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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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Union Assurance empowers its policyholders by introducing free COVID-19 life coverage

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Union Assurance PLC being one of the largest insurance solution providers in Sri Lanka has further established their commitment towards the nation by staying true to its promise, ‘Your Life, Our Strength’. In turbulent times such as COVID-19, the company has taken initiative to persevere and adapt by responding to customers’ needs irrespective of the unanticipated circumstances presented.

The free COVID-19 cover has been reinstated to support both existing and new policyholders to ensure additional protection during these uncertain times. The cover provides a free death cover up to a maximum of LKR 1 million per policyholder. This free cover is valid for a period of one month commencing from 02nd November 2020 to 01st December 2020.
Union Assurance was also recognized as one of the first life insurance companies to offer hospital cash benefits for quarantine treatments since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The company therefore assures all its valued policyholders this initiative would be continued in which hospitalization per day claims directly resulting from COVID-19 will be considered from 20th October to 31st December 2020.

Amidst grave adversity Union Assurance strives to provide its unwavering commitment in offering the best in class protection coverages to its policyholders while ensuring that their families are financially empowered to face any challenge and uncertainty.

Jude Gomes, Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health, economic and social crisis and has affected people from all walks of life. We offer this timely protection cover free of charge to provide our policyholders the added peace of mind that the future of their families will be secured during these uncertain times. The specialty of this cover is that it is not just limited to our existing policyholders but is also offered to new customers and thereby giving Sri Lankans access to secure the future of their families.”

To obtain more information about this free COIVD 19 cover, call the Union Assurance 24-hour hotline on 1330, email: info@unionassurance.com; or chat with the company on www.unionassurance.com
Union Assurance is the oldest private life insurer in Sri Lanka, and is a member of the John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate. Union Assurance completes over three decades of success in the industry with a market capitalization of Rs. 18 Bn, a Life Fund of Rs. 38 Bn and a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 434% as at August 2020. Set to empower the Sri Lankan Dream, Union Assurance offers Life Insurance solutions that cover education, health, protection, retirement, and investment needs of Sri Lankans. With 76 branches and an over 3000-strong workforce, Union Assurance continues to invest in people, products, and processes to remain agile and responsive to emerging changes in the Life Insurance industry.

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Seylan Bank partners with Mastercard to facilitate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services

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Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, recently partnered with Mastercard to integrate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) – a technology platform to enable easy and secure acceptance of a wide range of digital payment methods for Seylan customers.

As the need for digitization of banking products and services grows globally, banks are continuing to evolve their Internet Payment Gateways (IPG) to introduce new technologies offering heightened customer convenience and security of digital transactions. By partnering with Mastercard and facilitating the MPGS platform, Seylan customers, merchants, and industry partners will benefit from a range of features, delivering an enhanced user experience.

Commenting on this, Chaminda Senewiratne – Head of Digital Banking Channels at Seylan Bank said “The MasterCard Payment Gateway Service will transform digital transactions, further eliminating the need for cash payments. We at Seylan Bank, are proud to partner with Mastercard, one of the world’s leading payment platforms to offer our customers the MPGS service. Our customers can now experience an elevated, secure, reliable, and fast digital payment process, making the payment gateway a desirable channel giving merchants a chance to take their businesses global and accept payments from customers through the gateway.

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AIA Wealth Planner Krishan Dassanayaka internationally honoured

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AIA Insurance’s Wealth Planner, Krishan Wasantha Dassanayaka, has been honoured by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) with an invitation to serve on the Membership Communications Committee (MCC) as Country Chair for Sri Lanka, AIA said in a news release.

The MCC is a network of more than 400 members worldwide who are responsible for promoting MDRT and communicating information to current and aspiring members, companies, and other industry organizations and reporting the needs and concerns of members to the MDRT Executive Committee and MDRT headquarters in the USA.

It is a global and independent association that is internationally recognised as the standard of excellence in life insurance and financial services. MDRT has an overall membership of 72,000 from over 500 companies in 70 countries. Its members are required to generate a certain level of premium, commission and income, and demonstrate professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.

AIA said Dassanayake’s was an outstanding achievement both personally and professionally and one which has brought great pride to person and organization.

“With this prestigious new appointment, Krishan will work with the global MDRT team for innovative ideation, groundbreaking implementation and achieving high-quality results,” the release said.

Having joined AIA Insurance as a Wealth Planner in 2003, he has always been a top performer and source of pride to the organisation and had won a host of national awards including the Golden Eagle (2009) and Silver Eagle several times as well as being recognized by AIA as a ‘Premier Wealth Planner’ for six straight years and as a ‘Supreme Wealth Planner’ for four years running.

 

 

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