Alibaba Logistics Arm Chills with Ethiopian Airlines to Transport Covid-19 Vaccines

A cargo flight containing over 6 million medical items including face masks, test kits, face shields and protective suits arrives in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sunday, March 22, 2020. The supplies arriving from Guangzhou, China for fighting the spread in Africa of the COVID-19 coronavirus were donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation and will be distributed from Ethiopia to countries throughout Africa. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Cainiao, the logistics arm of Alibaba, is launching what it says is China’s first regular cross-border cold chain air route to transport temperature-sensitive medicines including Covid-19 vaccines, the company said on Thursday.

The route, established in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines, will transport the medicines twice a week from Shenzhen to Addis Ababa, using cold chain cabins equipped with a real-time temperature control system, it said in a statement.

The cargo terminal in Ethiopia is also outfitted with storage facilities that can keep temperatures as low as minus 23 degrees Celsius in order to ensure seamless cold chain logistics, it added.

The medicines can also be transported to the rest of the world via Dubai and Addis Ababa.

The route’s launch comes as some parts of Africa have seen an increase in Covid-19 infections over the past few weeks, and as China hopes to supply the continent with vaccines developed by local Chinese companies.

“The launch of the cold chain air freight has further bolstered our global logistics capabilities and allows us to offer a one-stop solution for the global distribution of medical products such as Covid-19 vaccines,” said James Zhao, general manager of Cainiao International Supply Chain.

As some Covid-19 vaccines are pending approval for use, Chinese logistics companies are stepping up deployments on routes to transport them. Industry giant SF Express has been working with drugmakers to help deliver vaccine candidates around the world for clinical trials, state media CGTN reported last month.

Source: Caixin Global