According to the results of our airfreight readiness survey, completed by 181 airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airport operators and solution providers, majority of the industry players have begun preparation to handle, store, transport and deliver the future COVID-19 vaccines. They are setting up dedicated teams, engaging with partners, mapping and upgrading their capabilities, as well as developing new services. As compared to companies which are already in close engagement with vaccines manufacturers, companies not involved in direct conversations with the manufacturers felt the least prepared for the upcoming logistics challenge of vaccines transportation.
“We as an industry are as strong as our weakest link. To move the needle on industry readiness, we need to ensure everyone is engaged and informed. Only with a strong and transparent dialogue between pharmaceutical and air cargo sectors, governments, non-governmental organizations and healthcare institutions can we overcome these challenges. The sooner, the better,” – said Emir Pineda, Member of TIACA’s Board of Director and co-lead of the Sunrays project, initiated by TIACA and Pharma.Aero this August.
Areas of priority
Focus on industry collaboration between pharma and air cargo sectors; improving visibility and transparency; building adequate capabilities; getting the support from regulators to speed up the process and remove cumbersome procedures, and the help from international organizations and donors to ensure no country is left behind will ensure maximum air cargo preparedness to meet shippers’ needs and expectations for speed, security, reliability and transparency and ultimately save lives.
Strengthening industry collaboration
Vaccines manufacturers should involve all their air cargo logistics providers as early as possible
All air cargo stakeholders shall be involved in the conversation, including airports and ground handlers
Ramping-up air cargo capabilities
Each air cargo stakeholder should map its existing capabilities at each location and make this information available
Dry ice, active containers, trained staff, and cold chain space availability should be secured early
Infrastructure investment decisions should be made as early as possible
The use of tracking and monitoring devices should be encouraged and the approval process for their safe use in flight needs to start as soon as possible
Rollout of digital solutions and data sharing platforms should be accelerated
Governments, customs authorities, and border agencies should be ready to facilitate and expedite all COVID-19-related goods
International organizations, NGOs and donors should support cool chain capacity building efforts in least developed countries to ensure no one is left behind in the upcoming global immunization campaign
“We are still at early stages of industry preparation for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines and there are still a lot of unknowns. Delivering COVID-19 vaccines is a life-saving mission which will need a combination of people, infrastructure, standards, packaging solutions and collaboration. Getting the equation right requires us to work together now,” – Nathan De Valck, Chairman of Pharma.Aero’s Board of Directors and member of the Sunrays project.
 In the Sunrays airfreight readiness survey, 28% of the respondents scored 8, 9 or 10 to the question “From 1 to 10, how well-informed and prepared is your organisation in the global air transportation of Covid-19 vaccines?”
Here you can read both articles, from page 22 to 27.
Two previous articles in ACW on April 1st, 2019: "IATA proud that industry embraces unified global approach" on page 8 and "Changi aims to be the premier pharma hub" on page 9. Click on this link to read them.
During the WCS , Pharma.Aero also welcomed 3 new members: Cairo Airport Cargo Community Cargolinx, Cathay Pacific Airlines and Edmonton International Airport (who also joined as a Strategic Member and a BOD member).
Pharma.Aero has also continued to develop their ongoing projects. The current evolution of the Global Pharma Tracker has resulted in aligning Pfizer, Singapore Airlines,Changi Airport and Brussels Airport to testcase the first data exchange within the platform.
Also within the Pharma Corridor project, a test corridor has been setup between Pfizer, Brussels Airport, Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airport. Currently we are evaluating the results of the first 5 test shipments passing through the lane BRU-HKG. The fact that the lane is monitored with “life” shipments is slowing down the monitoring process due to systems changes and changes of forwarder. In the coming weeks we hope to speed up the number of test shipments as now also MSD is sending goods via the BRU-HKG lane. Next to that we are investigating if we can use the data of “historical” shipments.
Furthermore, the Security Standard Protocol has been initiated and the Air Transport Benchmark Study has restarted, to move forward to finalize this project.
For the upcoming months, Pharma.Aero will work on its contribution to the program of FlyPharma, and is already in the preparation for the next General Assembly.
Pharma.Aero has added Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and Alha Group as members of the pharma supply chain association.
Nathan De Valck, chairman of Pharma.Aero, said: “In the past year we have expanded our global network, created awareness and facilitated the collaboration within the industry.
“The open internal dialogue, underlined by our pharma shipper members, allows us to further improve the handling of pharmaceutical shipments."
Ian Kwok, assistant general manager, aviation logistics, HKIA, said: “Being an IATA Center of Excellence for Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) partner airport and part of Pharma.Aero are key milestones in collaborating with industrial partners sharing our experience and building pharma corridors connecting to the fellow Pharma.Aero members”
Fedor Novikov, global director of ABC, said: “AirBridgeCargo has been consistently developing its Pharma ABC product, understanding the value and importance of healthcare and life-science products’ transportation.”
ABC became last year the first carrier in Russia to be awarded CEIV Pharma certification, passing the audit process “within the shortest period of four months”.
Added Novikov: “IATA CEIV nowadays is the ‘entrance ticket’ for the pharma cargo community and we are honoured to be included in Pharma.Aero platform. This narrow-focused initiative will navigate our efforts in pharma sector, giving access to cutting edge technologies, latest innovations, supply chain expertise and peer review.
“We hope that Pharma.Aero membership will enable us to develop pharma services in the interests of our customers and give a boost to our cargo volume in this sector.”
Nicola Caristo, audit & compliance manager, pharma manager, at Alha Group said: "Pharma.Aero is a powerful tool for the whole air cargo industry by creating a unique environment where CEIV certified companies, shippers and airport authorities share excellence, set the new standards and analyze data.”
January 24, 2018: In a strategic move to further streamline and reinforce its pharmaceutical shipment handling process, Pharma.Aero recently incorporated three heavy weights pharma shippers in its board.
According to reports, Hong Kong International Airport, Air Bridge Cargo Airlines and Alha Group have joined the board of Pharma.Aero.
Nathan De Valck, chairman of Pharma.Aero said: "Last year, we expanded our global network, created awareness and facilitated the collaboration within the industry. The open internal dialogue, underlined by our pharma shipper members, will allow us to further improve the handling of pharmaceutical shipments."
The three new members are established players in the supply chain of airfreight life science genre, and are expected to add value to Pharma.Aero.
"Being a CEIV pharma partner airport and a part of Pharma.Aero are some of the key milestones in collaborating with industrial partners, sharing our experience and building pharma corridors connecting all fellow Pharma.Aero members," said Ian Kwok, assistant general manager, aviation logistics of Hong Kong International Airport.
"The new members in the Pharma.Aero platform will help navigate our efforts in the pharmaceutical industry as part of cutting edge technologies and supply chain innovations. It will enable us to develop pharma services in the interest of our customers, and boost our cargo volume in this sector," said Fedor Novikov, global director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines.
"Pharma.Aero is a unique platform for cross industry collaboration. The link between the CEIV certification programs, the expertise of members and the support and vision of the pharmaceutical industry will help improve standard practices. The enhanced collaboration on a global scale is key," said Novikov.
Nicola Caristo, audit & compliance manager of Alha Group said: "Pharma.Aero is a powerful tool for the entire air cargo industry by creating a unique environment where CEIV certified companies, shippers and airport authorities will share excellence, set new standards and analyze data.".
Leandro Moreira, director of Brink's Life Sciences and chairman of Health Technologies Distribution Alliance.Br said: "Promoting collaboration between various operators in the pharma supply chain is a formidable step to improve quality, enhance operational excellence and help increase compliance to regulatory requirements. Organisations such as Pharma.Aero do a great job bringing stakeholders together to support all that."
“The past year we expanded our global network, created awareness and facilitated the collaboration within the industry,” said Pharma.Aero chairman Nathan De Valck. “The open internal dialogue, underlined by our pharma shipper members, allows us to further improve the handling of pharmaceutical shipments.”
The worldwide Pharma.Aero platform will enable its members consisting of Airport Communities, Pharma Shippers, and other pharma logistics stakeholders to foster strong collaboration amongst themselves. By sharing expertise, data, best practices and jointly working on innovative regional initiatives with an emphasis on the IATA CEIV Program, airports and their operators will achieve excellence in reliable end to end transportation for the pharma shippers and patients.