A major shipment of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia arrived at GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) in the early hours of Tuesday, June 1. The consignment, which contained 56.6 tonnes of the Russian-made vaccine, was brought in the specially-chartered RU-9450 freighter, which landed in Hyderabad at 3.43 am. This is the single largest import shipment of COVID-19 vaccines handled in India so far. According to a statement from airport authorities, the shipment was dispatched from the airport within 90 minutes of completing the required processes.
The Sputnik V vaccine requires special handling, as it must be stored at -20°C. The GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is a World Health Organisation- Good Storage and Distribution Practices-certified airport. The statement further added that GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo has worked closely with the customers’ supply chain teams, customs officials and other relevant parties to set up the required infrastructure and handling processes at the Air Cargo Terminal.
A special task force involving Customs officials, airlines, freight forwarders, and other stakeholders has also been organised at the (GHAC) to ensure priority handling and timely clearance for vaccines and other COVID-19 relief commodities.
The GHAC is also expanding its facilities and improving processes both on landside and airside to meet the unique requirements for perishables, agri-products and various temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals, the statement said. The airport handles consignments of vaccines coming into Hyderabad and also sending out vaccines produced in the city to other places on a daily basis, it added.