Alibaba and Ethiopian Airways launch chilly chain for export of China's COVID vaccines


China has pledged to share its COVID-19 vaccines with other countries, especially those with which it has close ties. While the country is unwilling to use its vaccines internationally, it is preparing the infrastructure for mass distribution.

This week, Alibaba's logistics division, Cainiao, announced that it has partnered with Ethiopian Airlines to introduce a cold chain that will allow temperature-sensitive medicines to be shipped from China to the rest of the world. Air freight starts in Shenzhen The airport, which, according to Alibaba, houses China's first cross-border medical cold chain twice a week, leads to countries via Dubai and Addis Ababa.

"Once the vaccines are ready, we can ship them," a Cainiao spokesman told TechCrunch.

Shenzhen is the home base of SF Express, another large logistics company in China that has also worked on the storage and shipping of vaccines.

The route is operated by Cainiao, which operates in over 200 countries and regions. It is certified by the International Air Transport Association Flying Covid-19 vaccines that usually need to be stored at low temperatures. For example, the cabins will contain temperature-controlled monitors, and the freight terminal in Ethiopia has facilities that can be set between -23 ° C and 25 ° C or -9.4 ° F and 77 ° F.

"The introduction of cold chain air freight has further strengthened our global logistics capabilities and enabled us to offer a complete solution for the global distribution of medical devices such as COVID-19 vaccines," said James Zhao, general manager of Cainiao & # 39; s international supply chain unit .

China is a major exporter of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the country's logistics giants, from Cainiao to SF Express, promptly put programs in place specifically for shipping medical supplies.