Singapore to play vital role in transporting vaccine globally: PM Lee
As a global aviation hub, Singapore will play a crucial role in transporting Covid-19 vaccines around the world, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In a televised address yesterday on next steps for the nation, Mr Lee outlined how Singapore is well positioned to handle large volumes of vaccines, which he said will support "our recovery in more ways than one".
He noted that vaccines would require cold chain management, as they must be transported in a temperature-controlled environment at every stage of their journey.
For example, the Pfizer vaccine would have to be stored at -70 deg C, which Mr Lee noted was colder than the Arctic.
"This requires infrastructure, high standards, skilled personnel and good connectivity to many different countries and all along the supply chain," he said.
Fortunately, Singapore has a strong ecosystem for cargo handling, Mr Lee said, pointing to how SIA and Changi Airport's ground handling partners have been certified by the International Air Transport Association to handle and transport pharmaceutical supplies.
Leading global logistics companies like DHL, UPS and FedEx are also based here, he added.
"We are now gearing ourselves up to handle large volumes of vaccine shipments into and through Singapore, to help win the global fight against Covid-19," said Mr Lee.
Companies in the air cargo sector have intensified preparations in recent months in anticipation of the upcoming exercise to distribute vaccines around the globe.
Locally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group have set up a task force to work on the vaccine shipment process.
Mr Lee attributed the readiness to handle the vaccines to forward planning as well as the systematic creation of opportunities.
"It took us years of investment and planning, building a business-friendly climate and expanding our air links around the world," said Mr Lee. "These long-term investments are now paying dividends."