QR Cargo to adjust, increase capacity for UNICEF’s Covid-19 vaccine initiative

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Qatar Airways Cargo, the freight division of Qatar Airways through its QR Pharma product is all set to offer controlled cool chain solutions for UNICEF’s Covid-19 vaccine initiative. The cargo carrier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNICEF for a five-year period to support UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. It is among 16 airlines to partner with the United Nations agency and join the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

With the help of its QR Pharma product, Qatar Airways Cargo will not only offer controlled cool chain but also dedicated monitoring, intervention and servicing as well as proactive re-icing at its Doha hub when required. It will also adjust and increase its cold chain capacity to meet UNICEF’s forecasted requirements. The cargo carrier will work closely with UNICEF and its freight forwarders to prioritise the transport of vaccines, medicines, medical devices and critical supplies utilising its extensive global network and capacity. 

Guillaume Halleux, chief officer cargo said, “The logistics around the transportation of these shipments is complex and being at the forefront of time and temperature-sensitive transportation, we understand the intricacies of a seamless cool chain and the criticality of transporting Covid-19 related shipments on priority. We are glad to join hands with UNICEF and support them, helping transport vital supplies to impacted regions and communities worldwide. We remain committed and resilient in the fight against the pandemic and together with UNICEF, we will ensure the safe, timely and efficient transportation of these life-saving supplies.”

“Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes” said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF Supply Division. Kadilli added, “We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines.”

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative brings together a number of airlines covering routes to over 100 markets for the air transport of Covid-19 vaccines and other critical supplies in support of the COVAX Facility – the global effort aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Qatar Airways Cargo played a major role during the pandemic last year from the very early stages, ensuring vital aid and PPE is transported globally. The cargo carrier continued in the face of challenges, ensuring continuity of global trade and prioritised medical and aid shipments working closely with governments and NGOs to transport over 250,000 tonnes of essential supplies to impacted regions. In July 2020, Qatar Airways Cargo also launched One Million Kilos, Chapter 1 of its sustainability programme, WeQare, through which it offered free transport of 1 million kilos of humanitarian aid and medical equipment. Most of the cargo transported was Covid-19 related essential supplies.

Qatar Airways Cargo has an extensive global network covering more than 120 destinations worldwide and over 60 freighter destinations. The carrier will operate freighters, mini freighters, passenger freighters and belly-hold flights to offer its services in this critical mission. It has received the IATA CEIV Pharma certification for its headquarters in Doha and Qatar Aviation Services Cargo, its ground handling partner at Hamad International Airport has also been CEIV Pharma certified.

The airline has made significant investments in cold chain management which is part of the cargo carrier’s strategy and commitment to improving and enhancing its QR Pharma product offering and supporting the logistics around the global Covid-19 vaccination endeavour.

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