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How DHL Delivered 2 Billion Vaccines

Liliana Castillo - DHL
Head of Life Sciences and Chemicals Sales DGF Mexico


Alfonso Núñez By Alfonso Núñez | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Thu, 03/17/2022 - 15:48

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Q: DHL has delivered more than 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to more than 175 countries worldwide. How was this accomplished?

A: It was a very big challenge because we were not prepared for a pandemic. But when we started to receive information about the virus, we started an in-depth investigation into what our role could be regarding the vaccine. We were guided by McKinsey, which has been helping us to approach the situation realistically. Vaccines can take from two to 10 years to launch but these were launched in one year. We wanted to be prepared because we are leaders in the pharmaceutical sector. We have special packaging for the necessary transportation from everywhere to anywhere. In the end, we proved that we could do it. We are transporting vaccines in ultra-freezing packaging that eliminates any variation in temperature. DHL was the primary freight forwarder for transporting the first COVID-19 vaccines from Russia to the world.

Q: How does DHL’s Good Distribution Practice (GDP) network of certified life sciences stations and industry-specific IT system, Life Track, impact your logistics services?

A: One of our pillars is digitalization and technology. LifeTrack is a platform where our customers can monitor all the information related to their shipments. Through a mobile device, they can monitor, for example, the temperature control on their shipments.

Another innovative service is LifeConEx for transporting temperature-sensitive products. It helps our customers with tracking and follows GDPs. But it is not only for tracking or locating a shipment. It helps customers to see where their shipment is and how it is being handled. It uses advanced technology, a smart sensor, temperature monitoring, GPS location information and so on. It covers security, temperature control, mapping and solutions for tracing your shipment with a proper SOP, following the GDPs for your shipment.

Q: How does DHL manage a global supply chain with the differing regulatory environments in the countries it is in?

A: We do not have a direct deal with entities; we are the partner of laboratories. If COFEPRIS demands a certain temperature or a certain practice for distribution, we accompany our clients and ensure successful audits. We prepare all of the health requirements, temperature control and good distribution practices for our clients, which they can deliver to health entities.

Q: What will happen in terms of distribution after COVID-19 becomes an endemic?

A: The situation is similar to the flu and we have accompanied our clients through this process as we did through the process with influenza. When influenza started, it was exactly the same: a number of laboratories started to invest in finding a vaccine. Now, influenza is endemic but that does not mean that only one laboratory has retained the patent for the influenza vaccine. Rather, during these 10 years, more firms have continued to invest in handling or producing the influenza vaccine. It became an opportunity for the industry.

With the continued transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, DHL prepared for a future in humanity. I am very proud to be responsible for something so historic. Knowing that I am working with a leading company that was the first to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the world and being a part of this history brings me a great deal of fulfillment.


DHL offers air, ocean and overland freight-forwarding services that include standardized transport, as well as multimodal and sector-specific solutions, together with individualized industrial projects.

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