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Shipping Systems

Given the demanding timelines between the procurement of active pharmaceutical ingredients through to the distribution of  investigational drugs, shippers are increasingly focusing their attention on the sourcing and selection of temperature control systems for air transport. What types of systems are currently available? Which is best for your commodity? This article may provide guidance in navigating this relatively unknown territory.

ACTIVE SYSTEMS

These systems work actively to control the temperature of the commodity through the use of thermostats, fans, batteries and refrigeration systems, and typically cater to larger volume shipments due to the size of the equipment required. A range of brands are currently available through various airlines and suppliers. While the key advantage of these systems is the product volume they are able to hold, these types of unit load devices (aircraft containers) require constant monitoring and specific storage temperatures in order to work effectively. With active cooling (and some heating) capabilities, they may still be limited in their ability to maintain temperatures in extreme conditions for extended periods of time. Active systems are best used for bulk and commercial product distribution, providing that shippers adhere to rehearsed processes before shipping.


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Andrew McDonald is Director of Operations – Asia Pacific region for World Courier. Recently, Andrew headed projects to equip World Courier with qualified packaging systems specifically designed for the extreme climatic conditions experienced in Asia, and has created a Cold Chain Awareness Programme. Andrew is a member of World Courier’s global TempTeam, which provides support, advice and resources on temperature control issues.

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