Qatar Airways Cargo has moved close to 30m COVID-19 vaccines to destinations across its network, including Africa, Middle East, Americas, Europe and Asia.
The Middle East carrier expects to move further consignments after the COVID-19 vaccine export restriction was lifted by the Indian Government late last year.
When Qatar Airways Cargo launched its pharma product in January 2014, India was one of the first markets to offer it.
The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third largest in terms of volume, and the country caters to around 60% of global vaccine demand.
The airline has since grown to become one of the Indian subcontinent’s leading cargo carriers.
Today, with a pharmaceuticals market share of almost 18% in India, almost every fifth pharma shipment leaves the country on a Qatar Airways Cargo aircraft.
“The Indian pharma market is very important for Qatar Airways Cargo,” said Ehab Matta, senior manager regional cargo Indian subcontinent, Middle East & Pakistan – Qatar Airways.
“We work closely with major vaccine manufacturers in India through our global partnerships with international as well as leading local freight forwarders.”
Close collaboration with customers led to Hyderabad (HYD) becoming the first station in the Qatar Airways Cargo network, to deploy Envirotainer’s new Releye RLP containers as soon as they had been approved for carriage on Qatar Airways aircraft.
Hyderabad also holds the national record for the most active pharma containers on one flight, having moved 11 ULDs.
Hyderabad, home to over 2,500 of the country’s 3,000 pharma companies and 10,500 manufacturing units, is India’s main pharma export station. Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai also play important roles given the widespread pharma production facilities across India.
“India produces and exports both conventional vaccines as well as COVID-19 vaccines,” said Matta, adding: “Ten COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in India, whilst Indian manufactured vaccines are approved in over 138 countries globally.
“We have moved close to 30m COVID-19 vaccines to date to several destinations across our network including Africa, Middle East, Americas, Europe and Asia. We expect to move more since the COVID-19 vaccine export restriction was lifted by the Indian Government late last year.
“Our participation in the UNHCR vaccine programme, through Kuehne and Nagel, is a good testimony to our commitment.”
The increasing involvement of both India and Qatar Airways Cargo in supporting healthcare with charters and transporting all kinds of aid, relief material, and vaccines, led to the airline recruiting Sunita Sanghvi as regional cargo sales manager – Products.
Sanghvi, who joined the airline in Mumbai in March this year, is responsible for its pharma product development across India and rest of the subcontinent.
He will work closely with the regional sales teams, customers, and partners, to provide dedicated focus, enhanced and tailor-made solutions in the face of increasing pharma demand.
Matta stated: “Having said that, most of our teams across all Indian stations are trained in our pharma product and are well versed with commercial and operational requirements as well as specific customer needs.
“It could be said that our largest pool of pharma experts is based in India,” while pointing out that the Indian teams are supported by the central product management team based at the Doha head office.