Bracing for Inoculation: How GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is responding to the Call of the Century

GMR Hyderabad

GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) is on the cusp of a transformation. With Hyderabad and its adjoining areas harbouring one of the biggest concentrations of vaccine manufacturing capacity in the world, the Hyderabad Airport will play a pivotal role in exporting a majority of Indian Manufactured Vaccines to various parts of the globe. In this feature, we unravel the preparations underway and how GHAC is stepping up its game in perfectly executing the “Mission of the Century”.

As the country pulls off the world’s largest inoculation drive, the GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is at the helm of affairs, for it has emerged as a key hub of vaccine disbursal.

By upgrading its facilities and streamlining processes across both land and air, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is going above and beyond to match up to the unique requirements of handling the much-anticipated COVID-19 Vaccine. 

To cater to the profound task at hand with expectations and responsibilities galore, GHAC has formed a dedicated Vaccine Handling Facility and Task Force with a nodal officer, to ensure a seamless and high priority movement of COVID -19 vaccines at the Hyderabad International Airport. The airport has also recently announced a key collaboration for the same.

Project HYDXB-VAXCOR: A collaboration to reckon with

The run-up to pulling off the world’s largest inoculation drive has fostered a gamut of collaborations in the country, particularly in the air cargo segment.

Recently, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited & GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GMR-HYD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Airports to build an exclusive Vaccine Air Freight Corridor Product called ‘HYDXB-VAXCOR’ that stands for “Hyderabad to Dubai global Vaccine Corridor”.

The MoU was signed by Pradeep Panicker, CEO-GMR Hyderabad International Airport, Saurabh Kumar, CEO-GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo and Eugene Barry, EVP-Commercial, Dubai Airports Corporation in a virtual ceremony.

As part of this joint initiative, Dubai Airports and GMR-HYD have formed a strategic partnership, combining Dubai’s Global Distribution Eco-system with GMR-HYD’s unique Value Added Services for Vaccine Exporters and Importers from both the countries.

This key partnership also entails Technology Collaboration, under which both the entities will come together on an Integrated IT Solution that will provide End-to-End Visibility including Shipment Temperature and Status Tracking for customers while cargo is in transit between HYD and DXB and during its journey onwards to various global destinations.

Gearing up for the transportation of vaccines

When it comes to ramping up its facilities for the arduous task at hand, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo has left no stone unturned in its endeavors towards maintaining an unbroken cold chain.  GHAC is fully geared up and is ensuring a continuously monitored supply chain or augmenting its cold chain facilities amid the unprecedented deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines underway.

Key Cold Chain Adjustments

Given Hyderabad’s positioning as the pharma hub of India, Hyderabad Airport’s cargo facilities have been conceived right from inception to cater to the very specialized supply chain needs of the pharma Industry. In keeping with the profoundness of the task at hand, GHAC has leveraged its unmatched prowess in handling pharmaceutical shipments by ensuring a 24×7, unbroken end-to-end cool supply chain that is monitored at all times.

GHAC’s spokesperson lets us in on the available cold chain facilities at the airport.

 “GHAC offers temperature control in all the required temperature ranges applicable for Air Cargo i.e. -20 to +2,   +2 to +8 degrees & +15 to +25 degrees.  The temperature controlled facilities are monitored 24×7 providing an end-to-end unbroken cool-chain for pharmaceutical and vaccine shipments”, the spokesperson adds. Another major advantage is the availability of the dedicated cargo aircraft apron that permits the largest of wide-body freighter aircraft to park right adjacent to the cargo terminal, minimizing the possibility of any exposure of cargo shipments to the weather and other elements during the movement from cargo terminal and into the aircraft.

Apart from the recent addition of a large multi-ULD Cool Dolly- a mobile refrigeration unit, the terminal also offers one of India’s largest fleets of the modern temp-controlled cool containers viz. envirotainer, VaQtec, etc. To ensure better monitoring and control while handling the temp-sensitive vaccine shipments, GHAC also offers its Cool zones/containers with temperature data loggers and humidity sensors.

With Hyderabad being one of the designated distribution points for the region, the airport has handled key consignments related to the unprecedented vaccine roll-out, be it the first inbound Covishield vaccine consignment from Pune or consignments of Covaxin that were bound out of Hyderabad for various countries and also numerous domestic destinations through different airlines.

It also took care to supervise and take care of all vaccine consignments as per the special protocol ensuring cool-chain integrity.

To end with

With its location at proximity to several major vaccine Producers and extensive reach in a vast catchment area spread across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and even as far South as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, GHAC’s prowess as an established hub for the export of India-manufactured goods including vaccines to target markets in Europe, Africa, the US and Asia lies unchallenged. As the unprecedented vaccine inoculation drive continues, GMR Hyderabad air Cargo will continue to cater to the call of humanity with its grit and expertise in pharmaceutical shipments.

This article was originally published in the February issue of the Logistics Insider magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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