Pharma - Ensuring Correct Temperature Control

Pharmaceutical production and transport throughout the globe has been a matter of discussion for the past few years as more and more companies in various worldwide production areas jockey for a position in this still lucrative market segment.
The so called “supply chain” and its effective running has been the subject of articles that CargoForwarder Global has initiated during the past two years.
But - what about temperature control - is it working?

Model example of door-door pharma supply chain  -  courtesy Zuellig Pharma
Model example of door-door pharma supply chain - courtesy Zuellig Pharma

A slight rise in temperature can be deadly
It sounds banal, but in most cases it is true (read more about this topic in our report “Flying Fridges …”).
Pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive products are being manufactured in all sorts of countries and are heavily reliant on speedy, efficient and temperature controlled modes of transport.
From India to the United States, From Puerto Rico to South Africa - and so on. These are the routes, many of them long, which pharma takes, whether by air or ocean.
However, the message is coming across as airports, handlers and carriers have started investing huge sums in either modernizing present cool facilities or started erecting new ones.
But - that’s only part of the solution as temperature control is essential throughout the complete supply chain and there is no allowance for any slight variance whether at origin, along the way or at destination.

China is also fast becoming an important pharmaceutical market, but cooling facilities in this vast country, although often there, need urgent modernization and this will entail the investment of huge sums of money.
The Hong Kong-based Swire company, which once held the honourable “Tai-Pan” title, has seen the opportunities in this sector and is investing in cooling facilities airports across China. It will however take many years to accomplish this.

India is another good example, but here financing of modern temperature controlled warehouses and units is more problematic.


CEIV is up-and-running
The IATA initiated Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in the Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV) is, as we’ve often reported, catching on fast in the air cargo industry.
Everybody wants it - but is it being utilized effectively?
Especially as far as temperature control throughout the supply chain is concerned.
Moreover, are staff being adequately trained for CEIV’s implementation, once gained?
The CEIV certification is, among other things, geared towards ensuring temperature control is implemented, monitored and adjusted en-route where necessary.
The in the meantime well known complaints from shippers who are moving back to ocean freight for pharma transport, is that the air cargo industry “still has not got it right on temp-control along the way.”
The wise ones state that the losses incurred by the shippers due to faulty handling amount to anywhere between US$3 billion to US$13 billion.
Maybe somewhat exaggerated, but fact is that there is a shift back to sea freight.

Regardless of where it happens, be it in the road transport mode, the airport handling or in the air, faulty temperatures cannot be allowed to happen and well trained staff and better monitoring methods are a must if the air cargo industry wants to become the pharma industry’s “preferred carrier.”

John Mc Donagh 

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