Germany’s state of Lower Saxony commissions DHL Supply Chain to manage COVID-19 vaccine logistics. The division of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, is contracted to store nearly 2.2 million vaccine doses, and about 350 pallets of vaccination equipment for the state.
The vaccine doses will be stored at two of DHL’s more than 140 certified Life Science Health Care locations and from there DHL will transport the vaccine to the vaccination centres and hospitals across the state.
“A specialty of this contract is that the new mRNA vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer has to be stored at extremely low temperatures,” says Oscar de Bok, CEO DHL Supply Chain and member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Storage and distribution at -70 degrees Celsius present a challenge. Only a handful of logistics companies possess the cooling and transport capacity to accommodate such low temperature range.”
De Bok notes that DHL invested early to expand its deep freezer farms and cold storage facilities in anticipation of significantly ramped up demand once the vaccines began rolling out.
DHL Supply Chain will store the vaccines and vaccination equipment for Lower Saxony at two separate locations where the vaccine doses will be picked and prepared for transport. The vaccine doses will also be stored in different temperature ranges. In addition to capacities for the storage of mRNA vaccines, which need to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, cooling capacities are also provided for vaccine doses, which are stored at -20 degrees or at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
“The preparations for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations represent a huge organisational challenge on many different levels,” notes Dr. Carola Reimann (SPD), Minister of Health of the State of Lower Saxony. “Therefore I’m delighted that the state government of Lower Saxony has signed a contract with DHL Supply Chain to put the entire vaccine logistics on a reliable and professional base. The logistics are thus prepared,” she adds.
Based on its federal structure, responsibility for vaccination management in Germany sits with the 16 individual states. The State of Lower Saxony is one of the first German states to cooperate with a private logistics provider to manage the COVID-19 vaccine logistics. Karsten Schwarz, CEO DHL Supply Chain Germany & Alps adds: “DHL Supply Chain is also preparing to supply other German states, with negotiations around the transport and storage of COVID-19 vaccines nearing completion.”