The Panama Canal will join the global logistics for the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, in response to the call made by the World Economic Forum.
Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales accepted the invitation to support the efforts of the Supply Chain and Transportation Industry Task Force (SCT) in the inclusive, safe and sustainable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
This action confirms the transportation industry’s commitment to bring the public and private sectors together in planning and preparedness efforts for vaccine transportation and distribution. Eighteen transportation industry companies are participating in this initiative.
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a humanitarian challenge, with serious effects on the global economy. However, the emergence of the vaccine against the disease has generated a new vision of solidarity, and the Panama Canal has recognized its role in helping in that effort, said a statement from the institution.
“Panama and the Canal have served as a transportation and logistics hub for the region, through its local ports and air transport hub, with connections throughout the continent. This strategic geographic position of Panama will allow it to act as a leading facilitator for the transportation and distribution of vaccines and medical supplies for Latin America and the Caribbean, through the interoceanic waterway,” the document adds.
“It is an honor and a source of pride to support this initiative and, furthermore, to reinforce the Panama Canal’s role in global humanitarian efforts,” said Administrator Vasquez. “We have been serving world trade during this pandemic and will continue to use our strategic position to connect the world,” he added.
The initiative is led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Signatories to the letter of support include A.P. Møller-Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Stena AB; port operators such as PSA International, DP World and the Port of Antwerp; and air carriers such as DHL, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The signatories will support COVAX countries in equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines in terms of prioritized planning, preparation, transport and distribution of vaccines and related supplies, subject to domestic regulations.
The effort will also support UNICEF’s Global Vaccine Logistics Distribution with prioritization and solutions for international and country distribution of vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX facility.