Leveraging the Power of Ocean Cargo & Port Community System for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Leveraging the Power of Ocean Cargo & Port Community System for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

By the end of 2020, COVID-19 vaccines are set to hit the markets for the public. When it comes out, the first question popping up will be the distribution model. Already, World Health Organization (WHO) is working with logistics and supply chain experts to build a well streamlined network to distribute the vaccines.

Given the current scenario, the pandemic is rapidly spreading in almost every single country. Once the vaccine is ready, the movement needs to be rapid and even. To keep the distribution rapid, ocean cargo would be the preferred mode. But Maritime has been the most preferred channel for the pharmaceutical companies as air cargo is believed to carry pharma cargo in undesirable environments. In turn, the efficacy and potency of the drug is lost that it may not serve its actual purpose even if it is delivered in less than 24 hours. Here are some ways by which ocean cargo can transport the vaccines across the globe in a safe environment and on time.


Enabling Agile, Safe & Secure Environment
Currently, 7 pharma companies in USA with multiple and single manufacturing facility is nearing completion of the vaccine. Already, the Federal Government is working in tandem with US State Department of Health and Defense on Operation Warp Speed. This creates a robust mandate as well as protocols for swift movement of vaccine across the geographies. Similarly, various other countries too are working on enabling an agile, safe and secure environment for Vaccine transit.

To enable the same, automations will set a standard System of Planning with regular status updates on milestone achievements. These automations could be driven by Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and even the erstwhile Port Community System. A port community system through its predictive capabilities ensures the required information is fed to the crew members to act upon. Precisely, these technologies will enable agile, safe and secure vaccine transit facilities in the ocean cargo space.

Open Access Information & Data Platform
With the involvement of various government authorities and private players, transparency in transit operations is highly essential. A unified single window system with a facility to enable Electronic Data Interchange on milestone completion will be mandatory. This will set a predictive capability for the next stakeholder in line with proper resource gathering and be ready to complete the upcoming functions in an agile manner. To ensure the same, an open access environment with a robust data platform powered by AI/ML is mandatory.

Digital Traffic Routing for Trucks
Post the delivery of cargo at the port, the vaccine shipment will be delivered at the nearest healthcare facility. But as said, rapid transportation is mandatory if the Vaccine requires immediate cold storage in a clinical environment. Here the truck drivers are powered by AI/ML to choose the best route possible to quickly transport the cargo. Well, in turn this will enable them to form a robust supply chain network to distribute vaccine shipments on time at the respective clinical facilities.
Added to Blockchain and AI/ML, various other technologies such as 5G and Digital Freight Corridors can be well utilized as it helps stakeholders to study demand growth in a specific geography. Also, Digital Clock Towers come handy in supporting these initiatives with an AI powered centralized control systems that are enabled with cognitive capabilities. Well, the new normal is all set to be digital and the world is ready for pre-dominant digital cross-border trade.
-Written by

Mr. Umesh Kurlekar, Senior Consultant for Ocean Cargo

Umesh Kurlekar brings with him more than 20 years of experience from port operations and shipping lines. He spearheads the CODEX – Port Community System (PCS) development for global markets. Executed under his leadership, CODEX has been recognized by esteemed institutions like the United Nations, Asian Development Bank and CII for its innovation in Trade Facilitation.

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