All’s Quiet on the Pharma Front - or is it?

Not hearing much these days as to how the airlines, airports and ground handlers are tackling the problems around the pharmaceutical supply chain.
There was much discussion within IATA and other premiums on the urgent need to catch up and beat their sea-freight competitors.

Pharma products are increasingly migrating from air to sea  -  courtesy Hapag-Lloyd
Pharma products are increasingly migrating from air to sea - courtesy Hapag-Lloyd

What is going on?
Fact is that there has been a more than 6 percent decline in pharma volumes transported by air between the turn of the century and 2013.
This is a worrying figure considering that the aviation handling world had considered themselves as the “transporters of choice” by the pharma producers.

On the other side - the ocean carriers which were at that time slugged off as being too slow and cumbersome - have increased their volume of pharma carriage by now almost 10 percent year-by-year.

Many might argue that air freight remains the preferred mode of transport for sensitive, perishable and pharma products due to the faster transit time.
It seems however, that despite all the good intentions voiced towards the end of last year by the airline industry (IATA) that “we are taking the ocean threat seriously and urgently need transparency and better action throughout the supply chain” - that nothing really has happened.

Or - have we missed something?
The intention was (or still is) that there must be a much closer cooperation between all within the air freight supply chain in order to give the pharma industry a watertight transport chain and secondly to work together with the industry on new methods of transport, cooling and delivery at destination.

Why is it then that DHL Global Forwarding has decided to also use ocean freight for their Thermonet Life Science product, which until now has only moved by air?
Are they fed up with no action so far or are they just “testing the waters” to see how well ocean freight handles their top products?

Others within the air freight scene will openly tell us that due to lack of initiate and action that the pharma industry is losing its patience and trust as to whether a concerted aviation cooperation will ever come about.

If so, a shame, as the airlines, airports and handlers all need the revenues to be gained from the ever growing pharma industry.

John Mc Donagh

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    CHEN Hua (Friday, 08 July 2016 10:11)

    As for DHL GLOBAL Forwarding, their product is Thermonet life science , not Thermoset, pls kindly check

    Chen Hua

  • #2

    Heiner Siegmund (Friday, 08 July 2016)

    Thank you for advice.
    Have changed misspelling.
    Rgds, HS