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Vaccine logistics a huge hurdle — Freightonomics (with video)

Zach Strickland and Anthony Smith talk a shortage in truck parking, and what it takes to make money as a carrier

Zach Strickland and Anthony Smith lay out challenges COVID-19 vaccine distribution poses to the supply chain
Anthony Smith and Zach Strickland talk about the importance of vaccine logistics.


Christmas tree sales are up around 10% this year, according to tree farm owner McKenzie Cook. 

Drivers are making more money hauling trees, with Texas premiums hitting $500 per load and California premiums seeing a $200 increase. 

The big boom in container imports is forecast to last into spring of 2021, according to this report. 

That boom has been supported by massive e-commerce sales, which are forecast to be 73% higher this season than the five-year average. 

Vaccine logistics and cold-chain impacts

Smith and Strickland bring on Chris Wolfe, CEO of PowerFleet, to discuss how the private sector plans to handle distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Wolfe says most pharmaceutical companies use third-party logistics providers to move their freight and the vaccine will be handled by relationships with those 3PLs.

COVID-19 vaccines can be expected to be moved mainly by plane, says Wolfe, due to the time-sensitive nature of the freight. 

He also says temperature sensitivity plays a big role in moving the vaccine, with the Pfizer vaccine being the most difficult to move.

Wolfe highlights the specialized design of a dry-ice box for the Pfizer formula and says that may be the only big adjustment the supply chain needs to make. 

“The supply chain already exists; it’s really handling the surge and the specialty, especially around the Pfizer vaccine,” says Wolfe, and he believes the other vaccines may just require extra monitoring around touch points and transfers during shipping. 

Wolfe says expect some coordination by FEMA to orchestrate distribution efforts and a partnership to be formed between commercial carriers and the public sector. 
You can find more Freightonomics recaps and recaps for all our shows here.


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Kaylee Nix

Kaylee Nix is a meteorologist and reporter for FreightWaves. She joined the company in November of 2020 after spending two years as a broadcast meteorologist for a local television channel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kaylee graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2018 and immediately made the Tennessee Valley her home. Kaylee creates written summaries of FreightWaves live podcasts and cultivates the social media for FreightWaves TV.