The Panama Canal’s Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales accepted an invitation to join the World Economic Forum’s Supply Chain & Transport Industry Action Group (SCT) efforts to achieve globally inclusive, safe and sustainable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
This charter affirms the transportation industry’s commitment to unite the public and private sectors with the planning and preparedness efforts for COVID-19 vaccine transportation and distribution. The World Economic Forum invited the Canal to support this initiative alongside over 18 companies in the transportation industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a humanitarian challenge with severe economic effects that continue to send ripples across the world. The emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine, however, has provided the world with a plan forward, and the Panama Canal has recognized its role to aid in this effort.
Panama and the Canal have served as the transportation and logistics hub for the region, enhanced by its local ports, and its air transportation hub with connections across the continent. Its strategic geographical position will allow it to serve as a leading facilitator for the transportation and distribution of vaccines and medical supplies to Latin America and the Caribbean and through the Canal.
“I am honored and proud to sign this charter and furthermore reinforce the Panama Canal’s role in global humanitarian efforts,” said Administrator Vasquez. “We have been servicing the globe throughout this pandemic and will continue to use our strategic position to connect the world.”
The initiative is being led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Signatories of this charter include A.P. Møller-Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Stena AB; global ports operators, including PSA International, DP World and the Port of Antwerp; and air transport companies like DHL, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The signatories plan to support the COVAX participant countries, with planning, preparedness and prioritized transportation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies, subject to internal regulations. It will also support UNICEF’s Global Vaccine Logistics Distribution with prioritization and solutions for international and in country distribution of vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX facility.