Source: Globe Street

Right now, there are nearly 400 vaccines for Covid-19 in development. When some of those are approved for widespread use, they’ll need to be stored and distributed from temperature-controlled spaces.

Companies are already lining up giant cold storage facilities, also known as freezer farms, to securely store millions of vials of a vaccine, according to a new report from JLL.

For instance in August, UPS announced it was building a freezer farm in Louisville, Ken., and another in the Netherlands to rapidly distribute the vaccine across the globe. 

But that is only the beginning. Peter Kroner, investor research, Industrial, JLL, expects to see an increase of hundreds of thousands of square feet of cold storage worldwide to meet demand. 

To store vaccines, the freezer farms would require “specific, ultra-low temperatures, and spaces large enough for hundreds of custom, wheeled freezer boxes capable of maintaining -180 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to JLL.

Since vials of COVID vaccines will initially be transported by air freight, cold-storage space will need to have proximity to airports, according to Kroner. While these facilities near airports are more expensive, he says the product’s high value will offset the higher cost.

To monitor and ensure constant temperatures in these cold-storage facilities, warehouse operators will rely on automation.

“Time is of the essence here, and the right automation equipment, in the right cold storage environment, can literally save lives,” said Mehtab Randhawa, director, Industrial Research, JLL Americas.

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