Indian air cargo comes under pressure as focus shifts to vaccine transport

India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing country, is expected to play a vital role in the production and the distribution of the COVID vaccine in the days to come. As the nation reaches another step closer to the COVID vaccine, its distribution at home and abroad is putting new pressure on the country’s air cargo rates and capacity.

More domestic demand for air cargo space is anticipated once India initiates the mass distribution of the vaccine. Also, it is believed that with more focus on vaccine a crunch in cargo space will be experienced for the general air cargo.

Furthermore, additional transit times is anticipated, with cargo queuing up to be loaded on flights.

In preparations for the distribution of the vaccines, many initiatives and new collaborations have been done. The Pharma hub of India, Hyderabad Airport which will play a vital role have recently announced a partnership with Dubai to create a “global vaccine corridor”.

Also, the Cargo arm of the low-cost carrier SpiceJet has signed an MOU with GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo, giving the airline priority space for its vaccine shipments. 

After the grounding of passenger airlines, the focus was shifted to air cargo, which helped the airlines stay afloat. Now, with international passenger flights still restricted and vaccine rollout taking priority, rates and capacity are under pressure again.

While air cargo will be under great pressure alternate modes for the logistics of the vaccine such as express trucking and expedited rail freight are also eyed upon.

India is also looking to distribute vaccine via drones. Kerala-based Sitics Logistics and TechEagle have teamed up to provide vaccine delivery to remote areas via drones.

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