Chinese firms able to guarantee domestic and international vaccine transport
By Chi Jingyi
Global Times

As a growing number of COVID-19 vaccines come onto the market, officially or approved for market with conditions, transport of vaccines became new concerns in China and in the world.

A batch of China-donated Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Lao capital Vientiane early on February 8, 2021. (Kaikeo Saiyasane/Xinhua)

Companies and industry associations have said that China is capable to guarantee domestic and international vaccine transport, with increasing number of refrigerators, cold-chain vehicles and relevant equipment required.

At present, there is a huge number of Chinese produced COVID-19 vaccine transported internationally, which in general have been transported by chartered flights, a manager of a Chinese logistics company that has international business, told the Global Times on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

"The cold chain transport temperature of Chinese vaccines that have come into the market is 2-8 C. As far as international transport, there is no difficulty in customs clearance procedures," the manager noted, adding that the company has transported 20 batches of COVID-19 vaccines to overseas clients.

The company was among 28 logistic companies qualified by the Ministry of Transport on February 2 for COVID-19 vaccines transportation. 15 are professional third-party pharmaceutical cold chain logistics enterprises.

"Our company provided different sizes of refrigerators for vaccines to international customers," a manager surnamed Deng of CIMC Cold Cloud Supply Chain Management (Beijing) Co, told the Global Times on Monday.

Deng revealed that the company has refrigerators ranging between 4 liters and 3,000 liters. A 130-liter refrigerator can hold 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Currently, the most commonly used refrigerated vehicle in the Chinese market is the 6.2-meter model, with a loading capacity of around 35 cubic meters, according to a research by the Healthcare Logistics Association of China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing (CHLA) sent to the Global Times.

China has more than 10,000 special refrigerated vehicles for the cold chain of medicine and the country can refit about 50,000 refrigerated vehicles annually, which can be further expanded according to the demand. The monthly actual operating mileage of cold-chain vehicles is about 15,000 kilometers, per CHLA.

From September 2020 onwards, the CHLA has carried out a survey on member enterprises, showing that about 70 percent of the enterprises plan to add new refrigerated vehicles in 2021, which the CHLA estimated that there will be an increase of about 20 percent.

"The peak of vaccine transport ended at the beginning of February before the Spring Festival comes. The next peak is expected to be in March and April, when vaccine production capacity is supposed to increase," a manager surnamed Li of Tianjin The Leader Supply Chain Co, told the Global Times.

Li also said that the company will not suspend vaccine transport during Chinese New Year to guarantee COVID-19 vaccine stays available.

"The delivery speed of cold chain transport for vaccines is faster than normal fright transport as vaccines enjoy a green passage. For large transport hubs, vaccines can be delivered to injection venues on the same day that the vaccine was manufactured," Li introduced, adding that delivery service also covers remote areas.