VACCINE TRANSPORT
Commercial Vehicle|February 2021
The Covid pandemic has thrown open a new vaccine transportation opportunity.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) made news with its ‘BSafe Express’ Covid vaccine van based on its 2823R truck chassis recently. It cooperated with Motherson Sumi Group to develop the vehicle. A Mahindra CV dealer in the Mumbai region, Randhawa Motors, took to the social media not much after to announce that it has supplied five vaccine vans based on the Jayo LCV to the Maharashtra Health Department. With two million shots distributed across the country as of January 25, 2021, the enormity of the exercise, the growing hesitation among the population of 136.64 crore not withstanding, should be evident at once in terms of logistics. With road transportation looking like the most promising way to get the Covidvaccines to every nook and corner of the vast country under controlled conditions and quickly, a new transport segment seems to be on the rise. Like e-commerce, it is a segment that promises big, but would it stay that way for long? Would railways soon overtake road transportation with special refrigerated wagons? If not, then would road transport get to complement airways and railways in what looks like a sizeable opportunity? And, in which case, what about the purpose-built assets (reefer trucks) that would have to be created? Many questions need to be answered. Especially in the wake of the rising reluctance and the queries that are being raised.

Considering the government plan to contact all available cold chain and warehouse operators for the distribution of vaccines under Centre’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), the Indian logistics sector, estimated to be worth USD 215 billion, seems to be on the cusp of a sizeable growth opportunity. An opportunity to further elevate its growth, which is pegged at a CAGR of 10.5 per cent. Adding another jewel in its crown by contributing to the development of an efficient vaccine transportation system, the Indian logistics sector, like the e-commerce segment, could have another segment to look at for a faster growth opportunity at least until it exists. And, considering the transportation of around 1.1 crore Covishield vaccines throughout India in Phase-one, it could not be an opportunity to waste for certain. In fact, the advantage that road transport could offer to carry vaccine vials across thousands of kilometers, into every city, town and village of the populous and fast modernising country could out perform any other transportation medium envisaged. Not unless, the Government pushes for a drone service!

A SIZEABLE OPPORTUNITY

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