DHL Express partners with MASkargo to deliver first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to Malaysia

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DHL Express has successfully delivered the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to Malaysia on February 21. From door-to-door in just three days, the logistics provider worked with Malaysia Aviation Group’s cargo subsidiary MABkargo Sdn. Bhd. (MASkargo) to fly the vaccines in and subsequently arranged for it to be sent directly to designated facilities across Kuala Lumpur. Over 300,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine were transported via a Passenger-to-Cargo (P2C) flight utilising the Airbus 330-300 aircraft in close  collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation, Ministry of  Transport, Ministry of Health and Pfizer. 

“In the past year, our teams across the world have truly embodied the As One spirit, coming together to deliver personal protective equipment, medical necessities and daily essentials to communities in need. We have now come full circle to elevate our purpose of connecting people and improving lives with the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines to countries everywhere including the very first of shipments to Middle East, and now to Malaysia,” said Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific. “We are proud to have the opportunity to make a difference and I can assure you that no effort is spared in ensuring that our well-established DHL Medical Express solution adhere to the stringent requirements of speed, quality, security and reliability when it comes to transporting these precious cargo,” he added.  

Speaking on the historic event, group chief executive officer of MAG, Captain Izham Ismail said, "We are proud to be able to serve the country in this very important mission, as Malaysians and residents look forward to receive their dosage  under the national vaccination programme. Being the country’s national carrier, we  take this responsibility of transporting the vaccines very seriously, as the success  of the vaccination programme is key in helping the country achieve economic and  financial recovery. Despite being very experienced in handling time and  temperature-sensitive items, we still worked hard at preparing the organisation in  this highly complex and demanding task to ensure seamless end-to-end execution.  Our skilled workforce and adequate infrastructure are vital points in ensuring the  safe, secure and hygienic handling, transportation and distribution of the Covid-19  vaccine to Malaysia or any part of the world.” 

One of the key challenges faced in the shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine is the stringent temperature requirements of the vaccine. The vaccine was delivered in specially designed thermal shipper packaging customised by the manufacturer. Each shipment was packed with dry ice to regulate the temperature, enabling its use in locations that lack the physical infrastructure to otherwise maintain the required temperature. Temperature trackers equipped with sophisticated GPS technology are also packed within each thermal shipper box to provide full visibility throughout the shipment’s entire journey. MASkargo conducted live simulations and dry runs during its international and domestic scheduled flights in preparation for the various types of  vaccine, each of which has different logistic requirements Malaysia.  

“We are satisfied that today’s mission was successfully completed, with the strong support of the respective ministries and partners. We look forward to similar missions in future, making good use of our extensive global freight network and  expertise in ensuring the successful shipment of Covid-19 vaccines,” added Captain Izham.  

"As Covid-19 continues to devastate lives and livelihoods, the vaccines represent hope for a better 2021," said Julian Neo, managing director of DHL Express Malaysia and Brunei. Neo added, "Organising their distribution to so many people in such a short time will be an extremely complex operation that we are well-equipped and proud to contribute to. Since the onset of the pandemic, DHL Express has leveraged our broad experience and expertise to help maintain the integrity of the healthcare supply chain, ensuring vital supplies and protective equipment reach communities and medical stakeholders in need."

More than 9,000 life sciences and healthcare specialists work across DHL’s dedicated global network so that pharmaceutical, medical devices, clinical trials and research organisations, wholesalers and distributors, as well as hospitals and healthcare providers are connected across the value chain and through digitalisation, from clinical trials to point of care, and every step in between.  

DHL’s portfolio for the healthcare industry includes over 150 pharmacists, 20 clinical trials depots, 100 certified stations, 160 GDP-qualified warehouses, 15 GMP-certified sites, 135 medical  express sites, and a time-definite international express network covering over 220 countries and  territories. 

On a global scale, logistics providers are challenged to establish medical supply chain rapidly to deliver vaccines of unprecedented amount of more than 10 billion doses worldwide—also in regions with less developed logistics infrastructures, where approximately 3 billion people live. To provide global coverage over the next two years, DHL estimated in its vaccine logistics whitepaper that up to 200,000 pallet shippers and 15 million cooling boxes as well as 15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain setups. 

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