Telematics to the fore in vaccine transport

Telematics to the fore in vaccine transport

The importance of tracking and telematics has long been recognised in the transport industry. But, when it comes to transporting lifesaving Covid vaccines, tracking and telematics are utterly essential.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has unveiled the BharatBenz BSafe Express, a specialised refrigerated truck specifically designed for the safe transportation of Covid-19 vaccines. Equipped with state-of-the-art connectivity, the BSafe Express uses newly developed refrigeration units that ensure that the temperature and stability of the vaccines are accurately monitored and maintained at all stages of delivery. The reefer is mounted on the BharatBenz 2823R heavy-duty chassis.

Satyakam Arya, managing director and CEO of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles believes that the combination of a strong, reliable chassis with a lightweight, insulated reefer and state-of-the-art connectivity device makes BharatBenz’s BSafe Express the perfect solution to India’s cold-chain infrastructure challenge. “With this truck, we can deliver vaccines in perfect condition to even the most remote destinations, bringing the hope of a return to normalcy to over 1,3 billion people,” he tells FOCUS.

India recently started its vaccination campaign, and the country aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July 2021. But transporting the vaccines isn’t without its challenges …

Vaccine wastage likely

One Nucleus, a not-for-profit life sciences & healthcare membership organisation, warns that transporting temperature-sensitive vaccines is an unprecedented task.

“With both the World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association stating that the likely vaccine wastage through poor temperature control is around 25% per year, logistics failures in the Covid-19 cold chain could be costly,” it warns.

According to One Nucleus, logistics partners must be capable of developing comprehensive contingency measures, ensuring cold chains can be preserved through rapid coolant replenishment, at any given location and time. Or swiftly transporting vaccines to certified temperature-controlled storage facilities to manage any transit delays.

“Estimating quantities of vaccine, dimensions of materials, customs requirements and external temperatures at all points during the journey is an exhaustive process. It requires not only a comprehensive understanding of logistics but also expertise in vaccine stability,” it notes.

Tracking vital

It also requires top-notch vehicle tracking and telematics – which is precisely what the BSafe Express offers.

The refrigerated container was supplied by automotive system solutions provider Motherson Group. It is made from glass-reinforced plastic, XPS foam, and other carefully chosen materials that ensure the product is strong, water-resistant, and non-corrosive, yet lightweight and highly insulated. The container can be assembled locally in as little as 96 hours, making it a much more practical solution than conventional products, which can take three or more weeks to deliver.

With purpose-built Internet of things (IoT) sensors integrated inside the container, fleet managers can monitor temperature, humidity, shock, tilt and any potential tampering. They can also adjust the temperature as required and sound the alarm if a problem occurs.

This further integrates with QR Code tracking of all stock on board, so that transport managers can check the location, status and history of each package. Paired with BharatBenz’s Truckonnect telematics platform, the BSafe Express offers vaccine distributors peace of mind with real-time tracking of both the vehicle and its precious cargo.

DICV and Motherson plan to launch an app that the various logistics parties involved can use to track the vehicle and the relevant data in real time.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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