Will we really need 8,000 jumbo jets to transport COVID vaccines?

It has been widely reported that the world will need 8,000 dedicated 747 jumbo jets to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone.

That’s the figure the International Air Transport Association gave last month. DHL Express and McKinsey, meanwhile, estimate that 15,000 freighters will be needed to deliver 10 billion doses over two years.

The reality is, no one really knows how many aircraft it will take. There are so many variables to be determined that it’s difficult to define what the vaccine supply chain will look like.

Multiple drugmakers are racing to produce a vaccine, and each has different levels of temperature sensitivity, with some ultra-cold versions requiring storage at minus 80 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). Some will require one dose, others two. Manufacturers will have different factories, handling requirements and shipping routes.

And not all vaccines will need to be flown to hospitals and other dispensing locations. Much of it will go by truck, with production sites expected to be located in many regions of the world.

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Source: American Shipper

CSX looking to take advantage of tight truck capacity

With precision scheduled railroading firmly in place after nearly four years, CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) is seeking to gain more market share through short-term and long-term opportunities, in part because of how the railroad addressed capacity needs in the third quarter.

“If you’d had this kind of traffic surge across the rail network in North America four, five years ago, we would be now talking about gridlock across all the major cities in the country and we wouldn’t be doing anything,” said CSX President and CEO Jim Foote during his company’s third-quarter earnings call late Wednesday. Foote was referring to the fast pace of the recovery in North American rail volumes in the third quarter following a COVID-19 pandemic-induced volume trough in April and May.

But “now with the common mindset of how you run a railroad, we were able to respond. We’re able to pivot. We are nimble. We can add capacity, we could shrink capacity. We can rightsize our business and we can do that much more effectively and much more logically and thoughtfully,” he said.

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Source: Freight Waves

Port Houston optimistic volume rebound underway

Port Houston said that in September it saw the “first turn toward growth” since coronavirus-caused volume blows began in March.

The Texas port handled 254,405 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in September, 1% more than September 2019. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, Port Houston moved 2,165,581 TEUs, just 3% less than the 2,232,036 TEUs during the first nine months of 2019.

“September volumes were positive,” Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said in a statement. “Although resin exports were soft due to supply chain disruptions caused by hurricane activity in the East Texas/Louisiana border area, overall container numbers are gaining strength, especially on the import side.

“We are optimistic that a rebound in container volumes is underway and that it will continue for the remainder of the year and into 2021,” Guenther said.

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Source: American Shipper

US cargo carriers asked to return or demonstrate the need for $630m in Covid support

Four US cargo carriers have been asked to hand back or demonstrate that they needed more than $630m in Covid-19 support funding as part of the Payroll Support Program (PSP).

James Clyburn, chairman of the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, sent letters to Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, Western Global Airlines and Amerijet International.

The chairman wrote that each of these companies “appears to have had financial success during the crisis” and added: “If your company did not need PSP funds to keep workers on the payroll, failing to return the funds to the Treasury would be inconsistent with Congress’s clear intent.”

Congress created the PSP to “preserve aviation jobs and compensate air carrier industry workers”.

Congress required that PSP funds “shall exclusively be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries and benefits”, and in exchange required recipients to “refrain from conducting involuntary furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until September 30, 2020.”

The select subcommittee said that Atlas Air received more than $406m while its second quarter earnings in 2020 increased approximately 300% over the second quarter of 2019.

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Source: Air Cargo News

ZIM to offer direct services between Israel and UAE

ZIM is to start offering direct services between Israel and the UAE following the normalising of relations between the two countries.

The Israeli line will be offering connections between Haifa, Israel and Jebel Ali, UAE on two of its existing services.  The company said that it’s ZIM India – East Med Express (ZIE) would offer service from Israel and the East Med to the UAE; and ZIM Israel India Service (ZII) will accept cargo from Jebel Ali to Haifa.

Rani Ben Yehuda, ZIM evp cross Suez and Atlantic business unit for ZIM, said: “We are pleased to offer our customers direct service to and from the UAE, and look forward to future growth in this trade, as well as further increase in the scope of our service portfolio.”

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Source: Seatrade Maritime News