WCS 2017: Schiphol to combat temperature excursions with new warning system

ABU DHABI, UAE–During a CEIV Pharma workshop held at IATA’s 11th annual World Cargo Symposium, speakers praised the air cargo industry for rapidly improving the reliability of the pharma supply-chain; but still, with more than US$34.1 billion in annual losses due to temperature excursions, and with allegations that nearly 25 percent of vaccines reaching their final destination in a “degraded condition,” the industry has a long way to go (for more on CEIV progress, see our coverage yesterday, CEIV stakeholders must be frank about their limitations). Today at the Symposium however, there were clear signs the wakeup call has been received. A new initiative launched by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to develop an early warning system for pharma shippers for one, promises to further reduce temperature excursions within the air pharma supply chain.

Beginning later this month, stakeholders at the airport, including Air France-KLM Cargo, Cargonaut and Schiphol’s 13-member pharma community, Pharma Gateway Amsterdam (PGA), will work together to improve data collection and temperature monitoring for pharma shipments moving through Schiphol. Jonas van Stekelenburg, cargo director at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol said, “Pharma shippers are asking for more visibility so they can have confidence that their sensitive cargo is being handled safely through the supply chain and find solutions if there are issues such as temperature excursions. This research will enable us to develop a system capable of stepping up to those challenges.”

Ultimately the program aims to develop a cloud-based application that notifies shippers directly if the temperature data collected does not align with the requirements of any given consignment.

Sebastiaan Scholte, CEO of Jan de Rijk Logistics, a member of PGA, said the initiative was “excellent”, adding: “We hope that many other air cargo supply chain communities will follow this example and work together, because this is how the whole industry will improve.”

Marcel de Nooijer, EVP of Air France KLM Cargo, said, “We are keen to improve the supply chain in collaboration with other parties in the chain, contributing to overall higher product integrity for pharmaceutical shipments.”

Development of the early warning system will be funded through a €1 million subsidy that was awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and TKI Dinalog (the Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics). Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Delft University of Technology will do the underlying research for the project, while stakeholders at Schiphol Cargo will contribute to performance management and alerting capabilities.

If you are interested in learning more about the air freight cold chain, join us at Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai, 25 – 26 April, where Sebastiaan Scholte, CEO of Jan de Rijk Logistics and Chairman of The Cool Chain Association, will take part in a session devoted to shipment of perishables. To register, or for more information, go to CargoFactsAsia.com

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