SAL unveils new pharma facility in Riyadh for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

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Saudi Arabian Logistics Company (SAL) has unveiled its new pharma and perishable facilities at the Cargo Village in Riyadh, specialising in perishables and all types of pharmaceuticals, including the much-awaited Covid-19 vaccines soon to be rolled out worldwide.

Saudi Minister of Transport Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser inaugurated the new facilities at the country’s main gateway, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. SAL, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, is tasked to complement the nation’s goal of creating a global logistics hub.

With 5,000 square metres of storage, the pharma and perishable facilities combined can adequately handle up to 365,000 tonnes of cargo a year. With SAL’s partnership with the Saudi Customs, Saudi Food and Drug Authority has made clearance of shipments becomes easier and faster. The new facilities have four docks for loading refrigerated containers. The project, which started its operations, also has twelve warehouses with different temperatures ranging from minus 20°C to 25°C to suit the nature and type of cargo to be stored. In addition, within the facility, there is a special storage dedicated for flower cargo.

SAL CEO Omar Hariri commented, “The launch of the Riyadh cold storage facilities comes at a historic moment that coincides with the world’s anticipation for the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine. This urgency makes us harness the capabilities of the operation capacity of our pharmaceutical facility and be fully prepared to receive and handle the new vaccines in coordination with the health authorities.” The new project, he added, will enhance SAL’s handling and storage services for medical and pharmaceuticals in line with the highest quality standards approved by the EU GDP.

The opening of the facilities ushers in a new and advanced phase for handling sensitive cargoes including foodstuffs that require special care. Within the facilities, there are divisions run by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Customs to inspect and expedite the cargo handling process to avoid an unbreakable cool chain. The new facilities also feature a 650 sqm temperature control breakdown area. There’s also an area for shipping refrigerated containers enough for 20 active containers. It is also equipped with a thermal isolation area.

Last May, SAL started its operations at its new facilities in the Riyadh-based King Khalid International Airport’s Cargo Village. The total area of the facilities is 42,000 square metres while its operation capacity reaches 450,000 tonnes a year including cargoes and goods handled. The company aims to contribute to the Vision 2030 objectives and turn Saudi Arabia into a global logistics hub and invest in its strategic geographical location connecting three continents.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport assured the country’s transport infrastructure and facilities, particularly air cargo and logistics, are fully prepared to handle Covid-19 vaccines once it’s ready for distribution. 

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