, the airport authority, Fraport, and Lufthansa Cargo said they were "ready" to handle the coming flow of vaccines against Covid-19. During 2019, Germany's largest airport handled 120,000 tons of vaccines, medicines, and other pharmaceutical products. "We are the leader in Europe and are fully prepared for the Covid-19 vaccine," Fraport said in a statement.

Twenty ultra-modern thermal containers

According to Fraport, 75 percent of the players at the Frankfurt site are certified to perform logistics and special transports for pharmaceutical products. In addition, Frankfurt Airport has 20 ultra-modern thermal containers capable of handling cargo between terminals and aircraft to ensure the cold chain. "We are closely following the development of research for both vaccines and Covid drugs," said Max Philipp Conrady, freight manager at Fraport. Whenever the time is right, we will be able to support our partners in the distribution of vaccines and drugs in the best possible way".

Lufthansa Cargo is similarly optimistic, with its network of 31 specialist pharmacy logistics stations around the world. By 2021, all of them will have the CEIV Pharma certification label from the IATA airline federation. "Only five other companies in the world have been certified," Lufthansa points out in a press release.

"The transport of pharmaceutical products is extremely delicate and requires a maximum of trust from the airlines towards all the actors in the different processes," explains Alexis von Hoensbroech, director at Lufthansa Cargo. The most important thing is to maintain a constant temperature, which ensures that the medicines can be used as intended after transport. That we are among the first to be certified is a reward for years of work and investment".

Two pharma centers in Munich and Chicago

In August, Lufthansa Cargo - already transporting 1.2 million ampoules of insulin daily worldwide - opened two new specialized pharmaceutical logistics centers in Munich and Chicago.

The pharmaceutical hub in Munich - which can accommodate 96 pallets in a dedicated space of 1,000 m2 - has just been delivered after five months of work. It has two departments reserved for products that need to be stored at +2 to +8°C and those that require a temperature between +15°C and +25°C, as well as an area for products stored at -18°C.

As for Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the existing pharmaceutical site was expanded in June. It can now accommodate 54 pallets on 750 m2.

NATHALIE VERSIEUX, CORRESPONDENT IN BERLIN ACTL