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FedEx, partner win $70M Canada COVID-19 vaccine logistics contract

Canadian government ramps up distribution plans after approving Pfizer vaccine

FedEx Canada and partner Innomar Strategies have won a CA$90.4 million ($70.5 million) logistics contract from the Canadian government to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. 

The government posted the award notice on Tuesday. FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and Innomar, the Canadian subsidiary of U.S. drug distributor AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC), competed with Kuehne + Nagel, McKesson Canada and UPS Healthcare for the contract. 

It came as Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first doses of which could arrive from Belgium as early as Monday, officials said. 

The tender awarded to FedEx-Innomar foresees little involvement in distributing the Pfizer vaccine. The pharmaceutical giant plans to ship its vaccines directly to locations in Canada on account of its ultracold temperature requirements

However, FedEx is among the companies working with Pfizer to distribute its vaccine in the U.S. Pfizer hasn’t identified its logistics partners for Canada.

Canada has bought 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with options on 56 million more. The government has preordered or reserved some 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates — far more than the country of 38 million will need — as a hedge against unknown efficacy and the manufacturers’ ability to supply them.

FedEx Canada aircraft fleet well-suited to ferry vaccines from Europe

FedEx Canada has an extensive air and ground network in Canada. It has 32 dedicated aircraft serving 25 domestic airports. Additionally, it has over 3,000 vehicles, including more than 270 tractors.

FedEx Canada’s aircraft fleet includes Boeing 757 and 767s, Airbus 300 and 310s, and MD-10 and MD-11s — all with the range to ferry vaccines from European manufacturing sites to major Canadian airports. 

Canadian Armed Forces Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is overseeing the vaccine logistics effort on a national level. The military itself is also supporting the effort.

Individual provinces are preparing their own distribution plans in coordination with the federal government. 

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at