...by launching a self-sustaining cargo container to transport lifesaving medicines and other urgent shipments. Recently, the first container containing sensitive medical items flew from Zurich to San Francisco. Its journey started in Basel, where it was filled with the products before being trucked to Zurich Airport, and loaded in the lower deck compartment of a Swiss transatlantic flight.
Swiss WorldCargo claims that the net weight does not exceed 390 kg - that is 250 kg less that other containers used for temperature-critical items, produced and operated by competitors. The contrasting figure results from a comparison in which a couple of similar containers were weighed to determine their net weight. “Their tare weight was between 640 kg and 670 kg, depending on the different products, while the needle of the scale stopped at 390 kg when weighing our Swiss Airtainer,” says spokesperson, Valerie Heimann of Swiss WorldCargo, when asked by CargoForwarder Global to specify the weight differences. This translates into fuel savings, leading to less greenhouse gas emissions.
Low weight, big gains
The new ULD is a joint project involving the Swiss freight division, Swiss Airtainer, and the company Biotech § Pharma Logistics (B.P.L.). These three Swiss-based partner companies are committed to creating sustainable solutions for the logistics industry, exemplified by the launch of their low-weight Airtainer.
Lorenzo Stoll, Head of Cargo at Swiss International Air Lines states: “We are excited to be a part of this innovation which has the potential to significantly impact the transportation of life-saving medicine. The self-sustaining airfreight container is a game-changer for the industry, and we are highly committed to its success.”
Simplifying the supply chain
The executive adds to this that Swiss WorldCargo is highly committed to proactively progressing the mobility of goods and air travel as a whole into a more sustainable future. In creating alliances and supporting initiatives like the one outlined above, “we seek to boost technological development and actively contribute to scaling climate technologies, necessary to achieve our industry’s ambitious climate targets.”
According to the companies involved, the Swiss Airtainer’s batteries are powered by solar energy, allowing the thermal unit to maintain the required temperature range without the need for an external power source. This process allows for a simplification of the cold chain, and makes the container an ideal solution for transporting medicine to remote and underdeveloped areas, where access to cold chain infrastructures can be limited, assures Swiss WorldCargo in a release.
Redefining cold chain logistics
The container is made of sustainable and eco-friendly materials in line with minimizing environmental impact. Additionally, advanced temperature and humidity control systems and smart technology were incorporated which provide real-time tracking and monitoring of the cargo, ensuring that vaccines and other medical supplies arrive at their destination safely and securely.
Urs Suter, General Manager at B.P.L. Switzerland, states: “This joint initiative with Swiss WorldCargo and Swiss Airtainer is a great opportunity to explore innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Similarly enthusiastic was Swiss Airtainer CEO, Eduard Seligman’s reaction to the launch of the new ULD: “Together, we are redefining the possibilities of cold chain logistics, and the successful completion of our first joint shipment marks a revolutionary milestone in our journey towards a greener and more efficient future.” According to Swiss WorldCargo, the project has already received positive feedback from the industry and is set to make a significant impact on the transportation of life-saving medicine.
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