UPS runs a big healthcare business in Cologne Airport’s backyard

Integrated into a 172,000 m² logistics campus in the southern part of the Dutch province of Limburg, a mere 1 hour drive from Cologne-Bonn Airport, the UPS Healthcare Facility Roermond supports a fast-growing business.

Pharmaport Container  / UPS courtesy
Pharmaport Container / UPS courtesy

It was in Germany that UPS set up a stronghold in 1976, that UPS launched its European conquest campaign. That was in 1986. Today the Old Continent employs 44,000 out of the group’s 77,000 international staff. From its air hub in Cologne UPS serves 52 intra-European and 13 intercontinental airports, with its owned 237 or 388 chartered aircraft.

Together with B2C and emerging markets, healthcare is a driver of UPS’s development strategy. According to Jan Denecker, Marketing Manager Healthcare EME, 80% of the products within this niche will be transported in temperature conditions between +2 and +8° C by 2016. For this specific business UPS has developed its UPS Temperature True service package, which comes in three options. ‘Plus’ is the most comprehensive service, guaranteeing direct routes served by certified ‘pharma and healthcare’ carriers for both active and passive consignments. ‘Standard’ too is a direct air service, served by preferred carriers. ‘Saver’, on the other hand, is an FCL ocean freight service offered because, even in this specific logistics segment, shippers are seeking cost-effective solutions, says Denecker.

This March, UPS also launched its UPS Proactive Response Secure in the main European markets, combining monitoring and risk management. With this new service product UPS wants to respond to the main complaints emerging from an inquiry among the pharma and healthcare shipping community. The study revealed that damaged or spoilt products have a large impact on their business. ‘Proactive Response’ aims at delivery of sensitive consignments even when unexpected circumstances occur and covers possible losses in case of damage or decay. Supporting the service packages is UPS’s self-designed ‘Pharmaport 360’ air cargo container, able to maintain a pre-set temperature up to 5 days and enabling monitoring through a GPS-connected logger.

Rob de Roock
Rob de Roock

VAT deferment system
And then there is, of course UPS’s 20,000 m² Healthcare Facility at Roermond, part of a 172,000 m² self-owned Logistics Campus. It is divided over 9 facilities 5 of which are located at Roermond and 4 at neighbouring Venlo. The combined sites owe a lot to the vicinity of the major European sea- and airports, especially the Konrad Adenauer airport. “Over 200 potential customers can be found within a 1,000 km radius”, says Rob De Roock, UPS Operations Manager Health Europe.

This location within the ‘Blue Banana’ is part of the success as a prime location for logistics of this narrow stretch of Dutch territory squeezed in between the Belgian namesake province and the German ’Bundesland’ North Rhine-Westphalia. Another  is the favourable VAT deferment system for non-resident importers the Dutch share with the Belgians, but which is–so far- non-existent in neighbouring Germany.

In all, UPS boasts 44 dedicated healthcare facilities in all continents, except Africa. Their total capacity is 600,000 m². Apart from Roermond and Venlo, the other European healthcare centres are in Cologne, Leighton Buzzard (UK), Milan, Rome, Madrid and Budapest.

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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