How to Safely Transport Medical Supplies during the Pandemic?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the transportation of goods has been highly impacted, and it has become even more difficult for companies to have their goods delivered. This situation can become a matter of life and death for hospitals, which are in dire need of medical supplies to help people infected with the virus survive.

As pharmaceutical transport is very fragile and sensitive, the medical supply transport has to be very safe and secure, in order for the meds to be used right away once they arrive in different hospitals. To get medication from one place to another without complication, it is very important for the pharmaceutical companies to choose their means of transportation wisely.

So, with all that is happening with the restrictions, how can medical supplies be safely and quickly transported? In this article, we will explore the means put in place in order to prioritize medical supply transport.

How to safely transport medical supplies?

Air and rail transportation has a high concentration of passengers and employees which increases the risk of exposure, they have had to be slowed or shut down. In order to have a quick and safe delivery, trucks have become the most used transportation for medical supplies. Only a driver is needed, and trucks have the capacity to stock a lot of supplies.

The only problem is finding companies that can have their employees gone for several days to deliver medical supplies. In Canada, Elite Logix is considered to be one of the best medical equipment transport companies. We can deliver products anywhere in Canada and continental United States.

Transportation and Pandemics

There exist numerous microbes in the world that can be a source of disease for the human population. Some of them can be very virulent and attack the respiratory system like Covid-19. It has even been estimated that between 1 to 1.5 million people die every year of diseases that weaken the respiratory system.

This is not the first time that the world has had to face a pandemic.  In 1918, the Spanish flu killed between 50 and 100 million people and 30% of the global population was infected. This high spread was due to modern transportation as the virus contaminated crews and passengers on trains and ships. What happened in 1918 is exactly what is happening to us right now. Covid-19 spread quickly because all the means of transportation were not secured fast enough. According to scientists, an influenza-like pandemic can be as dangerous as the Spanish flu.

With time, it has been confirmed that the transportation of goods and the spread of the virus are related. Fast transportation means a rapid and big diffusion of a disease. The air transportation is the one that can spread the virus fastest as the global air transport system is made up of several airports with different volumes in terms of human capacity. It is most dangerous during the first 10 days, which is when the virus can be very virulent.

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Countries coordinate efforts to deliver ‎medical supplies

As you can imagine, the products used by the hospitals have to be handled and transported with care due to their infectious, hazardous or radioactive state. In order to protect the goods and people handling the transportation, The United Nations have put in place recommendations for the transport of dangerous goods.

Among these products, gases are often utilized to provide respiratory assistance to patients who have dangerous respiratory symptoms, which is the case with the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to this virus, it has become even more difficult for the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), considered as the primary suppliers of medical gases in Europe, to deliver products as they have to face an unprecedented demand. According to the association, the demand for this medical gas has been between 5 and 10 times higher than usual. Usually the EIGA produces approximately 220,000 tons of gas per day.

However medical gasses are not the only product that has to be handled with care to reach  hospitals safely. A lot of medication has to be safely delivered such as hazardous substances, infectious substances, biological specimens, hospital samples, radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine and clinical waste including used surgical instruments transported to central decontamination units.

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Negotiation of multilateral agreements for the medical supply transport

In order to have a harmonized transport of these products in Europe and the rest of the world, there exist three different international agreements, which consider the road, the rail and the inland waterways. Moreover, to be sure to have the best safety possible, a periodic inspection of vehicles and materials is conducted every five years. With the Covid-19 pandemic and the high demand of critical medical supplies, the validity of the training certificates of drivers have been extended and the inspections were suspended.

According to the UNCE Executive Secretary “Only by working together will we overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.” These exceptional measures will continue as long as it is necessary.

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