Now that COVID-19 vaccines are ready to be distributed to the world, all eyes are directed towards the logistics and trucking industry, for good reason. There are lots of challenges associated with vaccine distribution from securing capacity to temperature-controlled requirements, security, and seasonal challenges. Logistics and trucking companies like Titan Transline have to make sure that distribution will be as efficient and organized as possible.
Pfizer and Moderna have declared that their vaccines are 95% effective but need to be stored at specific temperatures. This further increases the burden on logistics and trucking companies. Timing will also be a crucial factor because according to US Vice President Mike Pence, vaccination has to be administered at the soonest time possible for qualified Americans.
Since the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -70 Celsius, distribution has become more complex. The refrigerated capacity of containers, trailers, and warehouses are in short supply. Other vaccines aside from Pfizer have to be stored at different temperatures. Supply chain security must be monitored closely to ensure the integrity of the vaccine and to allow inoculation for the neediest.
Another potential challenge is the labor supply that includes truck drivers, warehouse employees, and supply chain security personnel that are quite difficult to recruit and retain. As the vaccine distribution efforts increase so with eCommerce and online retail. This will exacerbate the imbalance of supply and demand in freight handling and transportation services.
There is a lot of air capacity right now but the big question is when the aircraft lands in the United States. Will there be enough ground capacity to deliver the vaccine quickly? Ground capacity will obviously be tight and since the vaccine will be given first priority, delivery of products will be likely delayed.
At the moment, capacity constraints are the biggest short-term issues but there are alternatives like courier services and small parcel carriers or regional LTL carriers that can augment capacity. Meanwhile, specialty equipment that will be used to store the vaccines in a temperature-controlled setting particularly airfreight and lift capacity will be at a premium in 2021 because of the global distribution of vaccines.