Caption: MIA task force gets local cargo community vaccine ready
On December 16, more than 50 representatives from Miami-Dade County’s air cargo community attended the second virtual meeting of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s MIAVAC19 Task Force, formed to lead the preparation and coordination of Miami International Airport’s cargo community for the arrival and mass distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine domestically and internationally.
As the busiest U.S. airport for international freight and the leading cargo gateway to and from Latin America and the Caribbean, MIA is poised to be one of the key global hubs for the vaccine. MIA is the first airport in the Western Hemisphere and only the second in the world to be designated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a pharmaceutical freight hub in the transport of pharmaceuticals (pharma) and vaccines. MIA received the IATA designation for engaging the local cargo community in IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma Certification Program, which prepares logistics companies to become experts at properly handling sensitive pharma products shipped by air. MIA’s Pharma Hub includes five logistics providers that have received the IATA CEIV certification.
“In the midst of this unprecedented global health crisis, Miami-Dade County is incredibly fortunate to be home to one of the most well-equipped airports in the world for receiving and handling COVID-19 vaccines,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “I applaud the MIAVAC19 task force for preparing MIA to be a leading gateway for these historic shipments, which will help save lives in our community and across our region.”
After surveying its cargo tenants in September, the task force determined that MIA is home to 368,064 square feet of refrigerated cargo space, including 27,212 square feet solely dedicated to handling pharmaceuticals and vaccines – the most at any U.S. airport in both categories.
The task force’s action plan includes identifying additional cooler space available outside of MIA, mapping out the airport’s parking capacity for large freighter aircraft, designating potential cargo truck parking and staging areas, and planning training sessions for freight forwarders and brokers regarding the latest federal guidelines for importing the vaccines. The task force has also provided a conduit for collaboration and communication enabling the cargo community to stay informed on the latest developments in distribution plans.
“We deeply appreciate the support and partnership of every airline, freight forwarder, ground handler, integrated carrier, logistics provider, government agency and others represented in the MIAVAC19 Task Force, which has MIA well positioned to efficiently receive and transport the vaccines to communities throughout the Americas,” said Lester Sola, MIA Director and CEO. “MIA is on pace for another record year in cargo volume, and with the vaccine shipments expected to significantly increase our cargo activity throughout 2021, Miami-Dade County will benefit from additional job creation and business revenue as well.”