When it comes to preparing for the largest global logistical challenge the air cargo industry is facing, namely the transport of the COVID-19 vaccines once they are finally developed, routes, aircraft, storage, and distribution centers, are one aspect. The other key issue is packaging and contents-monitoring. CSafe Global has been ramping up on its shipment visibility capabilities.
Vaccines are fragile. Errors in transportation are costly – not simply financially, but in the worst case, they can result in fatalities. Many vaccines are freeze-sensitive, others need to be kept in a stable, set temperature-range. This poses a huge challenge for end-to-end supply chains, since the vaccine needs to experience the right conditions from the moment it is manufactured, through to being transported to the airport, being handled in the warehouse in preparation for the flight, being driven to the aircraft, loaded, flown, unloaded, handled in warehouse, handed over to distributer, and all the way through to administration to the end-customer. With most air cargo locations worldwide not optimally set up for this kind of business, there are risks involved.
Minimizing the risks through real-time data monitoring
Risks can be minimized through accurate data monitoring of temperature-sensitive shipments. CSafe Global has been focusing on solving an age-old requirement when it comes to cool shipments: Real-time information. Usually, temperature fluctuations and other deviations can only be detected post-transportation, when looking at the recorded readings – and often too late to rectify a situation. CSafe Global, spurred on by other digital innovations within logistics, decided to work on upgrading shipment tracking. It already ran a first pilot in the summer, looking at the effectiveness of a Sendum PT300 hardware device within its RKN and RAP containers, in providing and transmitting real-time status information as and when required. “The tracking device plus installed temperature probes record and transmit GPS location, ambient temperature and humidity, payload temperature, container tilt, container shock and container door opening and closing events.”
Together with DHL Global Forwarding “Six CSafe RKN containers successfully completed a DHL shipment from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago, IL. All tracking devices installed within the containers signaled appropriately and recorded data throughout the shipment. The Sendum PT300 works well within CSafe’s Air Cargo containers to measure, record and transmit data throughout the shipment. The next case study will confirm the accuracy of the Sendum PT300 data by comparing it to the shipment log files recorded directly from the container.”
Data-accuracy confirmed by second pilot completed in August
“It’s not enough to collect and transmit data,” Tom Weir, CSafe’s Chief Operating Officer explained. “We must be certain the information being supplied to our customers and partners reflects the actual real-time conditions of the container and the payload. Offering complete confidence in the real-time data, provides the assurance our customers need that their products are secure or that intervention is required to preserve a payload. This is what the pharmaceutical industry has been requesting and I am pleased to report that this and subsequent tests have been extremely successful. The hardware and software systems are performing as expected and we are moving into the next phase of testing.”
Working once more with DHL Global Forwarding, 2 containers were sent on their way from Vienna, Austria to Chicago, USA at the start of August, again containing the tracking device, with the aim this time of comparing the “data accuracy between the real-time data delivered and the data recorded and stored in the containers.”
The result: “In conclusion, the cargo temperature, as reported by the PT300D, matched the cargo temperature generated by the RAP’s TMS, and was
accessible throughout the entire duration of every container movement, granting the observer immediate insight regarding the status.”
First to successfully implement end-to-end shipment visibility
So far, CSafe Global, has completed more than 20 pilot test shipments and published the results in a white paper on its website. It is so far “the first cold chain packaging provider to successfully implement end-to-end shipment visibility capability” Weir concludes “The entire project team along with our partners on this project could not be more pleased with these results. Not only does it confirm that we have chosen the right hardware and software, but also that the planning, effort, and investment we’ve made has been well worth it. We are now preparing for the next testing phase and expect similar results.”
With the initial footwork done, the air logistics industry is one step closer to improved temperature-sensitive transportation.
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