Brussels Airport said it is ready to receive and ship the first COVID-19 vaccines once ready.
In a statement, the airport which is one of Europe's major gateways said a taskforce at Brucargo, the cargo division of the airport, is working full force on preparing scenarios for the import and export of the various types of vaccines in a safe and efficient way.
“As Europe’s preferred airport for the transport of temperature-sensitive products, Brussels Airport has been investing for over 10 years in a range of services and products tailored to the needs of the pharmaceutical sector, one of the country’s key industries,” said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.
Brussels Airport noted that it partnered with Air Cargo Belgium and major vaccine manufacturers to set up Taskforce BRUcure especially for the COVID-19 vaccine to guarantee reliable and rapid transport at the airport.
Brussels Airport not only has the largest number of pharma-certified companies under the IATA CEIV programme on the cargo site. With 30,000m² of temperature-controlled areas, it also has the largest number of m² in Europa in first and second-line access to the tarmac to provide refrigerated storage of pharmaceutical products.
With its digital data-sharing platform BRUcloud, Brussels Airport wants to make it possible to track the temperature-sensitive shipment in real-time and monitor temperatures at any moment in the transport chain.
The Taskforce BRUcure said with many unknown parameters, part of its preparations include mapping out all scenarios for the various types of vaccines in close consultation with the pharmaceutical companies with which Brussels Airport works.
Each type of vaccine demands a different form of transport, packaging and storage. Some vaccines, for example, have to be shipped on dry ice, while others will demand refrigeration at the customary 2-8 degrees Celsius.
In addition, the manufacturing location of the vaccines, the number of doses per person, the volume that a cargo pallet with vaccines will occupy taking into account the packaging, and so on, are mapped out in different scenarios, in order to quickly respond once a vaccine is available.
“The COVID-19 vaccine story yet again shows the strength of Brucargo. Thanks to the community’s extensive experience in transporting vaccines, in particular the Ebola vaccine on dry ice, and the long-standing collaboration, our cargo community can offer a robust logistics platform for importing and exporting all types of COVID-19 vaccines, at the service of public health,” said Geert Keirens of Air Cargo Belgium.