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Aviation workers essential for COVID-19 vaccine

Bernita Marais

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has renewed the call on government to ensure employees within the aviation sector be considered as essential workers during the impending Covid-19 vaccine campaign.

This call on government for the aviation industry and the need for its workers to be considered as essential when the vaccine is rolled out across the globe and that they will play a vital role in the distribution thereof. The transportation of the Covid-19 vaccines has already begun, and calculations show, it will require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighter aircraft for global distribution.  It is therefore essential that the qualified workforce is in place to ensure a functioning logistics chain.

Given the strict security provisions at airports, and the fact that many of the functions rendered by aviation logistic companies require specialized employees, it extremely difficult to find replacement labour within this field.  The IATA’s call has been aligned with the Roadmap for Prioritising Uses of Covid-19 Vaccines by the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (Sage).

The AGM has also reiterated the vital role of air transport in facilitating the global response to the pandemic, including the timely distribution of medicines, testing kits, protective equipment and eventually vaccines.

Logistics

Minus 70°C Cold Supply Chain Needed to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine

Helen Colam

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Pfizer South Africa is busy developing a vaccine for the Coronavirus that is still having a devastating impact around the world. They are in-fact a long way down the road with the vaccine. It was reported on the 18th of November that they were days away from requesting FDA approval.

This is good news but a new challenge is on the horizon for many countries. Storing and transporting the vaccine at the correct temperature is essential for it to be effective. The problem is that routine vaccines normally need to be stored at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C. The Coronavirus vaccine has to be stored at minus 70°C.

South Africa and other African countries do not have the cold chain system in place to store and transport these vaccines at these extremely cold temperatures. The challenge with African countries is reaching the rural hospitals and clinics and the cost associated with this. South Africa cannot afford to purchase the equipment necessary to put the correct cold chain system in place.

As a result, Pfizer/BioNTech is considering vaccines in the form of frozen powders that a liquid can be added to. These freeze-dried vaccines can be stored at the temperatures South Africa is already prepared for.

However, the United Nations has three goals in place and their third goal is for good health and well-being for all people. They are calling for World Leaders to act together to ensure that all countries have the opportunity to provide vaccines for all their citizens.

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Logistics

World Net Logistics Officially Becomes Known as Rhenus Logistics South Africa.

SCN Africa

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The distinctive Rhenus logo and corporate identity is replacing the World Net Logistics branding, reflecting its strengthened positioning as part of the global organisation. “We are excited to be fully integrated and a part of the Rhenus Group – with its ‘One Group – One Brand – One Rhenus’ philosophy,” says Dirk Goedhart, Chief Executive Officer of World Net Logistics (now Rhenus Logistics South Africa). “It brings about new opportunities to leverage off the global Rhenus network, giving our clients even greater value and enabling us to pursue our growth strategy.”

The integration of World Net Logistics has been phased in since its acquisition by Rhenus in 2019. “Because of our shared values, similar vision and mission, aligned strategies, and the group’s decentralised structure, the transition from World Net Logistics to Rhenus Logistics South Africa has been seamless,” adds Goedhart. “With the exception of the name change, new logo and new corporate identify, it is still very much business as usual – only better.”

“We continue to focus on our core differentiators, but with the added benefits of a truly global brand,” continues Goedhart. “Our full supply chain services, which include flexible and reliable last mile deliveries in South Africa through Rhenus Express, is an advantage for all our customers.”

With a history spanning more than 100 years, Rhenus is a growing company that is committed to strengthening its international network.

“The establishment of operations in Southern Africa marks an important step for the group in building a footprint in Africa, linking the continent to the global Rhenus network,” says Tobias Bartz, a member of the Rhenus board.

“The formation of Rhenus Logistics South Africa is a vital development for our business, opening up new service offerings for clients,” concludes Bartz. “It also provides an excellent mechanism through which we aim to grow our market share over the next years. We are delighted to be ending off 2020 in an even stronger position.”

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Transport

Ethiopian Airways Survives Through 2020

Helen Colam

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Over the past few years, South African Airways and Kenya Airways have been on the decline and seeking government funding while Ethiopian airlines have been on the rise.

Prior to the pandemic, Ethiopian airlines was the largest air passenger carrier in Africa. Up until the pandemic the airline had been moving towards dominating aviation throughout Africa by investing in different African airlines and has been considering investing in the beleaguered South African Airways.

With their base in Addis Ababa, they are ideally positioned to be an aviation hub with routes to North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and around Africa.

The Ethiopian government has also contributed to the huge success of the airline by regulating and limiting other carriers from landing at the Addis Ababa airport and from flying to other domestic locations within the country.

While the airline is a state-owned enterprise, it is because it is managed and run like any other commercial enterprise that has attributed to its success. This coupled with its proficient leadership and skilled staff has meant that the airline has reached its planned 2025 goals in as early as 2018.

The pandemic caused the airline to lose half a billion dollars in April. Despite this, the enterprise stayed afloat and didn’t default on any payments. They survived the pandemic without any need of government intervention, on the funding side, and any job losses.

How has the airline done this? Due to the Coronavirus, lockdown and the fact that there were no passenger flights, Ethiopian airlines cleverly decided to focus on their freight cargo deliveries. The airline delivers all types of cargo (fresh produce, medications and PPE amongst many others) internationally and across the African continent.

The passenger seats, in twenty-five of the airlines 777 passenger aircraft, were stripped out to allow for more cargo capacity.

The airline also focused on repatriation flights and has been the airline governments have chosen to transport passengers back home. They were the only airline to carry on with flights into China despite the increase in patient cases on the mainland.

Ethiopian Airlines has demonstrated how an enterprise can survive in extremely difficult times through forethought, dedication and planning.

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