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India’s airliners, airports get ready for Operation Covid Vaccine Delivery

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, November 21:

Indian airliners and airport operators have started preparing for the mammoth task of taking Covid vaccines across this sprawling country of 1.38 billion people.

While meeting Pfizer’s minus 70 degrees Celsius requirement for its vaccines will be “difficult”, they are gearing up to set up cold chain storage for the jab job that needs to be done on an unprecedented scale of several million shots to even begin with.The GMR Group, which operates Delhi and Hyderabad airports, says the air cargo units of both these places are getting ready to “play a pivotal role in the distribution of vaccines through state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution system” with cool chambers ranging from +25°C to -20°C.

Budget carrier SpiceJet’s cargo arm SpiceXpress has tied up with global cold chain solution providers to perform seamless cold chain operations and offers cargo shipment with controlled ambient temperature between +25 degrees Celsius to -40 degrees Celsius.

Many other airports and airlines are also learnt to be preparing for vaccine transportation — possibly the largest ever air cargo opportunity so far.Delhi Airport has two cargo terminals that can handle over 150,000 metric tonne (1 MT is 1,000 kg), and has “temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from +25°C to -20°C, which will be extremely conducive for distribution of Covid 19 vaccines,” said a spokesperson.”There are cool dollies at the airside that ensure unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft. The terminals have separate gates for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport. Delhi Airport has set up a dedicated ‘transshipment excellence centre’ on airside that will help in fast movement of vaccines through transshipment,” he added.A Hyderabad airport spokesperson said the GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) is located in the epicentre of India’s vaccine production region. GHAC has India’s first pharma zone with certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.

“The terminal is equipped with various temperature zones from -20 to +25 degrees Celsius … The freighter parking stands are just 50 metre away from the terminal, thereby minimising ramp exposure timing … we recently launched latest cool dollies — mobile refrigeration units for airside transportation designed to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the unbroken cool chain,” he said.

The GHAC claims to have “one of India’s largest storage facility for cool containers … We are also upgrading infrastructure to double the capacity on both landside and airside to handle the upcoming surge in volumes,” he added.

A SpiceJet official official said: “SpiceXpress offers cargo shipment with controlled ambient temperature between +25 degrees Celsius to -40 degrees Celsius. The service is suitable for sensitive drugs, vaccines and blood samples. To suit the need of the cargo, containers can (be given) extra protection of thermal blankets if required. There are transit points with chillers to replace the gel packs and ensure real-time temperature monitoring with alarm system to ensure stability.”

The SpiceXpress’ cold chain management is synchronized with end to end logistics and that shipment of cargo is completely temperature controlled right from the warehouse to the aircraft hold area, he added.

The budget airline, which has operated over 10,000 flights carrying more than 80,000 tonnes of cargo from march 25 till date, says it has “sufficient capacity to cater to the rise in demand for the Covid-19 vaccine shipments. We have been transporting vaccine shipments to various international as well as domestic destinations. A lot of things that we carry like blood samples need a temperature-controlled environment and today we have that facility both in our planes and our ground support vehicles.”



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Rootcode wins Startup of the Year and People’s Choice Award at SAARC Startup Awards 2022

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Rootcode, one of Sri Lanka’s leading tech companies, recently took home the “People’s Choice Award” in addition to being bestowed with the “Startup of the Year” title at the SAARC Startup Awards 2022. This regional recognition marks a significant milestone for the Sri Lankan tech space and workforce. Rootcode’s mission to build great tech is well underway, and it is gaining traction faster than ever.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan tech company has made a name for itself in the regional competition, and it is a watershed moment that has focused the global spotlight on Rootcode’s distinct approach to fostering innovation in Sri Lanka. This is also the first time that a Sri Lankan company was able to take home two awards of those presented at the SAARC Startup Awards.

Global Startup Awards SAARC celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship and promotes bridging boundaries through innovation in its regions, which include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, by recognizing them with its most prestigious awards program, attended by top-notch entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, and ecosystem builders from Nordic, Central Europe, SAARC, and ASEAN regions.

Every year, the SAARC Startup Awards bring together hundreds of South Asian startups, entrepreneurs, investors, co-working spaces, and accelerators to provide a platform to highlight trailblazers in the region’s startup world. Rootcode was chosen ahead of dozens of other regional tech startups in the competition.

Sri Lanka is a relative newcomer to the South Asian startup fraternity, and Rootcode’s ability to represent the country on the global stage not long after its inception is remarkable.

“We are extremely humbled and honored by the support shown to us at the SAARC Startup Awards 2022, and being recognized under two categories is a huge milestone for us,” said the CEO and Founder of Rootcode Labs, Alagan Mahalingam. “We have always been driven forward by excellence, collaboration, and integrity, which I believe is the reason why we have come so far and why Rootcode continues to grow every day.”

Rootcode is driven by its focus on helping businesses build great tech not just locally but globally, and its achievement at the SAARC awards stands as a testament to that. Despite the challenging times, this is a win for Sri Lanka.

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INSEE Cement felicitates Sri Lanka’s youngest Commonwealth medallist

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INSEE Cement awarded aspiring wrestler, Nethmi Ahimsa Fernando, who won a Bronze Medal for Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, LKR 1 million cash reward, to support her to pursue her passion. Suranga Kumara, her coach, also received LKR 250,000 cash reward, in appreciation of his contribution towards Nethmi’s recent achievements. INSEE Cement has also pledged to support Nethmi’s aspiration to represent Sri Lanka at the 2024 Olympic games, while also providing the entire cement requirement for the completion of her new house, which is presently under construction, in collaboration with the Manusath Derana initiative.

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Textile maker Teejay knits strong start to 2022-23

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Q1 revenue more than doubles to Rs 23.9 billion

Teejay Lanka PLC has made a positive start to 2022-23 posting Group revenue of Rs 23.9 billion for the three months ending 30th June 2022. The Group achieved nearly half its full-year revenue of 2021-22 in just the first quarter of the new financial year as a result of the low base of the previous financial year due to the impacts of COVID, the depreciation of the Rupee and the passing on of yarn price increases during the last quarter.

In a filing with the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), Sri Lanka’s largest textile manufacturer said it had also recorded significant growth in pre-tax and net profit at both Group and Company level in the quarter reviewed.According to interim financial statements, Group profit before tax for the three months grew by more than Rs 1 billion or 291% to Rs 1.5 billion, while Group net profit for the period was up 301% to Rs 1.2 billion.

At Company level, revenue improved by 108% in the quarter under review to Rs 12.9 billion, while profit before tax grew by 323% to Rs 1.5 billion, and net profit increased by 311% to Rs 1.3 billion.

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