In the fight against COVID-19, Gulf partners support UNICEF’s leading COVAX logistics role

In 2021, partners from the Gulf area stepped up by offering logistics capacity and expertise

Lina Y. Elkurd
Delivery of COVAX Supplies
UNICEF/Jok Solomon
30 December 2021

As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and with expertise in procurement and delivery to help children in need, UNICEF is leading logistics on behalf of the COVAX Facility to ensure that all participating countries and territories have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In 2021, partners from the  Gulf area stepped up to support UNICEF’s leading role by offering logistics capacity and expertise.

DP World

In January 2021, DP World and UNICEF have announced a wide-ranging partnership to support the global distribution of COVID-19 and related immunization supplies in low- and lower-middle-income countries. DP World, a leader in global end-to-end supply chain logistics, is providing UNICEF with logistics solutions and supply-chain expertise by using DP World’s warehouse facilities in Dubai for UNICEF to optimize access to many countries.

In May, UNICEF has sent critical life-saving supplies to India, including 2 million face shields and 200,000 surgical masks, with thanks to end-to-end logistics support from DP World, the equipment was dispatched from UNICEF’s warehouse in Dubai to New Delhi to help India battle a deadly wave of COVID-19, support the health care service provided to the children and families.

HOPE Consortium

UNICEF has also received a vital boost from the Abu Dhabi-based HOPE Consortium to transport life-saving supplies to countries battling the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a major in-kind contribution to COVAX.

The HOPE Consortium is a public-private partnership consisting of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Cargo, Rafed, Maqta Gateway and SkyCell, which provides COVID-19 vaccine storage and delivery services out of their hub in Abu Dhabi. The partnership provides transport, storage, handling, sourcing, and global distribution services offering UNICEF and COVAX additional logistics capacity during a time of great need.

In October 2021, the HOPE Consortium facilitated a shipment of critical supplies, including 65 ultra-cold chain freezers for COVID-19 vaccine storage to 21 African countries, many of which are difficult to reach locations, particularly with air travel disruption due to COVID-19 and the nature of the goods being delivered.

DHL Group in Dubai

In January, in response to UNICEF’s request for technical expertise to support COVAX roll-out plans, Deutsche Post DHL Group deployed a team of experts to UNICEF logistics teams in Dubai and Copenhagen. DHL expertise is helping UNICEF track COVID-19 vaccine shipments, monitor supply status and forecasts, and manage COVAX supplies strategically stored in Dubai.


Flexport donated airlifts to bring cold chain equipment to Venezuela and move stored supplies from Shanghai to the UNICEF global supply hub in Dubai. The cold chain equipment helps health workers to keep life-saving vaccines in a temperature-controlled environment and deliver them to child and their families.