Fleets Outside of Healthcare Industries Interested in Vaccine Transport
DEC 17, 2020 - 7:13 am
A recent survey from Fleet Advantage illustrated the desire and preparedness fleets have in their ability to transport a COVID-19 vaccine to U.S. locations.
On Dec. 11, the FDA granted emergency authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A vaccine produced by Moderna is also expected to secure approval soon. With the first of the vaccines now formally approved, shipments have begun and Pfizer plans to distribute about 25 million doses in the U.S. by the end of the year through a distribution system that is centered around cold-storage transport for the vaccine.
While additional bandwidth exists for the transportation of the vaccine, there are concerns about truck reliability.
Fleet Advantage commissioned an online survey in early December and found that nearly a third (32%) of those executives surveyed said they have the bandwidth available to transport a vaccine, and another third (32%) said they are interested in transporting a vaccine. Thirty-three percent also stated that they are looking into possible custom specifications for their equipment to handle special vaccine transport.
However, 65% said they do not have enough drivers to handle additional vaccine transport, and more than a quarter (27%) said they have concerns about their aging truck fleets’ ability to successfully deliver the vaccine without roadside breakdowns from maintenance issues.
Even before the availability of a vaccine, a growing number of fleet executives were realizing the need to upgrade into newer trucks for better reliability and cost savings. A recent study showed that 55% of fleets said escalating maintenance and repair costs is a leading motivator for upgrading to newer trucks, while 47.3% of fleets said improved fuel economy was a leading motivator.
“There are many issues of heightened sensitivity when it comes to having the right infrastructure in place to properly transport this critically important vaccine to those in need,” Katerina Jones, senior director of marketing and business development at Fleet Advantage, said. “Fleet bandwidth, driver availability and confidence in the fleet’s truck reliability are all major factors that are now front and center for a successful vaccine transport. The trucking industry realizes the critically sensitive nature in hauling the vaccine and is proud to serve its role in such an important period in our history.”
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