Last Wednesday (13JUL22), ULD specialist, DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, and Japan Airlines inked a Master Rental Agreement for the utilization of temperature-controlled Opticooler boxes. It is a reaction to Japan’s fast-growing exports and imports of vaccines and pharmaceutical products. Since Japan, in particular, is an important producer of pharmaceutical products, providing reliable cool chain capacities is of great importance, states Andreas Seitz (AS), Managing Director of DoKaSch Temperature Solutions. CargoForwarder Global (CFG) spoke with the executive following the signing of the JAL deal.
CFG: The impression is that DoKaSch-TS is focusing increasingly on the Asian market. Is this assumption correct?
AS: We are extending our business globally, and pursuing a very clear strategy for Asia. So far, we have established depots and offices in several countries. For example, we operate service stations with depots for our Opticoolers in Hyderabad, India, as well as in Tokyo, Japan, and Beijing, China, and we have an own sales office in Japan. At the same time, we are expanding our network of international carriers, such as with Japan Airlines just now. This allows customers to book our Opticoolers for the transport of temperature-sensitive items within JAL’s global network, especially on routes to and from Japan.
CFG: Apart from the JAL agreement, do we see a modal shift in the pharmaceutical sector from air to ocean, or even land, caused by the grave capacity shortage in air transportation?
AS: Currently, neither sea nor land transports are an alternative to air carriage, as both are also facing severe capacity bottlenecks, and are characterized by imponderables in many cases. In addition, a shift from air to ocean or to land transport ups the number of interfaces. This lengthens runtimes, increases risks, and endangers the integrity of temperature-critical products. Our aim is to minimize the uncertainties and imponderabilities, by designing flows of cool products that are secure.
CFG: What about passive packaging systems? Are they not an important supplement or even alternative to active systems, such as the DoKaSch Opticooler, at least in some parts of the world with limited air connectivity and poor infrastructure?
AS: Of course, passive solutions have their raison d'être, especially in rural areas and for consignments that are smaller than a pallet. However, passive solutions are exposed to higher risks regarding temperature deviations, due to their often very limited transit time and in view of the uncertain supply chains. We, as DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, offer a solution for intercontinental transports of temperature-sensitive high risk/high value goods. With the new and so far, unique Cooling-Only program, the Opticooler containers are also capable of combining passive and active solutions. During transport in the active Opticooler, passive solutions retain their full runtime and predetermined temperature until being unloaded at the destination airport.
CFG: Is an Opticooler successor listed on your short or mid-term agenda?
AS: Not really, since the Opticooler has been constantly improved and we continue optimizing it. Hence, we see no need to develop a completely new ULD for cool products. An important innovation is the cooling-only program as just mentioned. It is unparalleled and has become our USP. Also, we have recently revised the operating display, making the Opticooler even more user-friendly and easy to handle in daily operation.
CFG: What growth numbers of pharmaceutical products for the next 5 years do you expect - worldwide?
AS: Despite the current uncertainties in global logistics as well as the world economy, we are convinced that the demand for the safe transportation of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals will continue to grow. At DoKaSch-TS, we expect healthy growth rates for our business since the vast majority of new drugs coming onto the market require a temperature-controlled environment from production to delivery.
CFG: And what are the hot spots that will set the tone?
AS: In addition to the traditional locations such as Europe and the USA, China, South Korea, and India are also becoming important producers of high-quality pharmaceuticals.
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