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Supporting the Delivery of Fast, Low-Cost COVID-19 Tests Worldwide

Through its DB SCHENKERlife+ offering, the global logistics company is working with Abbott U.S. to deliver the BinaxNOW™ rapid antigen test to those who need it.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) withdrawing its US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Real-Time RT-PCR test as of December 31st, a test that was widely used nationwide will no longer be available.

There are other PCR tests currently available, but the use of Abbott Diagnostics’ BinaxNOW™ rapid antigen test is expected to increase as the coronavirus and the newest variant (Omicron) continues to impact individuals worldwide.

A long-time logistics partner for Abbott Diagnostics, DB Schenker will be standing by to help as the market shifts its focus away from the CDC’s PCR test and over to other options. In June, for example, Roche was granted EUA for its cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic acid test for use on the cobas® Liat® System, which can identify an infection within 20 minutes.

“With the evolution of the Covid virus and the widespread presence it is imperative to have in place testing solutions that meet the growing needs of the global population,” said Quraish Baldiwala, Senior Director, Global Distribution, Abbott Diagnostics. “We recognize the challenge facing the world and our focus on Science has helped Abbott pioneer multiple tests across multiple platforms to help conduct testing in a safe and compliant manner. From the Rapid tests to Serology tests, Abbott is committed to providing options for our patients, healthcare providers, and institutions to help in the fight against Covid.”

Heavy Involvement in Test Distribution

Through its DB SCHENKERlife+ offering, the global logistics provider offers exceptional quality, unconditional security and fully reliable logistics services to a wide range of healthcare organizations.

A logistics solution created specifically for the healthcare industry, SCHENKERlife+ is designed and customized to the shipper’s precise requirements. Some of the key program features include transportation and logistics services; an extensive global network; strict adherence to local and international compliance; and superior end-to-end visibility.

Combined, these capabilities are helping healthcare companies successfully navigate today’s supply chain, transportation capacity and labor challenges without compromising patient care.

“Because of this development, we expect to see higher demand for Abbott’s tests in early-2022,” said Lorant Kovacs, Regional Head of Vertical Market Healthcare for DB Schenker, a logistics provider that’s been on the front lines of the battle against COVID since March 2020. At that point, the company pivoted quickly, making strategic investments in its air freight network and taking other steps to support the supply chains of its healthcare customers.

“Since then, we’ve continued to partner with Abbott Diagnostics and other providers to deliver these vital testing kits to Europe, Asia, Australia and other global markets,” said Kovacs. “We’re heavily involved.”

Making the Investment

Along with supporting the distribution of COVID testing worldwide, DB Schenker is also working to secure airfreight capacity at a time when passenger flights — which carry the cargo in their bellies — have yet to return to pre-COVID frequencies. With countries worldwide going back into lockdown due to Omicron, Kovacs said international air travel remains in flux.

“More than half of pre-pandemic global commerce was transported in these passenger planes,” said Kovacs. “With much of that capacity disappearing, we continue to invest in and build out our robust airfreight network.”

The global logistics provider is also investing in various airfreight hubs around the US. In 2021 it leased space at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, for example, and has used this alternate to Chicago-O’Hare as its midwestern US hub. Also in 2021, DB Schenker expanded its existing Indianapolis logistics facility to include a new 5,000sf cold room and 50,000sf of controlled room temperature space.

“We operate many flights in and out of these locations, and we’re continuing to invest in them,” said Kovacs. “We’re also considering similar moves in other areas of the US, where we’ll be adding more cold chain infrastructure to handle pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and other patient care products.”