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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Air Cargo Gives Pharma the Cold Treatment

 

Times are hard in the air cargo sector: volumes are lower, rates are down, and schedules are being reduced dramatically in order to address the over-capacity that exists in the system. Even one of the worlds’ major airlines is talking of mothballing its freighter aircraft fleet in order to put the brakes on the current situation. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade organisation representing airlines, has reported a decline in cargo demand of over 11 per cent in July, though this was a relative improvement on the 16.5 per cent drop in June.

For most airlines, particularly those classified as ‘combination carriers’, where the majority of cargo is carried in the belly hold of widebody aircraft, maximising the yield per kilogram from available space remains key. The challenge is in being able to keep this at a high level, while also remaining competitive, retaining market share and being aware of pharma sector needs. Just as budget airlines sell a proportion of their seats for next to nothing, and increase prices on the remainder according to demand and booking periods, yield management has become an important part of the air cargo sector and crucial to survival.

ADDING VALUE

Expectations of improving yield must start by adding value, however. Airlines, integrators and others in the logistics process have always seen the value of a variety of ‘express cargo products’ – now they have turned their attention to the healthcare sector, and in significant numbers. Not only do they see the value of a sector that has always put product quality at the forefront, but also one where price sensitivity has been less, and shipment regularity greater.


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Tony Wright has over 35 years’ experience of the air cargo and temperature-controlled logistics sector, having worked as a Senior Executive with British Airways World Cargo and subsequently as Senior Vice President at Envirotainer. Tony formed Exelsius to provide independent consulting, research and training services to manufacturers, airlines and other stakeholders in the healthcare cold chain sector, bringing unique cross-sector knowledge of the industry. He is a member of the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) and serves on its European Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Interest Group (PCCIG) as well as being an elected member of the IATA Time & Temperature Task Force, where he heads a work group. He is a regular conference chairman and has written many articles on cold chain management.

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