va-Q-tec signs agreement to provide thermal containers for global Covid-19 vaccine distribution
va-Q-tec, a pioneer of highly efficient thermal containers and boxes for temperature-controlled logistics, has announced the successful conclusion of a comprehensive agreement with one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers for the international distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. This probably makes the company the first in the thermal container sector to agree a confirmed partnership for large-scale global thermal transports in connection with the Covid-19 vaccine.
The company states that it is aware of its great responsibility: in addition to the development and validation of the vaccine, which is currently taking place under intense pressure, secure worldwide distribution is considered a mammoth logistical and technical task. As part of the agreement, the customer is securing capacities for international, temperature-controlled vaccine distribution. Such capacities could become increasingly scarce, according to sector information.
As part of the related heads of terms agreement, it has been arranged with the partner that, subject to approval, the worldwide, large-volume distribution of its vaccines deploying va-Q-tec’s innovative transport solutions is to start in the first quarter of 2021. The order volume comprises several thousand high-performance transport containers. The parties intend to conclude a final agreement soon concerning the total volume of the partnership based on the heads of terms agreement. The approval of the active substance is a prerequisite for this agreement. At this stage, it is assumed that such approval will be granted.
The investments made so far realised in the expansion of va-Q-tec’s fleet create the necessary capacities for this order, as well as for possible follow-up orders. The fleet will be expanded significantly further over the coming months. As a consequence, the German company operates the world’s largest fleet of thermal containers, whose interiors maintain even low temperature ranges at a constant level of -20°C and below, over a period of several days. For this reason, va-Q-tec is in an ideal position to provide secure and reliable logistics for the valuable vaccine in the context of such a large-scale request, and has already many years of experience with international transports below -60°C.
The company offers a unique, coordinated portfolio of different high-performance thermal container and box solutions that enable it to handle such a complex, international logistic task. In addition to large-volume international shipments, all types of transport can be realized utilizing the same proven technology, including on the last mile to the end customer or patient.
It also has a fleet of several 1000 high-tech rental containers within its network of 40 international stations. Reliable availability for increased global demand or transportation to countries with challenging logistics infrastructures is also ensured by a container variant that is available for purchase: with the va-Q-pal SI, a cost-efficient and sustainable pallet container has been specially developed that reliably maintains required temperatures for many days. It can be re-qualified several times, enabling it to be reutilised at its original performance level. For this purpose, before being reutilised, the entire insulation can be checked easily for full functionality.
Above and beyond the agreement that has been reached, va-Q-tec is in advanced negotiations aimed at comparable partnerships with further international vaccine manufacturers. Coronavirus vaccines are already being moved in the company’s thermal transport solutions, some of them are being pre-produced and distributed in large volumes on a pre-approval basis in order to supply the population with the vaccines immediately after official approval. In many such cases, little data is available on stability during transport and storage. Consequently, va-Q-tec transports the same coronavirus vaccines on an intercontinental basis at -70°C, as well as on a local microdistribution basis at +2 to 8°C. This is in the same boxes and containers easily possible thanks to the company’s unique technology.
Dr. Joachim Kuhn, CEO and founder of va-Q-tec, says, “First-class scientists have developed a vaccine within a very short time, and we are now helping to distribute the vaccine with our secure transport solutions. The present agreement is the most extensive in our twenty-year corporate history, and perhaps one of the most extensive in the sector ever. With our unique technology, our broad portfolio and our years of experience with low and very low temperatures, we can optimally support the global distribution of the Coronavirus vaccine. Thanks to the extensive expansion of our container and box fleet as well as our worldwide network, we offer ideal prerequisites for tackling this enormous logistics challenge. We are proud to be able to make our contribution to the major common goal of the global battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.”