Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Growing global pharma hub connects the world

Growing global pharma hub connects the world

Emirates SkyPharma is a purpose-built facility dedicated exclusively for the handling of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical shipments. Through its airfreight operation, Emirates SkyCargo, the carrier transports roughly 100 million kilogrammes of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals annually.

This is accomplished through its network of wide-body passenger planes, including the B777 and flagship A380, as well as its dedicated fleet of 11 B777-F freighter aircraft. In terms of capacity, this amounts to the equivalent of loading 1,020 B777-F freighters. 

In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo also offers value- added services such as re-icing, with a dedicated, centralised control tower in Dubai, which monitors and tracks all pharma shipments, mitigating any potential irregularities. 

Emirates SkyPharma provides a temperature-controlled space of more than 8,800m2, specifically designed for pharmaceutical shipments. The facility is located at Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) and is connected by a dedicated 24/7 bonded and refrigerated trucking service. The facility includes two specific areas for varying temperature ranges, 372 cool cells, 88 temperature-controlled automated ULD handling positions, and 12 temperature-controlled acceptance and delivery truck docks. 

To make sure pharmaceutical cargo remains in a stable environment at all times, there are two specific temperature zones configured within the Emirates SkyPharma facility: 2-8°C (COL) and 15-25°C (CRT). 

SkyCargo has a dedicated section for managing active containers, equipped with plug-in points, recharging and battery replacement capabilities, and procedures for dry ice replenishment. This ensures that the most delicate items receive the highest level of temperature control handling. 

“Maintaining the cold chain is paramount, and the Emirates SkyPharma hub provides a comprehensive solution with its temperature-controlled zones, complete with integrated police, customs, and screening facilities,” Julian Sutch, Pharma Global Commercial Development, Emirates, said. 

“This ensures that consignments remain in a stable environment throughout their transit or while awaiting collection or delivery. Given the stringent regulations governing the pharmaceutical industry, the hub allows for the presence of Municipality and Government officials on-site at all times for inspections and document clearance,” he added. 

Largest of its kind 

Emirates SkyPharma has obtained certification from Bureau Veritas for complying with the EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines on medicinal products meant for human use. As a result, it has become the largest multi-airport hub in the world to achieve GDP compliance. Our certification affirms our commitment to adhering to stringent guidelines during the shipment journey, covering Dubai International Airport, Dubai World Central, and the trucking GDP-certified hub. 

Thanks to its extensive network and hub, Emirates SkyCargo has the capability to deliver pharmaceuticals to over 150 destinations quickly and efficiently – and speed is often crucial when it comes to Pharma. Customers rely on the reliability and effectiveness of the infrastructure at both ends of the cargo’s journey, particularly the temperature control process, which is critical to maintaining the integrity of the shipment. 

“With a team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals who prioritise quality, SkyCargo is the preferred choice for numerous pharmaceutical producers seeking to transport their products securely and promptly to their intended destination,” Sutch stated. 

READ: Emirates SkyCargo launches new bespoke solutions for Life Sciences and Healthcare

Ideally located 

“The pharmaceutical hub established in Dubai by Emirates SkyCargo is unparalleled globally because of its state-of-the-art infrastructure,” Sutch said. 

It’s top-of-the-line facilities have enabled Emirates SkyCargo to compete with the leading carriers in the industry and provide customers with the widest options while guaranteeing SkyCargo’s unwavering commitment to quality. 

Europe constitutes the largest region in its pharmaceutical operations, accounting for 50% of its business. India, as a sole market, is equally significant at 30%, while the US accounts 10%. Emirates Skycargo’s pharma station network comprises 35 fully GDP certified stations staffed by expert ground handlers and featuring dedicated facilities. 

With a destination network of over 150 cities spanning six continents, the carrier has access to all major pharmaceutical manufacturing locations. Furthermore, it can deploy aircraft to additional destinations at short notice as part of charter operations. 

“This strategic positioning enables us to rapidly and securely transport pharmaceutical cargo from its point of origin to its ultimate destination,” Sutch explained. 

READ: Emirates SkyCargo and Air Canada enhance cargo interline cooperation

Expanding operations 

Emirates SkyCargo’s pharmaceutical volumes have doubled year on year. Its impressive growth can be credited to multiple factors, including the significant investments made in its facilities and services, as well as the aforementioned extensive network. 

Another key contributor is the hub’s strategic location in the Middle East, which places it in close proximity to the rapidly growing populations of India, Asia, and Africa. 

Additionally, the airline’s loyal customer base has played a significant role in this growth, as they have come to trust and rely on the consistency and reliability that SkyCargo consistently provides. 

Maintaining consistency and compliance across the 35 pharmaceutical stations worldwide with our Pharma hub in Dubai is a challenging task. Ensuring the quality of pharmaceutical products from the point of departure from the factory to the point of arrival at their destination poses a challenge as well. 

By operating a pharmaceutical hub under the umbrella of SkyCargo, the carrier offers its clients an additional service that complements their portfolio of services like Fresh, Safe, and Valuables. SkyCargo’s Pharma service plays a crucial role in disease prevention and providing treatment to those who need it the most in underdeveloped regions. 

“The cool chain process poses various challenges for the pharmaceutical industry, but the lack of sufficient global infrastructure to ensure consistent temperature control during transportation is a significant one. While airports are making investments in facilities, there are other essential components such as trucking, cool dollies, and dry icing facilities that require investment as well,” Sutch said. “However, SkyCargo’s state-of-the- art facilities, equipment and temperature control of the cargohold guarantee a consistent temperature for pharmaceutical products throughout their journey.” 

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on Edward.Hardy@AirCargoWeek.com

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