Why A COVID-19 Vaccine Represents New Challenges to Shipping Networks
The COVID vaccine will go down in history as the ultimate challenge in the transportation world. Why? It’s cold. Very cold. Dry ice is required to transport the vaccine at super-chilled temperatures, increasing the safety protocol for this shipment. The amount of product the carriers will carry to keep up with demand will be very hefty. Add to the cold storage challenge that fact that there’s a dry ice shortage in the works, and the transport requirements become especially challenging. Additionally, the vaccine is viewed as a priority shipment ahead of any other shipments due to immense demand and immense temperature regulations that come with it. And for right now, due to the dry ice limitations, there are limits to the cargo capacity for each trip. Even reefer is at the mercy as the world sees more demand from the effects of the recent surge in coronavirus cases and tragic outcomes. And then, there’s the problem with increased demand due to peak returns season. There is a significant challenge for all shipping networks.
Increasing Capacity Procurement Is the Only Way to Overcome the Problems
Additional Steps Shippers Can Take to Increase Agility Through This Vaccine-Induced Disruption
- Increase lead times to account for any orders that need to ship with priority in the shipping networks.
- Encourage customers to order in advance to prepare for more COVID vaccines in advance.
- Optimize space and asset utilization in shipments so there’s no empty space, and loads can get to their destinations faster.
- Take advantage of multimodal optimization, using air, land, and sea combinations to get a lower cost and to take advantage of all transportation has to offer.
- Use freight data indices to tender freight at more competitive rates and to analyze best cost and practices.