Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Economy

Air freight prices ‘outrageous’ as COVID-19 shots rolled out, says WHO expert

Christmas demand “exaggerates the problem” of soaring cargo rates, which should ease early next year in time for the ramp-up in vaccine shipments.

GENEVA — Some carriers are seeking “outrageous” prices to fly dry ice and other medical equipment in the pre-holiday rush, but a capacity squeeze should ease in 2021 when the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is expected, the logistics chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Distribution of vaccines to low- and middle-income countries will be tricky, due to grounded passenger air services in some places, and may rely on charters, Paul Molinaro, WHO chief of operations support and logistics, told Reuters.

Price inflation has been a growing feature in air freight, with “across the board increases especially since November,” Mr. Molinaro said.

He cited a price quote just received for a dry ice shipment, needed to cool some lab re-agents, which is around 20 times the norm.

“I just had a quote from a cargo (company)—a big one that shall remain nameless—Dallas (Texas) USA to Sierra Leone, Freetown—at sort of $105 a kilo, which is outrageous actually,” he said. The “normal price” would be $4–$6 per kilo, he said.

Mr. Molinaro said a range of factors had driven prices, including a greater than usual pre-Christmas increase in e-commerce as lockdowns keep people at home.

“So we have air freight rates coming out of China going up because of the introduction of the new iPhone, because of the introduction of Play Station 5, and because of the fact that products are in high demand anyway,” he said.

By January, available capacity might increase, he added.

Airline body IATA’s chief economist Brian Pearce told reporters on Tuesday that Christmas demand “exaggerates the problem” of soaring cargo rates, which should ease early next year in time for the ramp-up in vaccine shipments. “That’s the low season for the cargo business—that will free up a lot of capacity,” he said.

HOTSPOTS AND SANCTIONS
The WHO hopes to have half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution by the global COVAX initiative in the first quarter of 2021, its chief scientist said on Friday.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is taking the lead on delivering COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, says it spent $35–$40 million on international vaccine freight in pre-crisis 2019 when it procured 2.43 billion doses for immunization campaigns against polio and other diseases.

Since then, prices have gone “through the roof,” the agency’s transport chief Pablo Panadero said. But UNICEF is negotiating lower rates with airlines for the airlift.

WHO may help arrange delivery of COVAX vaccine supplies to hotspots such as Somalia or Yemen or to sanctions-hit Iran or North Korea, Mr. Molinaro said.

“It will be areas where it is not necessarily straightforward using the regular passenger/cargo network,” he said.

“Syringes will be sea freight, you wouldn’t have air capacity to move that, no way,” he said.

The WHO is providing technical guidance to all countries on cold chain issues, Mr. Molinaro said, noting that the Pfizer vaccine requires storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

“We are still in a period with a lot of fog and crystal-ball kind of gazing, which obviously doesn’t make this easier.

“There may be a breakthrough vaccine that comes out, big production, 2–8 degrees, and that changes the game,” he said. — Stephanie Nebehay/Reuters

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Economy

THE PESO strengthened against the dollar on Tuesday amid easing global oil prices and ahead of an expected increase in remittances due to the...

Economy

PHILIPPINE STOCKS extended their climb on Tuesday on last-minute bargain-hunting and ahead of the rebalancing of the MSCI. The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index...

Economy

THE government financial institutions (GFIs) that will be tapped to provide capital and help manage a P250-billion sovereign wealth fund have disclosed their proposed...

Economy

THE European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) urged the Philippines to eliminate tariffs on imports of all electric vehicles (EVs) regardless of...

Economy

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is expected to sign an executive order (EO) that will fast-track applications for investments deemed strategic to the economy,...

Economy

AN Israeli tech investor said a country’s legal system is a major consideration in attracting foreign investment, and urged legislators to reform the tax...

You May Also Like

Investing

The minute that any question pops into your head, you can simply ask Google. No longer do we have to pour over books and...

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Investing

Browsing history makes referring to sites and pages you’ve visited in the past seamless. It’ll help you recall what page you checked out on...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.