Expansion, Resilience and COVID-19 Vaccines: Lessons from Viracopos Airport, Brazil
Marcelo Mota, Director of Operations & COO, Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos S.A. tells of his experiences moving COVID-19 vaccines into Brazil.
Viracopos International Airport, located in the city of Campinas, state of São Paulo, Brazil, joined the WLP in May 2021. The principal objective behind us joining the world’s first loyalty program for freight forwarders was to promote the airport's Cargo Terminal among countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa through new, more efficient air routes to South America.
Viracopos was chosen as the WLP's air cargo mega-hub in Brazil due to our strategic geographic location in South America, and our importance in the national and international cargo logistics chain. The airport currently receives approximately 40% of the cargo imported to Brazil by air.
In recent months, we have been able to use our knowledge and infrastructure to support the movement of vaccines into Brazil. On 20 July 2021, 1 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine landed at Viracopos airport; it took only 17 minutes to unload the coolers, move them into the cargo terminal, and load them onto refrigerated trucks before being dispensed across the state.
The cargo clearance time for this type of activity used to be six days, but a new partnership between Viracopos Airport, the Internal Revenue Service, National Health Surveillance Agency and Pfizer/BioNTech saw this fall to less than 30 minutes. This type of collaboration sits at the heart of the WLP’s vision, making moving goods and services faster and more efficient.
As the airport’s Operations Director, I anticipate that the WLP will have a material impact on our business over the coming months. Import and export cargo activities are forecasted to increase as a result of the gains both in cost reduction and time efficiency offered to the WLP program’s members.
The WLP also offers Viracopos a key strategic opportunity in consolidating its position as one of the main entry and exit points for cargo in Brazil. The airport's location offers WLP members an unrivalled connection with neighboring countries, including Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, and Chile.
Beyond the gains that we anticipate the WLP delivering for Viracopos Airport, the program is also facilitating the development of business alliances for greater international economic integration of Brazil and the State of São Paulo. This is all in addition to facilitating the transit of goods and a reduction in freight costs, which can favor the country’s export sector and boost the national economy. And with the guidance and support of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, existing WLP partners such as DP World and Emirates SkyCargo will be able to play an important role in advancing Brazil's trade with the world.
We are thrilled to be seeing early signs of the potential of the WLP program, creating opportunities for companies around the world to improve existing trade routes, and develop new ones.
Marcelo Mota, Director of Operations & COO, Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos S.A.