Saturday, November 21, 2020

Chennai airport readies to receive Covid-19 vaccine consignment

Chennai: The city airport is gearing up to receive Covid-19 vaccine consignments which are set to be transported across the country through major airports.

Being a gateway airport, Chennai will get consignments of Pfizer vaccine and Airports Authority of India (AAI), which is already equipped to handle pharma consignments, may be fine-tuning its facilities or cargo handling procedures based on inputs from the headquarters.

An AAI official said: “The cargo terminal is equipped to handle the vaccine consignments. We have temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers with different temperature settings for handling pharma products.”

The terminal has chambers for storing or handling products at -15 ºC to -30ºC, 2ºC to 8ºC, 8ºC to 15ºC, 8ºC to 12ºC. Most of these are used for pharma products.

A new facility was also opened recently as part of enhancing the infrastructure as the number of pharma consignments increased during the lockdown period.

However, when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, the airport is likely to clear the load faster because Pfizer says that it may require a -70ºC temperature zone.

“A procedure that needs to be followed is likely to be issued from Delhi, most probably to clear the consignment and load it from the plane to the refrigerator trucks at the parking bay itself or set up separate low temperature chambers,” said an official.

This means the time taken to unload it into the refrigerator containers and then move it to the terminal for clearance and then loading it into the trucks can be saved, he said. In all probability, refrigerator trucks can be called in when a consignment lands so that it can be driven out soon after unloading from the planes.

21/11/20 Times of India

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