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April 28, 2020

SkyCell successfully transported pneumococcal vaccines in support of 326,000 German patients

In response to shortage, SkyCell, KLM and UPS teamed up to ensure 6,5 tons of the critical vaccines were shipped from Tokyo and Osaka via Amsterdam to Frankfurt safely, timely and within temperature range in fight against COVID-19.


SkyCell, KLM and UPS recently teamed up on behalf of an American pharma company’s vaccines division to transport potentially life-saving vaccines from Japan to Frankfurt on-time, intact and within optimal temperature range. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the global demand for pneumococcal vaccines, which prevent against a potentially life-threatening complication of the virus. The German Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) recently officially announced a shortage of pneumococcal vaccines and under these special circumstances, a short-notice import from third-countries was permitted.

The vaccine manufacturer acted immediately and coordinated with its cross-divisional team to repurpose 326,000 vaccine doses stocked in Japan. The challenge was to ensure the product was delivered within regulatory compliance while maintaining time and temperature requirements to ensure efficacy, to ensure immediate product release to patients. The pneumococcal vaccines are highly temperature-sensitive and require a door-to-door cold chain solution with an unbroken temperature environment between two to eight degrees Celsius.

Take a look at the SkyCell Temperature Tracking System: the temperature inside the container stays at a constant 4 degrees (blue line) meanwhile the ambient temperature (red line ) varies between +1° to +18° Celsius.

Thanks to the cooperation of the involved parties, the first patients received the vaccination within 11 days after the vaccine shortage was announced. The SkyCell containers secured the products at a constant 4 degrees Celsius to ensure their safe arrival in Frankfurt.

Victor Soh, Global Deliver Strategy Lead of the vaccine manufacturer

SkyCell’s containers are more reliable and sustainable than comparable solutions. The easy handling enables a fast operative deployment with minimal training effort.

Richard Ettl, CEO

Our vision is to eliminate product loss in the pharmaceutical supply chain and we are proud to have contributed with our container solutions to ensuring that the 326,000 doses of vaccine made their way safely to patients in need.

Michael Harrell, Vice President, UPS Fright Forwarding

We are proud to leverage our freight forwarding network in support of our global customers battling this virus. As more critical vaccines become available, it will take agile, efficient logistics to get these time- and temperature-sensitive products where they need to be to do the most good.

As the production of the vaccine can take up to three years and contains 23 different active ingredients, the quality of the packaging solution was crucial for the delivery. The pneumococcal vaccines are highly temperature sensitive and require a door-to-door cold chain solution with an unbroken temperature environment between two to eight degrees Celsius. Any temperature deviation would cause the vaccines to become ineffective.

Besides making vaccines accessible to patients in such a short period of time, the pharma manufacturer has also achieved a positive impact for the environment. It saved almost 500 tons of CO2 using SkyCell’s light and sustainable container solutions. This is equivalent to the emissions of 83 homes’ electricity use for one year.

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