UPS enhances healthcare ops with US facility upgrades, EU GDP certification 

UPS made several major investments to its global healthcare-related operations and infrastructure, including upgrades to its healthcare-dedicated warehouse and distribution network in the United States and attainment of the EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification for its healthcare-related ops in France and Germany. These enhancements are intended to support direct-to-customer shipping, storage, distribution and temperature controls of critical goods as part of UPS’ strategic growth plan aimed at better supporting the unique, priority-handling requirements for healthcare and life science shipments. 

UPS recently added 1.3 million square feet of total distribution space in key U.S. markets. Some of the largest upgrades making up this expansion include a new 450,000 square-foot facility near UPS’ healthcare campus and air hub in Louisville (SDF), as well as a new 315,000 square foot center near UPS’ local transportation hub in Harrisburg, Pa. The new Harrisburg facility is also strategically located near the integrator’s healthcare ops center in Swedesboro, N.J., that offers medical device services, such as autoclave capabilities, decontamination and replenishment of surgical kits and instrument inspection.  

Beyond expansion, upgrades to the facilities include new climate controls and validated coolers and freezers for products requiring strict temperature environments. Security on the healthcare facility premises is supported with special-access cages and vaults to protect high-value specialty pharmaceuticals. The enhancements at these facilities maintain applicable government accreditations and meet international guidelines, including Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), Certified Dangerous Goods Professional (cGDP) and Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987 (PDMA) regulatory mandates, according to UPS.  

“By increasing warehouse and distribution space and optimizing multi-client facilities, our customers have greater opportunity to reduce supply chain costs and get their shipments to the right places globally at the right time and in full regulatory compliance,” said Darren Cockrel, UPS president of global logistics. 

By 2020, UPS aims to increase its total U.S. healthcare warehouse and distribution space to 4 million square feet. UPS said its next move will be to expand healthcare warehouse space across other key U.S. pharma markets, which include: Atlanta, Ga; Columbus, Ohio; Reno, Nev.; and Tracy, Calif. 

Across the Atlantic, UPS has also bolstered its healthcare-related operations by attaining the EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification for pharmaceutical shipping in France and Germany. This GDP Certification validates UPS’ French and German networks as aligning with proper standards for shipping pharmaceuticals, diagnostic products (including reagents) and stable blood products.  

Speaking on the new accreditation, UPS vice president of UPS Supply Chain Solutions healthcare compliance and quality assurance Tom Page said it also supports the company’s “long-term strategy, [which] is built around four pillars that will continue to drive UPS’s success in handling critical healthcare and life science goods: quality assurance, visibility, control and customer experience.” 

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Chelsea Toczauer

Chelsea Toczauer is the Associate Editor of the company’s daily news and monthly magazine Air Cargo World. She holds two BAs in International Relations and Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California, as well as a double accredited US-Chinese MA in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University joint degree program. Chelsea speaks Mandarin and Russian.