- The oxygen demand has increased by 600-800% after the second wave of COVID-19.
- The supply chain is one of the biggest problems in transporting oxygen to the last mile.
- Ola Foundation partnered with donation platform GiveIndia to provide customers oxygen.
Second-wave of pandemic surge the demand for oxygen
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases has increased the demand for medical oxygen, which is a vital component of COVID-19 treatment. The demand for oxygen in hospitals has reportedly increased by 600-800 percent. The demand for liquid medical oxygen increased from 700 metric tonnes per day (MTPD) to 2,800 MTPD during the first COVID-19 surge. However, during the second wave, it increased to 5,000 MTPD.
Supply chain issue led to oxygen shortage
Liquid oxygen with a purity of 99.5 percent is prepared by manufacturers and processed in jumbo tankers before being shipped to distributors in cryogenic tankers at a specific temperature. A regasification process is used at the distributor level to turn oxygen into gaseous form and fill it into jumbo and dura cylinders. These cylinders are then sold to smaller manufacturers or hospitals directly. The issue is that demand is high, but there aren’t enough cylinders or tankers to store and transport oxygen. India does not have enough cryogenic tankers to ensure that medical oxygen is transported by road 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The time it takes to transport oxygen from one state to another has risen from 3-5 days to 6-8 days. The longer it takes for oxygen to enter a smaller hospital or a remote area, the longer it takes for it to arrive. Smaller suppliers have also expressed concerns about a lack of jumbo and dura cylinders to maintain a steady supply.
Ola supplying oxygen in hospitals
The Ola Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, announced that it has partnered with donation platform GiveIndia to provide customers with oxygen concentrators. With an initial collection of 500 oxygen concentrators, the service, which will be given for free via the Ola app, will begin rolling out in Bengaluru. In the coming weeks, Ola and GiveIndia will roll out up to 10,000 concentrators across the country.
Companies stepping forward to help badly affected states
Reliance Industries Ltd has tweaked manufacturing at its Jamnagar oil refineries to manufacture over 700 tonnes of medical-grade oxygen per day, which is being distributed free of charge to states hard-hit by COVID-19. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) have also started diverting oxygen provided at their refineries to supplement medical oxygen availability in COVID-19-affected states. Razorpay, a digital payments solutions provider, announced that it has allowed a ‘Donate Now’ option on all of its merchants’ payment checkout pages. Allowing them to nudge their customers to donate any amount after they complete their payment.