Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Collaboration to grow the cool chain

Collaboration to grow the cool chain

When examining the pharmaceutical market in the airfreight industry, there is a consistent growth trend projected for the next 15 years, ranging between eight to 15%, depending on the specific commodity in consideration.    

With pharmaceutical and life sciences cargo needing to be moved quickly and carefully, Etihad Cargo is looking to capitalise on the opportunity this segment presents through its “double eight rule.”  

“80% of the world’s population is within eight hours flight time, so it’s a network that covers a wide area within a short time, connecting Europe, Asia and Africa,” Fabrice Panza, the global cool chain solutions manager at Etihad Czargo, said. 

READ: Africa’s growing potential

Regional vision 

Since the introduction of its new pharmaceutical facility in June, the carrier recorded its best-performing month to date in that segment. Having experienced a 40% increase in volumes compared to the same period last year, Etihad Cargo is optimistic about the future. 

With the new pharmaceutical centre, Etihad Cargo has not only doubled its capacity, reaching 50,000 tonnes per year, but has also brought together previously segregated operational segments to bolster its overall approach to the sector. 

Spanning 3,500 sq m, this state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest screening technology, ensuring comprehensive coverage. Fully compliant and IATA CEIV Pharma certified, Etihad Cargo is solidifying Abu Dhabi’s status as a global hub for the movement of cargo. 

“The focus extends into what we call the Abu Dhabi healthcare and life science ecosystem,” Panza  said. “It aligns with the overarching vision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and, in particular, Abu Dhabi to serve as an operational hub under the umbrella of the Department of Health.” 

The cooperation between Etihad Cargo and the Department of Health, having begun during the pandemic, already bore fruits for the carrier and the country. Throughout the pandemic, the UAE was a leading global distribution hub for Covid-19 vaccines.  

 “It was a huge success, moving 260 million+ doses to 46 countries in 18 months,” Panza outlined, with this project blooming into a comprehensive programme covering manufacturing to distribution.  

READ: Abu Dhabi to Asia

Quality operations 

With goods within the life sciences sector requiring careful handling, Etihad Cargo has sought to place its focus on guaranteeing quality for customers throughout the supply chain, looking to certified partners to support operations globally. 

This is particularly important when moving goods to regions that might not have the same level of facilities as those at Etihad Cargo’s Abu Dhabi hub. Turning to Africa, interline agreements can aid regional activities where it is crucial to protect the integrity of the cool chain in demanding environmental conditions.  

These relationships are paired with innovation that works to deliver visibility throughout the process, reassuring customers from origin to destination, whatever the facilities on the ground.  

“We believe in association and collaboration. For the first time, we have signed service level agreements with companies in Africa, with Nairobi easily connecting directly to 42 destinations across the region,” Panza outlined. 

Moving forward, Etihad Cargo is looking to build on these partnerships through specific projects that can bolster last mile delivery through drones or other processes.  

“We’re working on offering an answer to locations where you don’t have space or where you don’t have enough infrastructure to deliver products. These possibilities are shaping our strategy for the coming years, complementing our current capabilities,” he continued. “This evolving landscape is both fascinating and promising as we navigate the path forward.”

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.

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