An intelligent smart drone delivery solution to tackle challenges in last-mile vaccine delivery
National, 13th May 2021: Blue Dart, India’s leading express logistics service provider and part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium with the mission of revolutionizing the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with Drones. Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, NitiAayog and Healthnet Global.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly drone flights on an experimental basis in Telangana. The aim is to assess an alternate logistics route in providing safe, accurate and reliable pickup and delivery of health care items (medicines, covid-19 vaccines, units of blood, diagnostic specimens and other lifesaving equipment) from distribution centre to specific location and back.
Blue Dart is committed to improving the supply chain infrastructure and is fighting hard to combat the pandemic. Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories.
Proud to be able to help the country in its fight against the pandemic Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dartsays, “It’s been over a year and our battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold new challenges that need solutions in real-time. The pandemic has taught each one of us the importance of logistics and the need for a tech-led supply chain infrastructure. As an organization Blue Dart has always been surrounded with the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth. While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines.”
Commenting on Blue Dart’s experiment with Drone flights for Beyond Visual Line of Sight delivery of vaccines Ketan Kulkarni, CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart says, “The consortium aims at enabling safer, efficient and cost-effective Drone delivery flights. With efficient systems in place, it can help reduce the current logistics cost, making the healthcare logistics faster and efficient. We are delighted to be granted the rights to commence operations and this is definitely the need of the hour. Mankind is witnessing the worst time and Blue Dart is committed to giving back to the society in which it operates and will always be ready to take one step forward.”
Smt. Rama Devi Lanka, Director of Emerging Technologies and Officer on Special Duty (OSD), ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana, says, “The project would generate real and actionable insights to drive future adoption policies and integration with the existing healthcare supply chain. With covid-19 pandemic wrecking existing supply chains, adopting such disruptive technologies is the need of the hour.”
Sri Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secretary, ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana, says, “Telangana is one of the most proactive states looking to adopt emerging technologies, and the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project using drones is in line with the same principles. This project is one of the first such programs in the country where multiple drones would fly BVLOS to establish their value proposition for the healthcare supply chain. The vision is to ensure healthcare equity for rural areas.”
Blue Dart has been consistent in its support to the nation in the fight against the pandemic. As the Trade Facilitator of the Nation, Blue Dart ensured that life doesn’t come to a standstill by safeguarding and ensuring the delivery of critical shipments across the country. In keeping with its commitment to its philosophy, Blue Darters have been working tirelessly to guarantee the continuity of the mission-critical supply chain since the time the country has been gripped by the pandemic. Blue Dart has continuously worked with the medical equipment and pharmaceuticals sector to maintain the supply chain and deliver critical shipment and essential supplies including Covid vaccine samples, temperature-controlled movement of COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators, PPE, testing kits, reagents, enzymes, respirators, surgical masks, goggles and gloves amongst other critical material. The company’s six Boeing 757 freighters ensure the ease in ramping up operations swiftly to handle large scale shipments.