Major international delivery company United Parcel Service (UPS 1.87%) is preparing for the potential rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine by readying two large freezer farms, according to a report by Bloomberg this morning. Two locations are being built, one in the state of Kentucky and the other in the Netherlands, to serve the New World and the Old World, respectively. The locations should allow overnight air shipping to nearly anywhere on the planet.
UPS enjoyed robust Q2 2020 earnings as the coronavirus pandemic drove delivery to homebound people avoiding crowded areas where they might catch the respiratory illness. According to the report, business-to-business shipments skyrocketed 65%, and domestic shipments clocked +22.8% gains, giving the shipper a strong earnings boost. UPS shares reached their highest price level since the company went public in late 1999.
While no vaccine for COVID-19 has yet been fully developed, UPS appears to be getting the jump on the likelihood of one being made available in the near future. Together, the two new facilities can keep 28.8 million doses of vaccine on ice simultaneously, storing them at -112° Fahrenheit. The doses will be distributed among 600 massive freezers and are located at primary UPS distribution hubs. The freezers are stand-up designs, not walk-in types, because of the fatally low temperatures they generate.
UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler observed the effort "truly will be a historic supply chain feat to distribute millions, if not billions, of life-saving Covid-19 vaccine vials to far-reaching global populations." He added that "we're well-prepared to support all of these efforts until this pandemic is behind us."