Global shipping giant UPS announced Tuesday it would begin producing thousands of pounds of dry ice per day and provide cold storage facilities along with transportation for COVID-19 vaccines.
In a corporate update, the Atlanta-based parcel delivery company said it would produce 1,200 pounds of dry ice per hour in its US facilities and be able to ship it the next day to hospitals across North America.
UPS is preparing for a significant surge in demand for dry ice and shipping services as the federal government's Operation Warp Speed could distribute upwards of 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the first week after cleared for emergency use. The timing of the demand surge could be as early as Dec. 10.
Long-term storage requirements for the vaccine are -70 degrees Celsius, equivalent to -94 degrees Fahrenheit, and the company has developed special storage containers with dry ice to keep vaccines cold for up to two weeks.
"Enhancing our dry ice production capabilities increases our supply chain agility and reliability immensely when it comes to handling complex vaccines for our customers," said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare.
Wheeler continued: "Healthcare facilities in Louisville, Dallas, and Ontario will ensure we can produce dry ice to sufficiently pack and replenish shipments as needed to keep products viable and effective."
Also, UPS announced a partnership with freezer company Stirling Ultracold to distribute freezers to doctors' offices, pharmacies, and urgent care facilities.
While "vaccine optimism" for weeks boosted the Dow Jones Industrial Average to new record highs, crossed the 30,000 mark on Tuesday - the COVID-19 vaccine will not immediately return things to normal.
See for yourself, while CNBC cheered as stocks hit new highs on Tuesday - food bank lines across America are quickly reappearing as millions of working poor folks face food and housing insecurity this holiday season.