DHL take on Lower Saxony vaccine logistics

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The state of Lower Saxony is one of the first German federal states to commission DHL Supply Chain, market leader in contract logistics and part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, to store and transport the new COVID-19 vaccines. DHL will store around 2.2 million vaccine doses and about 350 pallets of vaccination equipment for the federal state of Lower Saxony at two of its more than 140 certified Life Science Health Care locations. From there, DHL will transport the vaccine to the vaccination centres and hospitals across the state.

“A specialty of this contract is that the new mRNA vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer has to be stored at extremely low temperatures. Storage and distribution at -70 degrees Celsius present a challenge. Only a handful of logistics companies possess the cooling and transport capacity to accommodate such low temperature range. But in anticipation, we have invested early on to expand our deep freezer farms and cold storage facilities. This first contract with a German state government, to manage COVID-19 vaccines logistics in the State of Lower Saxony, highlights the decisive role that Deutsche Post DHL Group will play in fighting the Corona pandemic,” commented Oscar de Bok, CEO DHL Supply Chain and member of the board of management at Deutsche Post DHL Group.

DHL Supply Chain will store the vaccines and vaccination equipment for the state of Lower Saxony at two separate locations. Here, the vaccine doses will be picked and prepared for transport. It is also planned to store vaccine doses in different temperature ranges. In addition to capacities for the storage of mRNA vaccines, which need to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, cooling capacities are also provided for vaccine doses, which are stored at -20 degrees or at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

“The preparations for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations represent a huge organisational challenge on many different levels.  Therefore I’m delighted that the state government of Lower Saxony has signed a contract with DHL Supply Chain to put the entire vaccine logistics on a reliable and professional base. The logistics are thus prepared. DHL will store both the vaccine supplies and the vaccines on our behalf and ensure that vaccination centers and hospitals across the state are supplied with the vaccines,” added Dr. Carola Reimann (SPD), minister of health of the state of Lower Saxony.

Based on its federal structure, responsibility for vaccination management in Germany sits with the 16 individual states. The State of Lower Saxony is one of the first German states to cooperate with a private logistics provider to manage the COVID-19 vaccine logistics. Dr. Karsten Schwarz, CEO DHL Supply Chain Germany & Alps added: “DHL Supply Chain is also preparing to supply other German states, with negotiations around the transport and storage of COVID-19 vaccines nearing completion.”