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Aviation sector and its relationship with pharma logistics

Karandeep Virde
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The pharmaceutical market worldwide has shown a steady growth in the last two decades. The demand for various medicines to treat numerous medical diseases has further propelled the growth of the pharmaceutical logistics market worldwide. In recent times, it has become essential to transport pharmaceutical products in an efficient manner and in a specified period of time. Big Market Research added a report recently that offers valuable insights related to the global pharmaceutical logistics market such as market share, size, and growth. Further, it discusses the recent advancements and progress made in the pharma industry.

Pharmaceutical logistics has gained significant popularity in the last decade owing to factors such as fast transportation of pharma products that proves to be time-efficient and cost-effective at the same time. Transportation of healthcare products has panned out to be a lucrative business opportunity for several logistics companies. However, the lack of standardization in the aviation industry is the major reason why other modes are assessed by pharmaceutical product manufacturers. The need to enhance handling of pharma products in the air and restore stability and safety in the supply chain has become crucial to supplement the growth of the aviation pharmaceutical logistics industry.

The pharma industry is booming worldwide and along with the market for temperature management services such as transportation of medicines and vaccines it is projected to be valued at $10.2 billion by 2018. However, the aviation sector is gradually losing its edge over other modes of transport such as road and shipping. The slump is largely due to standardization, compliance, transparency, and accountability across the supply chain. According to the statistics revealed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the share of the aviation sector in the global pharma products has declined from 17% in 2000 to around 11 per cent in 2013. The problems associated to handling temperature-sensitive cargo is another reason that is affecting the cargo share of the aviation industry in pharma logistics market. The lack of efficient handling of these pharma products can be dangerous for patients. In the current scenario, the aforementioned problems are proving to be a major barrier for the aviation sector. The need to address these issues has become important. To tackle these obstacles, Brussels Airport and Miami Airport announced the launch of a new company, Pharma.Aero. The main objective is to make transportation of pharma products safe and reliable.

The medical cargo requires quick and efficient transportation and hence it is beneficial to transport the same by air. However, due to the problems associated with the aviation sector when it comes to handling of pharma products, these products are transported by sea. According to Nathan De Valck, chairman, Pharma.Aero, Brussels Airport, the entire supply chain as far as air cargo is concerned involves several handling points of the cargo and there are several stakeholders that handle the cargo and each shackle in the supply chain has to be up to mark to maintain the quality of the supply chain. There is a slight conflict between the requirements and expectations of pharmaceutical shippers and thus pharmaceutical shippers are highlighting the issue in the recent past and turning to other options or other modes of transport that are reliable and efficient.

However, in 2014, IATA joined hands with Brussels Airport to work on the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) in pharmaceutical logistics that is governed by efficient distribution guidelines. Currently, CEIV is the most widely recognized certification worldwide. De Vlack explains that the new standard is formulated on the basis of two elements: standardization and education of processors. CEIV accreditation minutely inspects all the factors to ensure that the organizations that are involved in the transportation processes are reliable and have are competent to handle pharma products efficiently. However, the communication between logistics partners and product manufacturers still exists. Hence, in March 2016, Pharma.Aero which is an independent association that works to bridge this gap between CEIV-certified members was setup. The main goal was to have as many members as possible that focus on quality and content.

The model setup in Brussels and Miami is now followed at several other airports worldwide. The ideas are implemented by different airport authorities in the global scenario. In October 2016, the new members that joined the association include, Changi Airport, Singapore and Sharjah Airport in the United Arab Emirates. The aforementioned airports are the first two airports in the region to improvise and implement CEIV. The adoption of new ideas and the Pharma.Aero model at the Singapore has led to an increase in pharmaceutical traffic by 19% in the first 9 months of 2016 owing to improvements in the pharma-handling standards at the airport. Numerous pharmaceutical shippers, such as MSD, UCB, and Pfizer have appreciated the association and the work it is putting in to standardize pharma cargo in the aviation sector. De Vlack said, “The strength of Pharma.Aero is that we collaborate end-to-end, not just with airports, but throughout the entire lane of the shipment involving the different airport communities where the cargo is handled.”

The International Air Transport Association put forward a few regulations for the pharma logistics industry. As a result, different airlines and players operating in pharma cargo market have prioritized to improve their capability in pharmaceutical transportation. As a result of the adopted regulations and guidelines, Qatar Airways Cargo is heavily investing resources in product development since QR Pharma was launched in the first half of 2014. The state-of-the-art ‘Climate Control Center’ at the Hamad International Airport will soon be operational. The transit facility is dedicated for pharmaceutical logistics and is poised to complete in early 2017. On the same lines, Emirates SkyCardo a new temperature regulated container was developed by the product development team of the airport that was termed as “White Container”. Thermal insulators are installed to regulate the high temperatures in Dubai and to safely carry temperature-sensitive cargo. Turkish Cargo has also accelerated the process to redefine its SOPs for pharmaceutical transportation.

The pharmaceutical logistics market worldwide heavily relies on safety, quality, and quickness of the delivery. The aviation cargo industry has received mixed reviews over the years. However, with new ideas and measures taken to curb the exiting issues, it is safe to say that the step taken at Brussels and Miami airport is in the right direction. The regulations governing the transportation of healthcare products by air have been modified to focus on quality and safety. Major cargo service providers worldwide are embracing the new changes so as to improve their quality of service. The aviation sector is set to be the main mode of transportation of pharmaceutical products owing to the major developments in the industry. R&D activities will further enhance the prospects of the aviation sector in the global pharmaceutical market. Several airports worldwide are adopting the new guidelines and safety measures to transport pharmaceutical products safely. The report added by Big Market Research offers a complete analysis of the global pharmaceutical logistics industry and is a useful source of information for individuals seeking data related to the market.

(Author is a content writer at Allied Market Research)

 

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