Mumbai, India, Jan 05, 2021.
Thermo King, by Trane Technologies (NYSE: TT), a global climate innovator, has launched its expanded portfolio of cold chain solutions in India, which can keep vaccines at temperatures from a range of +25 degrees Celsius to as low as -70 degrees Celsius. The company’s advanced cold chain technologies will help address the unique challenges of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in India, whose large population is spread across vast and varied geographies, from densely populated cities to far-flung rural communities.
“Safety and reliability of the cold chain is critical to meeting the urgent need for everyone to have access to vaccines,” said Allen Ge, president of Trane Technologies in Asia Pacific. “Our recently launched SuperFreezers were initially developed to flash-freeze high-end seafood. Our teams quickly adapted and developed a good solution for COVID-19 vaccines transport, which require ultra-cold temperatures to prevent degradation. We’re proud to support this historic effort in India and around the world with our technologies and cold chain expertise.”
COVID-19 vaccine distribution is expected to start in India in the coming weeks, following the central government’s announcement of guidelines for states and Union territories for distribution of vaccines once they become available.
The first approved COVID-19 vaccines must be kept at deep-frozen temperatures down to -70 degrees Celsius, and will be shipped in dry ice. A container using dry ice may require re-icing if it sits for an extended length of time, such as during a long haul or on the airport tarmac, or if the contents are exposed to ambient temperatures during transfers. Thermo King’s refrigerated solutions can extend the life of dry ice or even eliminate the need for it.
Now, Thermo King products are being used by transport companies such as FedEx and UPS which are directly involved in the transport and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine in US.
As more COVID-19 vaccines are approved, they will have different temperature requirements – some will need very low temperatures, while others will require typical refrigerated conditions. Thermo King stands ready to meet all these requirements with technologies to maintain and monitor temperatures across climate conditions, temperature needs, and modes of transportation – air transport, marine, rail, trailer, last-mile delivery.
Temperature control plays a critical role in safeguarding a vaccine. If there is a break in the cold chain, and a temperature-sensitive product like vaccine falls outside of the required temperature range, the result could be the loss of an entire load of high-value, life-saving medicine.
Safeguarding against breakdowns in the cold chain can quickly become a very complex operation from a logistics standpoint. And this is made even more complex when you consider the circumstances around a COVID-19 vaccine. Imagine devising a logistics plan to deliver more than 1.3 billion vaccines across the Indian sub-continent as fast as possible, not knowing exactly where the manufacturing points will be, the volume of doses, or how cold the vaccine will need to be kept.
And this isn’t the cold chain as we know. Aside from the stress caused from the vast number of vaccines that need to be distributed, we also need to plan for non-traditional delivery points, such as mobile clinics, which will require precise temperature control and safeguards in all modes of transport and storage. Reliable and temperature-controlled equipment that provides security, traceability and temperature monitoring is more critical than ever.
Thermo King’s end-to-end transport and storage solutions are flexible and able to scale up and down based on demand. Particularly, when ultra-low temperatures is needed, the SuperFreezers can provide transport and storage capability with an ultra-low set point of -70C and can store up to 60 times more doses compared to traditional reach-in freezers in use today.
“We are actively engaging with third-party logistics companies, policymakers, regulators and other industry partners to find ways to strengthen the vaccine cold chain,” said Kishor Patil, Trane Technologies HVAC & Transport, India & SAARC Country leader. “We will use our global expertise to address the complexities and challenges of getting these life-saving vaccines to people across India, as we are doing in other regions around the world.”
Thermo King works with a global network of nearly 900 dealers and partners, and around 60 dealers and partners in India, to ensure end-to-end temperature control solutions for food, medicines, vaccines and other perishable cargo. Along with SuperFreezers, its portfolio includes road transport solutions (truck & trailers), air transport solutions, marine transport solutions, containers and portable cubes that can easily be scaled and repositioned to different locations as demand changes.