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China Airlines Targets Vaccine Transport and Sees Doubling in its Cold Chain Logistics Business

2021 Aug 16

Leveraging its CEIV Pharma certification and years of freight transport experience, China Airlines carried out multiple missions transporting vaccines purchased by Taiwan. China Airlines also successfully bid for vaccine transshipments and transshipped multiple COVID-19 shipments recently. Growing global demand for cargo services saw the cold chain logistics business double in size. The number of temperature-controlled containers transported by China Airlines between January and July this year grew by 220% year-on-year and the outlook continues to be positive.

As one of the leading cargo carriers in the world, China Airlines was also the first carrier in Taiwan to obtain CEIV Pharma certification for pharmaceutical cold chain logistics. Internationally recognized, China Airline’s cargo team was chosen to transport the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines from Luxembourg, Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Bangkok (Thailand), Memphis (USA) and other locations back to Taiwan. China Airlines extensive network was also used to transship vaccines purchased by other countries to their final destinations via Taiwan, with a number of vaccine shipments already transshipped to other Asian countries. China Airlines continues to play a central role in the international distribution of vaccines and the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

China Airlines Cargo Climbs to Global 5th Place

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics, China Airlines has maintained its lead in international air cargo, with cargo volumes continuing to grow. In 2020, China Airlines climbed into the world’s top 5 carriers by air cargo volume, carrying 1.55 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of 12.8% compared to that of 2019. In terms of Freight Tonne-Kilometer (FRTK), China Airlines carried 6,317 million freight tonne-kilometers in 2020, up 18.4% from the previous year. It was ranked 10th in the world and saw the most growth in cargo volume out of all the top 10 carriers. A fleet of 21 freighter aircraft including 3 newly introduced 777 freighters and 18 existing 747 freighters helped China Airlines strengthen its competitive edge in air cargo industry.

The China Airlines Cargo network stretches all over the world with stations in major European, North American, Asian and Oceanian cities. All station personnel and agents at related airports worldwide must undergo regular training on the handling of temperature-controlled cargo. With years of experience handling low-temperature cold chain logistics, China Airlines Cargo personnel strive to ensure a smooth transition between each phase of delivery so that special vaccines or drugs stay in a safe and stable temperature environment. The temperature required for pharmaceuticals at every stage of the cold chain is also closely monitored. Temperature-controlled containers follow the last-in, first-out principle during loading, unloading and warehouse check-in. The cargo hold is temperature-controlled throughout the flight to provide a stable, safe and impeccable transport environment. Every effort is made to ensure that vaccines or drugs are delivered to their destination in the best possible condition.

In the second half of the year, China Airlines will continue to focus on its Cargo business. The 21 freighters along with the belly holds of passenger aircraft will be used to carry mail and packages. Particular emphasis will be placed on the demand for express freight, additional freighter services, and charter requirements. The European, North American and Australian markets will soon enter their traditional peak season. As Western countries begin easing their lockdown restrictions and introducing new economic stimulus plans, the demand-side is very favorable and the change from ground to sea freight is still gathering momentum. Price for air cargo should therefore remain high. Despite the serious challenges posed by the pandemic, the business outlook for the second half of the year continues to remain very positive.