Pharma.Aero Umbrella Organisation Officially Launched

Pharma Aero, the new umbrella organisation initiated by Brussels Airport and Miami International Airport, was officially kicked off at the TIACA Forum in Paris. Five other parties have stepped in. One day earlier Brussels Airport had already presented the upgraded version of its "Airside Pharma Transporter.”

BRU Cargo’s Nathan de Valck is chairing Pharma.Aero  -  picture: hs
BRU Cargo’s Nathan de Valck is chairing Pharma.Aero - picture: hs

One of the prerequisites for Pharma.Aero membership is a certification and full endorsement of the standards set out in the IATA Pharma CEIV (Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators) scheme. Brussels Airport was the first airport worldwide and consequently also in Europe, to adopt the programme. Miami International Airport was the first in the U.S. and the second worldwide.
Singapore Changi International Airport, which has also joined the club, will be the first Asian gateway to embark on the CEIV-programme, said Managing Director Lim Ching Kiat, pointing out that the airport anticipates further growth in the pharmaceuticals segment. During the first 9 months of 2016 this niche has already grown by 19% y-o-y.
Another airport to embrace Pharma.Aero, is Sharjah International. According to Director Faisal Al Qassimi Sharjah too has committed itself to become the first certified airport in the Middle East earlier this year.


Growing the pie as a whole
So far, two airlines have acquired Pharma.Aero membership: Singapore Airlines Cargo and Brussels Airlines Cargo. Both stressed the growing importance of the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets for the air cargo industry. The other new kid on the block is specialised logistics provider Brink’s Life Sciences.
Jimmy Nares, Section Chief Marketing Division Miami International Airport, delivered a short message form director Emilio T. Gonzales of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. It said that the new umbrella organisation will trigger further growth of Miami as a pharmaceutical gateway.
“For us it is a natural development from our know-how as a perishables gateway,” Jimmy added. “Apart from us, 6 other companies are already IATA Pharma CEIV certified and 2 others are on the way.” Pharma.Aero is not about allowing each member to grow his piece of the cake, he concluded. “We want to grow the whole pie.”

The “Airside Pharma Transporter” was first shown at TIACA  -  picture: ms
The “Airside Pharma Transporter” was first shown at TIACA - picture: ms

Other airports to step in
Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo Brussels Airport, said that pharma shippers are looking for fewer airports to use as gateways and prefer more consolidated flows. Pharma.Aero, together with the manufacturers, is looking at ways to facilitate this process. “In recent years, we have learned that pharma manufacturers will rather talk to us than to airlines or forwarders directly, as the commercial links or relations are smaller.” He went on to say: “Having these shippers on board is also crucial for us, as we really would like our agenda to be shipper-driven and we insist on delivering content to the benefit of the pharmaceutical companies.” According to Steven other airports and airlines are considering to step in and new names will be announced in the not too far future.
Pharma.Aero is chaired by Nathan De Valck, Cargo & Product Development Manager at Brussels Airport. He said that the organisation’s members will foster route certification and development of pharmaceutical trade lanes, implementation of best practices and share market knowledge and expertise.


An upgraded Pharma Transporter
Prior to the Pharma.Aero launch, Brussels Airport staged its own show by demonstrating the upgrade version of its "Airside Pharma Transporter.” Using a new type of cooling technology and relying on solar power technology to operate autonomously for several days, this is the active version of the dolly. It is pre-conditioned at the correct temperature in order to hold pharmaceutical shipments within the correct temperature limits during transportation between warehouses and aircraft at an affordable cost.

Active cooling
“The active version of the Airside Pharma Transporter is a first,” says Nathan, “because it ensures that the inside temperature is always and automatically pre-conditioned at the correct temperature. This eliminates the need for the handling agents to condition the transport vehicle and results in quicker cycle times between different transports.”
Steven Polmans explains: “Given the high demand on peak hours, we can now add an extra available slot for airlines or forwarders to make a booking. This is a clear economic benefit compared to the passive version that was already in use.” According to Nathan several forwarders and airlines are setting up new commercial services for controlled temperature transport, using the Airside Pharma Transporters.

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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