As one of very few carriers worldwide, the Zurich-headquartered airline has received IATA’s Center for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma Certification. This encompasses ground
handling, warehousing, and the carrier’s entire transport process. It follows the CEIV acknowledgement of its Zurich hub, the introduction of so called Quality Corridors and GDP efforts.
Collectively, these initiatives have the potential to become a strong selling point for Swiss WorldCargo in the highly competitive pharma market.
Swiss WorldCargo is no friend of blatant statements or disclosures, as seen by their sober press release sent out last week, announcing the carrier’s IATA CEIV certification without much fuss.
“It might be a question of mentality since Swiss people tend to be rather hesitant when announcing important news,” Susanne Wellauer, Senior Manager Vertical Industry Pharma & Healthcare at
SWC, explains the habitual reluctance.
Major selling point
On closer examination, however, it quickly becomes clear that IATA’s stamp of approval is something of a knightly accolade for SWC, honouring its many fruitful efforts to safeguard product integrity and deliver constant quality to their pharma clients. Seen from such an angle this award, handed over by IATA Chief Alexandre de Juniac, is a major selling point, since it embraces the entire strategic and operational practice of the airline.
The acknowledgement follows a thorough training programme involving the carrier’s entire staff responsible directly or indirectly for pharmaceuticals. The test series included specific training modules focussing on quality management, temperature monitoring, the appropriate storage and transport modes of temperature critical goods and also how to adequately respond to complaints. Additionally, specific terminology relating to the product were reviewed in detail and tested following the training measures. This sharing of know-how and expertise are necessary preconditions to ensure constant product quality because “we aim to be right at the pharma forefront, setting global standards for airlines in transporting, handling or storing of these sensitive goods,” reasons Ms Wellauer.
Mr de Juniac applaudes
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac lauded these efforts when handing over the recognition, congratulating Swiss WorldCargo on this important achievement. “The CEIV Pharma certification demonstrates their commitment to the critical safeguarding of the integrity of pharma products, ensuring these lifesaving products are handled using the best global standards of safety, security, compliance and efficiency,” IATA’s helmsman applauded.
185 quality corridors
In his response, Ashwin Bhat, SWC’s Head of Cargo expressed his pride in what the carrier has achieved in the pharma field up to now, including mapping out international Quality Corridors based on Good Distribution Practice (GDP). The term quality corridor refers to an Origin-Destination combination, where both beginning and end are CEIV- or GDP-certified. For instance, Stockholm would be a CEIV-certified destination, while Zurich-Stockholm is termed as quality corridor.
As of today, the carrier operates 185 quality corridors. An outstanding service acknowledges Swissmedic, Switzerland’s renowned supervising Pharma Authority and Agency for Therapeutic Products.
Thriving pharma business
In his statement, Mr Bhat pointed out that Swiss WorldCargo continues to develop a “pharma road-map” to improve its footprint in the important and growing segment of pharmaceuticals and life sciences. Stated the manager: “Quality, reliability and long-standing experience underscore all our efforts in shipping products around the globe. Our commitment to upholding safety standards throughout our international network offers us opportunities to carry out pharmaceutical shipments around the world.”
Currently, 19 individual stations within SWC’s global network are CEIV certified, with more to come.
In total, pharma products account for 12.5 percent of SWC’s global sales.
It can be expected that this business segment will grow even faster after the International Air Transport Association has welcomed Swiss WorldCargo as latest member in the exclusive CEIV club.