P&O Ferries offers to carry coronavirus vaccines to the UK for free
DP World-owned ro/ro and freight ferry operator P&O Ferries provides free transport of COVID-19 vaccines to the United Kingdom for import shipments.
“We stand ready to support the Government in getting all the necessary vaccines into the UK. What’s more, we are willing to do this work for free should we be asked to do so, to help play our part in getting the UK through the pandemic as fast as possible," said DP World in a statement.
For the UK's first approved COVID vaccine, cold chain shipments will be critical. A promising vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been given the green light by British regulators, beating regulators in Europe and the U.S. to approve the first product in the West.
For 40 million doses of the two-dose regimen, the UK has put orders, enough to supply about 30 percent of Britain's population.
The first doses will be distributed to residents of nursing homes and health care staff, with delivery starting next week. The data from Pfizer shows that the vaccine is 95 percent effective among recipients in preventing COVID-19 disease.
Pfizer's vaccine, however is vulnerable to deterioration at warmer temperatures and requires extreme refrigeration for storage and transport below -76 degrees F.
P&O has offered to move the vaccine free of charge, but it still retains part of a $105 million deal with the British government to ensure that the cargo service continues smooth after the Brexit transition in the UK comes to an end.
The six-month contract guarantees the security of freight capacity at alternative ports, most likely to be disrupted when Brexit takes place on January 1, away from the Channel hubs.
Maritime Business World