SYDNEY (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd of Hong Kong is expanding its cold storage facilities at its cargo terminal to allow more than 8.6 million vaccine doses a day to be temporarily stored as countries begin to accept COVID-19 vaccines.
Its current capacity is around 7.1 million doses and, Cathay Director Cargo Tom Owen said in a newsletter on Friday, a new cold storage room will allow for another 1.5 million doses.
Airlines devastated by COVID-19 are planning their own recovery and survival for key positions in the mass vaccine rollout that aims to unlock an immediate boost for the industry - and beyond that.
"We are the world's third largest freight carrier, and with our 20 dedicated passenger aircraft freighters and cargo bellies supporting our extensive freighter network, we stand ready to assist with what will be the largest humanitarian response to a civil aviation situation anyone has ever seen," Owen said.
In a new generation track-and-trace system called Ultra Track, Cathay has invested in enabling freight forwarders to control the condition of shipments of vaccines in real time.
"For any COVID-19 vaccine shipments from all the vaccine manufacturing centres, we will offer the service free of charge," Owen said.
A low-energy Bluetooth transmitter is used by Ultra Track that can record and transmit real-time GPS locations, temperature, vibration and humidity.
Due to temperature regulation, logistics and shipment-related problems, more than half of vaccines go to waste globally every year.
Logistical challenges pose a major risk to attempts to quickly deliver COVID-19 vaccines, but have contributed to a thriving market for businesses selling technology to track shipments from factory freezer to shot in the arm.