Logistics and trucking companies like Titan Transline never expected that they will provide temperature-controlled services for the distribution of a vaccine. Normally, temperature-controlled transport is used for perishables and pharmaceuticals to maintain the quality and reliability of the products. They also provide accurate tracking and real-time reporting throughout the entire shipping process.

Meanwhile, Joern Schneemann thought that he would be managing logistics for the 2020 Olympics that will be held in Tokyo, Japan; however, the coronavirus pandemic intervened and the event was postponed for 2021. Instead of setting up event centers, the Swiss logistics company that he headed has been setting up vaccination centers in convention and sporting venues in North Rhine-Westphalia state in Germany.

This transformation shows how logistics companies can turn the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic into an opportunity. Schneemann was able to grab a share of the expanding pandemic economy and at the same time manage the record demand from traditional businesses. Instead of things turning out for the worse, everything turned out well.

The logistics company was able to secure undisclosed government contracts where they will manage the rollout of millions of doses of vaccine from Pfizer and German’s partner BioNTech. Deliveries have to be coordinated with 53 sites that will be filled with temperature-controlled containers that can handle the vaccine’s storage requirement of -70 Celsius. According to Schneemann, the temperature will be electronically controlled and recorded during the vaccine’s journey.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Post DHL was able to secure similar contracts in Lower Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg states for the storage and delivery of the first tranche of 300 million doses that Germany has ordered. John Pearson of DHL said that this task is more urgent and complex but they are experienced in handling the deliveries.

Billions of doses of the vaccine will be transported across the world in the next 12 or 24 months but they will only take up a fraction of the global shipper’s volume in 2021. Logistics networks are optimistic that they can handle the task in spite of major challenges and the growing demand for the vaccine. Vaccine delivery is expected to give airlines a boost as they augment cargo fleets.