With the start of the first phase of the country-wide vaccination drive against COVID-19, Daimler Indian Commercial Vehicles (DICV) and Motherson Sumi have launched a customised refrigerated truck to transport the vaccines.
While the 28 tonne BharatBenz truck is made by the Chennai-based truck and bus maker DICV, the refrigerated container mounted on it is developed by the Motherson Sumi Group, India’s largest auto component maker.
The purpose-built truck can store vaccines up to a maximum of negative 20 degree which can be monitored at all stages of the delivery process. The truck comes with an app that monitors the temperature during the entire transit process to maintain the efficacy of the vaccine.
For security purposes Motherson Sumi has even installed sensors on the vehicle which can alert the driver in case the doors are opened during transit.
Satyakam Arya, Managing Director, and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, said, “With this truck, we can deliver vaccines in perfect condition to even the most remote destinations. We are discussing with cold chain service providers and the units of the government for supplies”.
Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Chairman, Motherson Group said, “Our product enables temperature control and tamper monitoring which are critical to ensure effective distribution of the COVID vaccine across India”.
Motherson Group’s refrigerated container is made from Glass Reinforced Plastic, XPS Foam, and other materials that, the group claims, has ensured the product is strong, water-resistant and noncorrosive, yet light-weight and highly insulated.
“The container can be assembled locally in as little as 96 hours, making it a much more practical solution than conventional products which can take three or more weeks to deliver”, stated a media release.
With purpose-built IoT sensors integrated inside the container, fleet managers can monitor temperature, humidity, shock, tilt, and tamper. They can also adjust the temperature as required and sound the alarm if a problem occurs. This further integrates with QR Code tracking of all stock onboard, so that users can check the location, status, and history of each package.
The trucks will come with infection proof fabric as standard, COVID-19 kit which will have the N95 mask, sanitiser and a disinfectant spray. There will be a partition between the driver seat and the driver rest area to maintain safe distancing. An optional UV disinfectant gadget can be purchased separately.
“We expect real demand to come when the second phase of the vaccination begins which is when the vaccination of certain age groups will start. We believe that the current cold storage transport system is inadequate to bear the enormous pressure of transportation. We feel that the entire country needs around 10,000-12,000 reefer trucks”, Arya added.
India is currently administering vaccines to 30 million healthcare and frontline workers under the first phase. The second phase of the programme will probably see around 270 million people aged over 50 getting vaccinated. The rest of the population will get vaccinated in the third and last phase.