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UPS Readies Freezer Farms to Ship Virus Vaccine — If We Get One

  • Facilities in U.S. and Netherlands will ensure global reach
  • Each ultra-cold unit can store up to 48,000 vials of medicine
At one of the freezer farms developed for Covid-19 vaccine storage in Venlo, The Netherlands, UPS will be able to fit up to 300 ultra low freezers.
At one of the freezer farms developed for Covid-19 vaccine storage in Venlo, The Netherlands, UPS will be able to fit up to 300 ultra low freezers.Source: UPS

United Parcel Service Inc. is building two giant freezer farms capable of super-cooling millions of vials of a Covid-19 vaccine, preparing for the day when it will need to deliver the medicine at high speed across the globe.

The facilities, under construction in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Netherlands, near UPS air hubs, will house a total of 600 deep-freezers that can each hold 48,000 vials of vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). That’s on par with some of the coldest temperatures in Antarctica.

Distributing a Covid-19 vaccine -- if one is approved for use -- will be the second huge logistical challenge spawned by the pandemic for delivery giants UPS and FedEx Corp., which earlier this year mobilized to airlift thousands of tons of protective gear across the world for health-care workers. This time the job is moving fragile vials of medicine under exacting conditions for the world’s best shot to stamp out the coronavirus and restore economies to normal.