FedEx says it has ample air capacity for vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A Federal Express cargo plane approaches to land in San Diego, California August 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - FedEx Corp - and its rival United Parcel Service Inc - have enough air cargo capacity handle COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, FedEx Americas President Richard Smith said on Tuesday.

FedEx and UPS are key partners to the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine project and will move millions of doses for Pfizer Inc and other pharmaceutical companies. Experts predict that the unprecedented size of the COVID-19 project will test the nation’s cold-chain shipping capabilities.

“There’s plenty of capacity in our networks to handle this, and remember it’s not all going to hit us on a Tuesday,” Smith said during the Operation Warp Speed vaccine summit at the White House.

“It’s going to come over time, so we’ve got this. Relax,” Smith said, also referring to UPS.

Accenture’s Seabury Consulting estimates the global roll-out of a vaccine will generate 65,000 tonnes of air freight, which is five times the air vaccine trade in 2019.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Aurora Ellis