Abu Dhabi has set its sights on Belgium, as a leading global pharmaceutical hub, to establish a global distribution corridor to serve the world in vaccine delivery and future life science needs. The collaboration builds on the capabilities of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector as a leading life sciences hub and the efforts of the HOPE Consortium in providing vaccine solutions for the world.
This initiative entailed a delegation visit from Belgium to Abu Dhabi, hosted by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH). The visit saw the signing of two declarations of collaboration between Belgium and Abu Dhabi, witnessed by Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of DoH and Peter CLAES, ambassador of Belgium in the UAE.
The first agreement was between the HOPE Consortium, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), Brussels Airport Company and Pharma.Aero. Led by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the regulator of the healthcare sector in the emirate, the collaboration aims to establish a fully compliant origin-to-destination pharma air corridor between Abu Dhabi and Brussels Airports. The dedicated pharma trade lane will unite key compliant and sector certified supply chain stakeholders, including forwarders and ground handling agents.
“Our goal is to enhance Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a world-class pharma logistics hub and a destination focused on global welfare by investing in strategic public and private sector collaborations, and the allocation of expertise and resources,” commented Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the department of health – Abu Dhabi.
Earlier this year, a delegation from the HOPE Consortium met with pharmaceutical industry stakeholders in Brussels to showcase Abu Dhabi’s global vaccine distribution success. Thanks to its network of partners, the HOPE Consortium has handled over 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, contributing to vaccination programmes in over 40 global destinations.
Western Europe currently ranks as the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical export market with a total export value of nearly EUR 42 billion in 2020. “Brussels Airport is the leading hub serving the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry in Europe with over 750 million vaccines handled at the airport, serving 60 destinations worldwide,” said Nathan De Valck, head of cargo at Brussels Airport.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, chairman of the HOPE Consortium Executive Committee and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, added that the proactive sharing of knowledge and expertise among stakeholders remains vital to the partnership’s ongoing success.
“The HOPE Consortium is pleased to collaborate in the development of a fully compliant origin-to-destination pharma air corridor between Abu Dhabi and Belgium. This milestone agreement will help strengthen our mutual relationship and allow us to achieve our government’s vision of establishing our emirate as a life sciences hub serving the region and the world. We are also pleased to collaborate with Antwerp University, Khalifa University, and Pharma.Aero in supporting the Masterclass taking place next year. Academic excellence is an important element in this journey, and we look forward to showcasing our strategic capabilities and sharing our learnings gained through developing what is one of the most complete end-to-end pharma supply chains in the world.”
The development of the dedicated Pharma Air Corridor will leverage API-IoT devices-webforms-internet shared with all relevant stakeholders to monitor pharma shipments closely.
“Our relationship with Etihad Cargo and the HOPE Consortium sharing best practices makes us confident that the corridor will promote commitment for transparency with customers and stakeholders,” said Nathan De Valck who also serves as Chairman of Pharma.Aero.
The other declaration of collaboration was signed by the HOPE Consortium, Pharma.Aero, Khalifa University of Science and Technology and the University of Antwerp to host the second edition of the “Pharma Logistics Masterclass”, a course focused on critical challenges and developments in pharma supply chains and logistics, by Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi from 5th to 9th September 2022.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice president, Khalifa University, said: “We are pleased to bring the next Pharma.Aero Logistics Masterclass to Abu Dhabi in September 2022, in collaboration with our partners. Khalifa University has the necessary expertise, especially through our Digital Supply Chain and Operations Management (DSOM) research centre, which provides real-world, cutting edge work on the digital transactions, management, and optimisation in multiple domains such as maritime logistics, production lines, and healthcare delivery systems. We believe the Masterclass in Abu Dhabi will further affirm our strong commitment to delivering top quality academic and professional programmes that benefit students and youth interested in charting their future career in this area.”
“We are excited to bring the second Masterclass to Abu Dhabi. The HOPE Consortium partners and Khalifa University have extended great support and offer a unique platform to be shared with the participants of the next Masterclass,” said Prof. Dr. Roel Gevaers, University of Antwerp and Chair of the organizing Committee.
Frank Van Gelder, secretary general of Pharma.Aero and co-chair of the “Pharma Logistics Masterclass”, continues: “Pharma.Aero’s vision and mission underline fostering collaboration. By continuously giving insights and sharing the latest changes between pharmaceutical companies, industry stakeholders and the academic world, the overall knowledge and the quality of the pharma and MedTec supply chain improves. Bringing the 2nd edition of the masterclass to Abu Dhabi and bringing academics and business again together, contributes significantly in achieving this vision.”
The agreement was welcomed by Dr. Ghalia Ali Al Humaidan, Chargé d’affaires of the UAE Mission to Belgium, who said: “The strategic ties between the UAE and Belgium are vital in supporting trade routes between the Middle East and Europe. This commitment further expands the effectiveness of a collaborative approach to addressing pharmaceutical demand flows between the two regions.”
Peter Claes, Belgium’s Ambassador to the UAE, added: “Abu Dhabi has developed into a world hub for the distribution of pharmaceuticals. The emirate has done so in close cooperation and synergy with Brussels Airport. I am therefore pleased to know that at the invitation of Pharma.Aero and its partners, distinguished executives of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Etihad and Rafed participated in the 1st International Masterclass on Pharma Logistics, held in Antwerp in September.”