The administrator of the Panama Canal, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, accepted an invitation from the World Economic Forum to support the efforts of the Action Group of the Transport Industry and Supply Chain (SCT, for its acronym in English) in inclusive distribution, safe and sustainable use of COVID-19 vaccines.
This action confirms the transportation industry’s commitment to unite the public and private sectors in planning and preparation efforts for the transportation and distribution of the vaccine. 18 companies from the transportation industry participate in this initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a humanitarian challenge, with serious effects on the global economy. However, the emergence of the vaccine against the disease has generated a new vision of solidarity, and the Panama Canal has recognized its role in assisting in that effort.
Panama and the Canal served as transport and logistics center in the region, its local ports, and hub of air transport, with connections across the continent. This strategic geographic position of Panama will allow it to act as a leading facilitator for the transportation and distribution of vaccines and medical supplies for Latin America and the Caribbean, through the interoceanic route.
“It is an honor and pride to support this initiative and, furthermore, to reinforce the role of the Panama Canal in global humanitarian efforts,” said Administrator Vásquez. “We have been serving world trade during this pandemic and will continue to use our strategic position to connect the world,” he added.
The initiative is led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Signatories to the letter of support include AP Møller-Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Stena AB; port operators such as PSA International, DP World, and the Port of Antwerp; and air transport companies such as DHL, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The signatories will support the countries that make up the COVAX initiative in global equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19 in terms of prioritized planning, preparation, transportation and distribution of vaccines and related supplies, subject to internal regulations.
The effort will also support UNICEF’s Global Vaccine Logistics Distribution with prioritization and solutions for international and country distribution of vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX facility.