Cool School: Inside the CEIV-Pharma certification program

Learning curve

All told, with the representatives from the 11 companies, plus airport personnel and IATA staff, more than 40 people went through the first wave of training. Because this was the first group to go through it, they were, in some sense, guinea pigs for the CEIV-Pharma program. Their feedback, Polmans said, has already helped improve the program.

The most noteworthy change is the length of time spent in the classroom. Instead of 11 days, the program now consists of three days of operations training, followed by five days for instruction on audits, quality and risk management, followed by three days of on-site facility tours. “For newcomers, instruction will be very to the point,” Leyssens said. “You will have a general introduction to pharmaceutical handling and quality, but there will be more emphasis on actual operations.”

Brussels is about to begin its “second wave” of training scheduled for this month, with a greater emphasis on the role of forwarders. Some of the expected BRUcargo participants in the second class will include Keuhne & Nagel, DHL Global Forwarding, Panalpina, Geodis, Van Dievel Transport, Ninatrans, FB Logistics and Hazgo. “The program is a bit different, and trainings have been updated a bit to meet feedback give by participants, but the first wave was so successful the number of adjustments and the scope have been very limited,” Polmans said. “In the second wave, though, we won’t be spending as much time convincing them that this is worthwhile.”

Training results?

This first wave of training and certification ended in December 2014, so for some participants at BRUcargo, not enough time has passed to see any measurable progress. But other say the effects have been more immediate. Jan de Rijk’s Kleppers, for example, at least partially credited his company’s April extension of three road-feeder services contracts with Virgin Atlantic Cargo to the CEIV-Pharma cert.

“It’s a real asset to have,” he said. “It gives you a competitive advantage – especially when it comes time to renewing a contract or expanding your business. I think it is a reasonable measure of your ability to handle cool-chain cargo.”

Kleppers added that Jan de Rijk will be adding instruction from the course to its own internal “train the trainer program,” which will be used to educate drivers and other employees. BRUcargo itself has been getting a boost in recognition because of the program, Polmans said. “The pharma stamp we now have has not only given us recognition and visibility in the world, but has really helped us in growing the business. We have also seen new flights and companies thanks to the status we now have.” One example, he added, is the twice-weekly Qatar Airways “pharma express” cargo flights that began in late January linking the pharma-rich cities of Brussels and Basel, Switzerland, to Qatar’s air network in Doha.

At UTi Worldwide, Phil Abbate, global vice president, pharmaceutical and healthcare, said his company’s experience with the CEIV program will result in minor changes to enable greater continuity between all relevant stakeholders, including the shipper, cartage company, forwarding agent, ground handler and airline, which should have a positive impact on the way the cool chain operates. It provides UTi specificity and a sense of supply chain continuity to current GDP guidelines.

Eric Veeckmans, at UTi’s Brussels office, said CEIV will also help reduce the scope of shipper audits. “CEIV is a good sales tool to promote our business to clients,” he said. “It ensures a robust cold chain in every step in the supply chain through the airport for handling the pharma shipper’s temperature-sensitive products.”

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