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In Kenya, cut flowers and Covid vaccines could take the same plane


Peter Musola, freight manager at Nairobi International Airport (Kenya), on February 11, 2021 in front of the cold room where vaccine doses could be stored. (TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Kenya is the kingdom of cut flowers. That of roses, in particular: 3,000 tonnes are exported each week from Nairobi airport, particularly to Europe. Kenya is thus one of the world’s leading producers of its kind and has been able to take advantage of it for a long time thanks to cutting-edge and proven logistics expertise for this type of delicate product. So it wouldn’t take much for this logistical expertise to be used to transport anti-Covid vaccines to Africa: the conditions for transporting and storing roses are the same as for Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines, for example. Like roses, these vaccines require to be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8 degrees.

The cold chain is crucial, both for roses and for vaccine doses. Sachin Appachu, producer of Kenyan roses, for example sends 100,000 flowers abroad every day from his farm located about 100 kilometers from Nairobi: “We have an excellent cold chain from our farm to the airport, he explains. There, they are well equipped. I am impressed by their know-how, from the reception of the products to their loading on the plane while maintaining the stable temperatures, the handling and the disinfection of the boxes. These are crucial points.Once loaded on planes, tracking technology can be used to control the temperature of the roses as far as Amsterdam. In short, an ideal logistical process for transporting vaccines.

Nairobi Airport, which connects most African capitals, is already an important air hub on the continent. Also, freighters loaded with roses, after their delivery, could return to Nairobi loaded with vaccines. This is a position defended by Kenya Airways, the Kenyan national carrier, with the WHO. “It is a real opportunity for us to optimize our logistics infrastructures, says Peter Musola, freight manager. We have a cold room at the airport which allows the storage of products between 2 and 8 degrees. And we have a large freezer that can get down to minus 20 degrees. Many vaccines require these same temperatures for storage. Kenya Airways is well prepared to handle this kind of product. “

With a lack of passengers since the start of the pandemic, Kenya Airways is, like most airlines, at the worst financially. Its managers are now relying on cargo aircraft and the company has just converted two Boeing 787s for passengers into refrigerated freighters. To be finally requisitioned to participate in the Covax solidarity operation, launched by the WHO.



Source site www.francetvinfo.fr

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