Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium trebles ultra-cold minus-80°C vaccine storage units

Thirty-two freezers housed by the logistics hub can store vials, offering a boost to efforts to transport vaccines across the globe

Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium further expanded a vast freezer farm set up to store crucial Covid-19 vaccines at ultra-cold temperatures.

Abu Dhabi Ports took delivery of an additional 32 ultra-cold freezers at its advanced 19,000 sqm cold and ultra-cold storage facility located in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), raising the number of units to 53.

The massive warehouse was already central to the mission of the Hope Consortium, an industry collective established to deliver Covid-19 vaccines across the globe.

Other members of the vital taskforce include the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, Etihad Cargo and SkyCell.

The new additions boost the facility’s ultra-cold storage capacity – which keeps vials at temperatures of -80°C – from 4 million to 11.4 million doses.

This allows the consortium to successfully distribute vaccines which are required to be stored at colder temperatures.

The Hope Consortium aims to deliver billions of Covid-19 vaccine doses around the world by the end of the year.

“Abu Dhabi stands at the threshold of achieving a truly historic accomplishment by enabling the global immunisation of billions of people through a fully-integrated supply chain solution that melds leading-edge technology with strategic foresight,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports and chairman of the consortium’s executive committee.

“By delivering well-planned logistics solutions hand-in-hand with a diversified vaccine supply chain, Abu Dhabi is ensuring a smooth flow of life-saving vaccines around the world to those who need them most.”

The freezer farm, a specific type of advanced ultra-cold storage solution, complements the facility’s existing static capacity to store more than 120 million vaccine vials at temperatures between 2°C and to 8°C, along with storage capacity for 11,000 pallets for support materials, including syringes and other medical equipment.

“Abu Dhabi Ports’ decision to develop the UAE’s largest freezer farm late last summer was a bold move that has proven to be highly perceptive,” said Robert Sutton, head of the logistics cluster for Abu Dhabi Ports.

“With greater vaccine supplies coming on stream, the Hope Consortium is in a timely position to meet the expected surge in demand by having the largest regional capacity to store and distribute extensive quantities of vaccines across all temperature bands, especially at the ultra-cold temperature of -80°C.

The 32 new freezers will bring storage capacity for vaccines requiring ultra-cold temperatures to 11.4 million vials. Courtesy: Hope Consortium
The 32 new freezers will bring storage capacity for vaccines requiring ultra-cold temperatures to 11.4 million vials. Courtesy: Hope Consortium

“Thanks to forward planning and wise investment, along with the commitment of our Consortium partners, Abu Dhabi Ports is in prime position to deliver upon the promise of the Consortium in providing the hub as part of the global response to the pandemic.”

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, toured the Covid-19 vaccine storage warehouse earlier this month.

He praised the role being played by Abu Dhabi in the global fight against Covid-19.

“Abu Dhabi has proven its ability to overcome all challenges, beat the impossible and spread hope,” he said.

“Abu Dhabi did not stop at being one of the leading cities with [a] vaccinated population against Covid-19, it also actively contributed to the development of such vaccines, through being home to some of the largest clinical trials globally and now with one of the largest capacities globally to handle the specialised task of transport, storage and distribution of the much-needed vaccines worldwide.”