The newly-launched Hope Consortium, a UAE-based public-private partnership, has bolstered its distribution reach following a strategic agreement with leading international freight forwarders. The latest consortium partners, which include Agility, Aramex, Hellmann and Kuehne + Nagel, will help address the different steps of the logistical challenge, including ‘last mile’, with a capacity of billions of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
Spearheaded by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the Hope Consortium appointed these global transport companies based on their expert abilities and reach to safely and effectively deliver vaccine doses under cold and ultra-cold conditions (temperature bands 2-8° C, -20° C and -80° C) between transportation hubs, warehouses, medical facilities and other final destinations in over 170 countries.
Representing the top global and Abu Dhabi supply chain solution players, the Hope Consortium consists of Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports, Rafed – the healthcare purchasing arm of Abu Dhabi-based ADQ and Switzerland’s award-winning SkyCell, which develops next-generation, temperature-controlled logistics containers for the pharmaceutical industry.
H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Alkaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, said: “The Hope Consortium’s success relies upon the collaboration of public sector entities and leading private sector companies across the global logistics supply chain. The addition of Agility, Aramex, Hellmann and Kuehne + Nagel provides solid support and expertise to address multiple challenges, including the ‘last mile’ vaccine distribution challenge. This partnership demonstrates the unrivalled global strength of Hope Consortium.”
“The Abu Dhabi-backed Hope Consortium has quickly and effectively garnered the attention and support of the world’s leading logistics players. Today’s announcement is testament to the sector’s ambition to overcome the complex challenges inherent in transporting sensitive cargo of such scale across varying geographies around the world.”
Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group, added: “The inclusion of leading freight forwarders will further strengthen the Hope Consortium proposition and elevate our global capabilities. Etihad Cargo’s strong existing partnerships with these entities, coupled with our experience in the shipment of temperature-sensitive cargo, will streamline our approach and add further confidence to a visionary collaboration. We are proud to be one of the first airlines to embark on a project of this scale.”
Agility is a global logistics company with operations in more than 100 countries. It is one of the world’s top freight forwarding and contract logistics providers, and a leader and investor in technology to enhance supply chain efficiency. Agility is a market-leader in emerging markets and one of the largest private owners and developers of warehousing and light industrial parks in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with more than 3 million square metres of warehousing and light industrial-facilities.
H.E. Khadim Al Darei, Chairman of Agility Abu Dhabi, said: “As a strategic partner, Agility Abu Dhabi is committed to help drive Abu Dhabi’s growth vision. During the early months of COVID-19, Agility supported projects related to food security and medical equipment supply chain. Through the Hope Consortium, we look forward to utilizing our global logistics footprint and warehousing network to make a difference on a global scale.”
Tarek Sultan, Agility Vice Chairman, said: “SARS-CoV2 vaccine logistics will demand specialized handling expertise for pharma, cold-chain infrastructure and storage, an emerging markets footprint and the digital capabilities to manage advanced tracking and visibility – all areas Agility has made long-term investments in. Agility is honoured to be a global contributor to the Hope Consortium and eager to help tackle one of the great logistics challenges of our time.”
Aramex is a leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions. The Company’s breadth of services, including International and Domestic Express Delivery, Freight-forwarding, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, positions it as an important player offering innovative and technology-enabled logistics solutions for the healthcare sector.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chairman of Aramex, expressed his deep appreciation for the efforts exerted by the wise leadership in combating the pandemic and utilising Abu Dhabi’s leading position as a trade and logistics hub to best serve humanity. He said, “Aramex is proud to be a trusted partner playing a leading role in the worldwide distribution of vital SARS-CoV2 vaccines. Our global operating network across over 65 countries, expertise in providing logistics and transportation solution across the value chain - from laboratories to healthcare facility - and our state-of-the-art facilities - from warehouse to van fleets - puts us in a very strong position to be a reliable partner in the Hope Consortium. Our part of the promise is to help deliver a portion of the billions of vaccine doses to their target populations on-time and in accordance with the world’s most stringent health and safety standards.”
Bashar Obeid, CEO of Aramex, said: “We are privileged to be supporting health authorities in the global fight against COVID-19. Aramex has the operational capabilities and expertise underpinned by technology-enabled infrastructure and skilled manpower to carry out this immense and crucial endeavour in an efficient and timely manner. Additionally, we have been investing to ramp up our last mile infrastructure to include temperature-controlled warehouses and vehicles to ensure safe handling of pharmaceuticals including vaccines. We are fully committed to this partnership and we look forward to working alongside our partners and contributing collectively to achieving the UAE’s aim to responsibly supply the vaccine globally.”
Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, headquartered in Germany, has a global network of around 500 branches in more than 173 countries. The full-service logistics provider has a 150-year history specializing in supply chain solutions for key industries, of which Healthcare Logistics is one of its leading vertical solutions.
Reiner Heiken, Chief Executive Officer, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, said: “The pharma and healthcare industry has never been more important than it is today. To ensure that vital products such as vaccines and other life-saving pharmaceutical products are handled with the highest integrity and safety, we have globally established Hellmann Healthcare Logistics. People, processes, infrastructure and digitalization are the foundation of our healthcare network and enable us to offer compliant, transparent and innovative transportation and distribution solutions. Combining a risk-based approach and integration of secured digital solutions into supply chains, Hellmann offers qualified end-to-end transport with capabilities of real-time and proactive intervention.”
He added: “In the Middle East, Hellmann Healthcare Logistics gained a leadership position by operating a proven-and-tested hub concept for more than a decade, using UAE healthcare warehouses as distribution platforms for the region. Our specialized regional and global experience will be complimentary to the strength of the Hope Consortium partners. Together we stand ready to support the UAE and Abu Dhabi Governments in leading efforts for the global distribution of the SARS-CoV2 vaccines.”
With over 78,000 employees at 1,400 locations in over 100 countries, the Kuehne+Nagel Group is one of the world's leading logistics companies. In 2019, the company moved 4.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by sea freight, 1.6 million tons by air freight, operated 32,500 truck departures a day in Europe and managed 11.4 million square metres of logistics and warehousing space.
Robert Coyle, Senior Vice President, Pharma & Healthcare Strategy, at Kuehne+Nagel, noted: “As one of the global leaders in Pharma & Healthcare logistics, Kuehne+Nagel have the capacity, the ability and responsibility to facilitate the global distribution of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and supporting materials with global stakeholders. By joining Hope Consortium, we bring in the Kuehne+Nagel CEIV accredited global network of cool facilities, long-standing experience of large vaccine shipments and dedicated Pharma and Healthcare specialists that will ensure fast, safe and secure transportation. We will leverage our unique strengths in the vaccine supply chain and facilitate vaccine availability across the world. We will make it happen.”
This signing will be the first of many to come to ensure that no location is too far and no logistical challenge too difficult for the safe and effective delivery of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses.
Between them, the four companies involved in the Hope Consortium cover 80% of the world’s countries and transported over four million tons of air freight cargo globally last year.