With recent announcements from pharmaceutical companies that they are close to supplying a Covid-19 vaccine, global logistics experts race to support what will be an epic supply chain challenge. Crane Worldwide Logistics has been strengthening its global solutions in preparation.

Supply chains have come under a microscope in 2020, and as information about potential vaccinations emerge, so are the associated challenges in transporting them.

The exact temperature control requirements, the number of doses needed, the shelf life, and packaging requirements are all still unknowns.

Nancy Matthews, vice president life sciences at Crane Worldwide, said in a company podcast that having the ability to support a range of temperatures is key.

“Different vaccine manufacturers have different requirements. Ranging from minus 80 degrees Celsius all the way to two to eight degrees Celsius for the actual administering, as we understand it today. And that is still evolving,” she said. This hinges upon the leading pharmaceutical companies’ final product specification.

Matthews said that not only will variable temperature solutions be required, but they also need to be available in a mobile manner, all around the world and with round the clock monitoring, in addition to measures to maintain visibility, and security controls.

Speaking on how Crane Worldwide has been readying itself for the upcoming challenge, Keith Winters, ceo at the company, said: “Building on the intelligence and research available to date, we have tested and verified a multitude of supply chain scenarios that will support and supplement the three pillars of success for the vaccine supply chain: storage capabilities, ground transportation and local/international transportation requirements.”

Winters added that the logistics company has boosted its expertise: “We have been investing in people. So we have improved our intellectual capital base in the organisation.”

Winters went on to explain that Crane Worldwide has staged equipment in multiple destinations throughout the world to test its storage capabilities, “even in small communities around the globe.”

Crane Worldwide emphasised that as a third-party logistics partner, it will invest in the appropriate equipment, visibility and monitoring systems – keeping to industry and regulatory compliance – that can be used to provide end-to-end logistics solutions when a vaccine is released.