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Kuwait's Agility in talks to distribute coronavirus vaccine around the world

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Kuwait

Kuwait’s Agility Public Warehousing Co. is in close discussions with producers of COVID-19 vaccines and governments to help distribute the shots when they become available.

The logistics company has infrastructure in place in more than 120 countries and “an unmatched capability” to distribute vaccines, especially in emerging markets, Chief Executive Officer Tarek Sultan said in an interview. “We have physical infrastructure, cold storage capability, and boots on the ground in places that are difficult to operate in.”

Progress towards creating vaccines against COVID-19 has accelerated this month, with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE saying their shot prevented more than 90 per cent of symptomatic infections in a trial. Still, hurdles for production and development remain before vaccines could reach widespread use.

The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, must be kept frozen at an ultralow temperature until a few days before it is used, requiring special freezers or dry ice packs. Moderna Inc., thought to be just a few weeks behind Pfizer in the testing process, says its vaccine can be kept in regular freezers; some other vaccines don’t need to be frozen at all.

The CEO also said: “There may be some specific needs for capital expenditure, but they should be manageable,” Sultan said. “We’re actually looking forward to the challenge, to really get this issue behind us.”

“Very aggressive” measures to cut costs early on in the pandemic, when the company sought to save more than $150 million, will have a positive impact on profitability in the fourth quarter and into next year.

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