Taiwan-based China Airlines became the latest carrier to receive CEIV-Pharma certification from IATA earlier this week. With a massive freighter fleet of eighteen 747-400Fs, the carrier is looking to specialty cargo for future growth as it works to position its operations base at Taoyuan Airport (TPE) as a transshipment hub.
Industrywide, pharma volumes have been growing at a clip of 30% per year since 2016, according to the airline, and China Airlines wants a bigger piece of the high-yield pie. Although Taiwan’s largest cargo carrier began to dabble in cool-chain logistics back in 2013 when it introduced temperature-controlled pharma containers, since then, the air cargo industry has upped its game.
Last year, China Airlines decided to double down on its efforts to standardize pharma handling across its network by pursuing IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV-Pharma) certification. “The construction of a more complete operating process and more professional personnel training standards will help ensure the quality and timeliness of pharmaceutical logistics,” said Eddy Liu, VP, China Airlines Cargo.
With sixteen other carriers already having obtained CEIV-Pharma certification, China Airlines will still face competition from other qualified carriers – but its expansive freighter network does play to its advantage. At present, China Airlines operates scheduled freighter flights from Taipei to 35 destinations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Following CEIV-Pharma, China Airlines says it is aiming for “double-digit growth” in the pharma market.