FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, announced today that operations are in motion to transport its first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines.
Following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, FedEx Express will begin transport of the vaccine using its FedEx Priority Overnight® service supported by FedEx Priority Alert® advanced monitoring. After months of preparation and close planning with Pfizer, other healthcare companies, and federal and state officials, the first COVID-19 vaccines will move to dosing centers in the United States. Vaccine distribution will be balanced among major cargo carriers, and FedEx is working closely with healthcare customers to prepare for additional vaccine shipments and transportation of critical vaccine-related supplies.
The FedEx network is well-positioned to handle COVID-19 vaccine shipments around the world with temperature-control solutions, near real-time monitoring capabilities and a dedicated healthcare team to support the express transportation of vaccines and bioscience shipments.
“This is among the most important work in the history of our company, and we’re honored to be a part of the effort to help end this pandemic,” said Raj Subramaniam, president and chief operating officer, FedEx Corp. “I am immensely proud of our dedicated team members who continue to go above and beyond to help ensure the safe movement of these critical COVID-19 vaccines, especially during our busiest holiday shipping season to date. This is who we are and what we do at FedEx.”
Transportation of COVID-19 vaccines is the next phase of ongoing FedEx efforts to support pandemic relief around the world. FedEx has a long history of supporting relief efforts when disasters strike, using its network and expertise to deliver for good.
“We are one of the few companies with the global network and capabilities to keep critical supply chains moving during this unprecedented time,” said Don Colleran, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Express. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, FedEx has delivered more than 55 kilotons of personal protective equipment, including more than two billion face masks, and more than 9,600 humanitarian aid shipments around the globe.”
To help reach underserved communities with the COVID-19 vaccine, FedEx has committed $4 million in cash and in-kind transportation support to several nonprofits serving communities in the U.S. and around the world. These include Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, and Heart to Heart International.
“Time-definite express transportation of critical shipments is exactly what our FedEx Express network was built to do when it launched in 1973,” said Richard W. Smith, regional president of the Americas and executive vice president of global support, FedEx Express. “Almost five decades later, we are proving true to our founding mission by delivering critical COVID-19 vaccines.”
“This is a historic moment and represents a monumental feat for vaccine development and expedient deployment,” said Mike McDermott, president, Pfizer Global Supply. “Outstanding logistics is critical to get our products to those who need them across the country, and we’re happy to partner with FedEx in this historic effort to save lives and put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
About the technology:
At FedEx, the information about the package is as important as the package itself as it moves through the network. FedEx SenseAware ID, a Bluetooth low-energy sensor device, will be affixed to vaccine shipments, helping to ensure these temperature-sensitive deliveries move swiftly and safely through the FedEx Express U.S. network with FedEx Priority Overnight service. From origin to destination, dedicated FedEx Priority Alert customer support agents are using SenseAware monitoring technology to track the location of vaccine shipments in near real-time. This technology is complemented by the FedEx Surround platform, which leverages artificial intelligence and predictive tools to proactively monitor conditions surrounding the packages, allowing customer support agents to intervene if weather or traffic delays threaten to impede delivery times.
Quick stats about the FedEx network:
- Built over 47 years, the FedEx network consists of more than 5,000 facilities, more than 670 aircraft, more than 180,000 vehicles, and – most importantly – nearly 600,000 dedicated team members worldwide.
- At present, FedEx Express operates nearly 32,000 flights per month, and roughly half are missions flown by wide body aircraft.
- FedEx Express has more than 90 cold chain facilities across five continents with plans to open additional facilities in coming years.
- To the extent vaccine shipments may require the use of dry ice, FedEx Express is capable of safely handling those volumes. FedEx Express transports approximately 500,000 dry ice shipments a month.
FedEx Express aircraft photo gallery:
FedEx Express aircraft slide show: