In spite of a well-developed instrument such as the IATA Pharma CEIV programme, the standardisation of supply chain processes is not yet mainstream, so criticized during the 4th FlyPharma
Europe Conference in Brussels on 5 and 6 June.
Reference to the programme regularly popped up during the presentations which, together, formed a holistic approach to pharma shipping. Brussels Airport Company’s Director Strategic Development Piet Demunter reminded the audience of the lead the airport had taken in the implementation of the programme, not only at home, but also worldwide.
“Brussels is in the middle of a big pharma cluster so we wanted to provide critical services for pharma logistics from an ambition to take a leadership role. We developed the BRU CEIV pharma first locally, then approached IATA for collaboration. The pilot project with the airport community led to 25 operators being CEIV certified. Given the critical role of airside handling in the process, we joined forces to develop the dedicated pharma dolly”.
“Our BRUCloud data exchange platform monitors the operations”, said Mr Demunter. He also referred to the pioneer role BRU had played in setting up the umbrella organisation Pharma.aero with Miami Airport.
Praise for European collaboration model
To date there are no direct flights between the two airports, but it is expected that Amerijet’s new cargo service will take off at the end of this quarter. “BRU is the largest gateway for pharma that’s why we chose BRU”, said the airline’s Director of Marketing Christine Richard.
The major sourcing for pharmaceuticals in the U.S. is Puerto Rico, home to 25 large pharma plants and generating 25% of the U.S. pharma export. After the devastation of the island and its production facilities by hurricane Maria in September 2017, Amerijet played a critical role in getting the production restarted, said Ms Richard
Amerijet’s Miami hub connects with the rest of the Caribbean and South-America and will open these markets also to Europe thanks to the BRU service. Ms Richard also said that she was always
pleasantly surprised by the collaboration model demonstrated in Europe, which is not yet copied in the U.S. “In the U.S. these shipments are not properly documented,” she regretted.
Standardisation is critical
She went on to say: “Sometimes pharmaceuticals are delivered as general cargo, without any indication that they are temperature-sensitive. The forwarder is our customer, we do not deal directly with the pharmaceutical industry. We asked our customers to be able to sit together with their customers – the shippers - but unfortunately we have not been asked.”
Even so, Ms Richard insisted that, as an airline, you can really make a difference in transporting pharma. It is about ensuring the integrity of the supply chain, thanks to the transparency
through technology and real time reporting of temperature and transit updates or Proof of Delivery (POD). “What you need is an active collaboration between pharma manufacturers, agents and
Therefore, “you need to align your schedules with the customers’ needs, set up CEIV trade lanes and airports.”
Ms Richard’s advice to the shippers was that standardising the movement of pharmaceuticals is critical. “When subcontracting remember that there is a difference between procurement and quality control. Look at who your transportation partners are.” To which someone from the audience reacted by stating that “procurement wants to have the best price and the logistics department has to deal with all the other aspects.”
In a follow-up, CargoForwarder Global will highlight the upgrade of the CEIV Pharma programme IATA has been working on.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels