Abu Dhabi has established an international distribution corridor in Belgium to enhance the delivery of vaccines to countries across the world. With this development, Abu Dhabi has boosted its positioning as a leading global pharmaceutical hub.
The collaboration between the two sides has come in view of the capabilities of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector as a leading life sciences hub and ongoing efforts of the HOPE Consortium in ensuring the provision of vaccine solutions for countries in need. The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) recently hosted a delegation visit from Belgium in the Emirati capital. The visit witnessed the two sides signed two declarations of collaboration in the presence of Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of DoH and Peter CLAES, Ambassador of Belgium in the UAE.
Led by Abu Dhabi-DoH, the first agreement signed between the HOPE Consortium, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), Brussels Airport Company and Pharma.Aero is aimed at setting up a fully compliant origin-to-destination pharma air corridor between Abu Dhabi and Brussels Airports. The dedicated trade line will boost the union of key compliant and sector certified supply chain stakeholders such as forwarders and ground handling agents.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Under-Secretary of the DoH, underlined the goal of the department to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s positioning as a world-class pharma logistics hub and a destination for global welfare. To facilitate this, the department is investing in strategic public and private sector collaborations as well as the allocation of expertise and resources.
Earlier this year, a delegation from HOPE Consortium met pharmaceutical industry stakeholders in Brussels to demonstrate the success of global vaccine distribution implemented by Abu Dhabi. With the support of its network of partners, the HOPE Consortium has facilitated the distribution of more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to support the inoculation drive in more than 40 global destinations.
With a total export value of nearly €42 billion in 2020, Western Europe is the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical export market. Nathan De Valck, Head of Cargo at Brussels Airport lauded Brussels Airport as the leading hub supporting the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry in Europe. The airport handled more than 750 million vaccines at the airport to serve 60 destinations globally.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chairman of the HOPE Consortium Executive Committee and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, noted that the partnership's success is significantly dependent on proactive sharing of knowledge and expertise among stakeholders. The HOPE Consortium and its partners have developed extensive end-to-end vaccine supply chains with the capacity to deliver millions of COVID-19 vaccines globally.
"Working together, we have successfully resolved some of the major challenges associated with vaccine logistics. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our capabilities and pass on our learnings to students attending the Masterclass. At the same time, we look forward to further strengthening the relationship between Abu Dhabi and Belgium by establishing a pharma corridor, benefitting the region and the world," Capt. Al Shamsi said.
The dedicated Pharma Air Corridor will utilise API-IoT devices-webforms-internet shared with relevant stakeholders with the aim of closely monitoring pharma shipments.
"Our relationship with Etihad Cargo and the HOPE Consortium sharing best practices makes us confident that the corridor will promote commitment for transparency with customers and stakeholders," said Nathan De Valck, who also serves as Chairman of Pharma.Aero.
The second declaration was signed between HOPE Consortium, Pharma.Aero, Khalifa University of Science and Technology and the University of Antwerp to host the second edition of "Pharma Logistics Masterclass". The course will be conducted by Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi from September 5-9, 2022 to highlight the critical challenges and developments in pharma supply chains and logistics.
"We are excited to bring the second Masterclass to Abu Dhabi. The HOPE Consortium partners and Khalifa University have extended great support and offer a unique platform to be shared with the participants of the next Masterclass," said Prof. Dr. Roel Gevaers, University of Antwerp and Chair of the organising Committee.
Voicing Dr Gevaers' remarks, Frank Van Gelder, Secretary-General of Pharma. Aero and co-chair of the "Pharma Logistics Masterclass" continued that the organisation's vision and mission is to foster collaboration by ensuring continuous sharing of insights and experiences between pharmaceutical companies, industry stakeholders and the academic world. It will further improve the overall knowledge and the quality of the pharma and MedTec supply chain. "Bringing the 2nd edition of the Masterclass to Abu Dhabi and bringing academics and business together contributes significantly to achieving this vision," Van Gelder added.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, expressed pleasure in bringing the next Pharma.Aero Logistics Masterclass to Abu Dhabi in September 2022. He underlined that, through its Digital Supply Chain and Operations Management (DSOM) research centre, Khalifa University has the necessary expertise to provide real-world and advanced work on digital transactions, management and optimisation in multiple domains such as maritime logistics, production lines, and healthcare delivery systems.
"We believe the Masterclass in Abu Dhabi will further affirm our strong commitment to delivering top-quality academic and professional programmes that benefit students and youth interested in charting their future career in this area," Dr Al Hammadi added.
Dr. Ghalia Ali Al Humaidan, Chargé d'affaires of the UAE Mission to Belgium, welcomed the agreement, noting that the strategic ties between the UAE and Belgium are important to support trade routes between the Middle East and Europe. It further expand the collaborations in addressing pharmaceutical demand flows between the two regions.
Peter Claes, Belgium’s Ambassador to the UAE, lauded Abu Dhabi's efforts to ensure close cooperation and synergy with Brussels Airport. Abu Dhabi has evolved as a global hub for the distribution of pharmaceuticals.
"I am therefore pleased to know that at the invitation of Pharma.Aero and its partners, distinguished executives of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Etihad and Rafed participated in the 1st International Masterclass on Pharma Logistics, held in Antwerp in September," the Ambassador said.