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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

The Perilous Road To Market

When planning to ship pharmaceutical products globally, stresses Andy Hughes at Pharmafreight Ltd, a chosen service provider must be consulted for initial investigatory stages in order to observe good transportation practice

I will always remember a freight industry film shown several years ago, containing footage demonstrating many of the situations and potential perils faced by products loaded into sea containers for despatch to overseas destinations. I recall being amazed at the hazards which these sea containers and the products inside encountered during their journeys. Whether it was from extremely rough seas and the subsequent pitching and rolling containerships, to intervention from the human element causing various problems along the way. I was astonished that anything reached its destination in any sort of saleable or useable condition.

Of course, not all cargoes warrant or need the same level of care as others, but when it comes to shipping pharmaceuticals around the world, there are not many other products which require as much thought and planning as these. After all, everyone in the pharma supply chain should be working to ensure that the characteristics of a product are not changed for the end user by anything that happens on the journey.

However, perils and potentially catastrophic situations do occur daily in the pharma supply chains moving such products. You only have to look at the plethora of different parties involved in any international transport movement to see how many times there is the potential for failure if the correct amount of planning has not gone into a specific trade lane or routing.


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Andy Hughes started his career in logistics in 1992, working for a large freight forwarder, progressing to help start up a small forwarding operation specialising in the aviation supply chain. After taking three years out to work for the UK’s freight trade association, BIFA, as its Head of Communications and lobbying government on issues concerning the logistics industry, he was invited to help commercially establish the Pharmafreight concept by its founder Mick Scholefield. Andy is currently Commercial Director of Pharmafreight UK.
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