GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo: A Crucial Covid Vaccine Handling Centre


New Delhi: GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC), a WHO-GSDP (World Health Organisation-Good Storage and Distribution Practices) certified major Gateway Location in India, is uniquely positioned to handle temperature sensitive Cargo and ensure its seamless distribution.

GHAC is equipped to serve both outbound and inbound vaccine shipments by providing world-class infrastructure for requisite temperature-controlled zones. GHAC has been continuously working towards efficient handling and distribution of COVID relief materials.

Hyderabad region is set to be the single largest concentration of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacities globally, with an estimated 3.6 billion doses of various makes of vaccines expected to be produced by facilities in the region over the next 18-24 months. Given that Hyderabad is India’s premier pharma and vaccine manufacturing hub, GHAC has developed world-class infrastructure and playing an active role in ensuring unbroken cold chain for COVID vaccine supply. 

Handling vital COVID related shipments

·         Since the beginning of pandemic, GHAC has seamlessly handled several freighters carrying Vaccines, medical equipment and COVID relief material like PPE Kits, masks, sanitizers etc.  More importantly, in the recent months starting January 2021, GHAC has handled more than 100 tonnes of COVID vaccines that were distributed from Hyderabad to various parts of the country. 

·         For the 1st time in India on 1st May 2021, GHAC successfully handled the large import shipment of the Sputnik V vaccines from Russia, which required specialised handling and procedures to meet the stringent time and temperature (-20 deg. C) constraints.  The handling of this critical shipment marked a major milestone for the country.

Vaccine Logistics initiatives

·         In order to address the anticipated surge in movement of COVID vaccines at Hyderabad, GHAC has been expanding its landside and airside facilities and streamlining processes to meet the unique requirements for vaccine shipments and temp-controlled pharmaceuticals.

·         The existing Pharma zone facility is also being expanded to almost double the area for handling increased movements of Vaccine and Pharma shipments. In addition to the above, it has also increased the capacities of all temperature zones viz. 15-25 degrees, 2-8 degrees and -20 degrees Celsius.

·         The entire Pharma Zone including the newly expanding area is equipped with temperature and humidity sensors with alarm alerts along with CCTV surveillance to check temperature excursions in real time. The temperature recording and monitoring is being done with data loggers in exclusive cold storage for temperature sensitive cargo like vaccines/pharma.

·         GHAC is introducing ‘Cold Super Store’ as part of the extended pharma zone to mitigate any temperature excursions during unloading of pharma shipments. It had launched a custom built large Cool Dolly, a Mobile Refrigerated Unit for airside transportation of large pallets till aircraft, maintaining the Cold-Chain.

·         During this pandemic situation, GHAC has been closely working with all the air cargo stakeholders while having dedicated Task Force and specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for acceptance, screening, and handling of temperature sensitive COVID vaccines.  The undertaken facilities upgrade will result in better cargo acceptance and processing time and thereby enhancing operational efficiencies.

 Technology & Partnerships

·         At the onset of 2021, GHAC has partnered with Dubai Airports for launch of “HYDXB-VAXCOR”, a first of its kind of strategic initiative in the industry to address the unique logistical challenge of moving vaccines between Dubai and India through Hyderabad airport as a hub.  This strategic partnership envisages several benefits and value added benefits such as priority handling, seamless movement, expanded uplift capacity through anchor carriers and high level of visibility for status/temperature data.

·         GHAC’s e-Reception systems ensures hassle free entry and exit of the refrigerated trucks on the landside. For ensuring smooth last mile delivery, GHAC facilitates the movement of cargo to different parts of the country with its trucking partners who provide Road Feeder Service.

·         GHAC has also been gearing up towards Technology enhancements and has been recently integrating Vaccine Ledger, a next-gen Block Chain solution to deliver enhanced Track and Trace solution and real-time monitoring of vaccine shipments from Hyderabad.


Improved Connectivity

·         GHAC’s major airline partners are connecting Hyderabad to different parts of the country and the world. Currently, Hyderabad Airport has direct services to 58 domestic destinations and around 150 destinations globally including all major cargo hubs of the world.

·         To facilitate connectivity across its extended catchment areas, GHAC has partnered with TSRTC to provide the first mile and last mile connectivity to various parts of South and Central India. TSRTC is successfully operating its fleet from last six months.

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