Cool School: Inside the CEIV-Pharma certification program

Getting them on board

With the plans in place, Brussels Airport and IATA just needed people to show up – a task that was a bit more difficult than expected. The airport’s initial goal was to sign up a minimum of five companies involved in each segment of the pharma supply chain: shippers, forwarders, airlines, handlers and truckers. “We knew the program was robust, but it would still be the very first IATA CEIV program in its current setup,” Polmans said. “So we could expect discussion points, learning and mistakes to be made, and corrected.”

The initial training period was to last 11 full days, spread out over several weeks. Each participating company would send two key cargo personnel as representatives. The instruction would be a combination of classroom training with periodic site visits to walk through each step in the pharma-handling process. After this training, IATA would send trained validators to each company to perform rigorous audits that would last two to three days to make sure all checklists under the CEIV standards were met. Once they passed this audit, the company would be considered “certified” and a follow-up visit would be scheduled for a “second wave” of training in the following year.

At first, there was some reluctance, Polmans said. Upper management at some of the stakeholders was concerned about the cost and time it would take to complete the training. Brussels had to put some “time and effort” into convincing the various ground-handling companies to participate, “as they are often considered the weak spot in the chain,” he said. One company, however, considered participation a no-brainer: trucking and logistics firm Jan de Rijk Logistics. With the company’s CEO, Sebastiaan Scholte, chairing the Cool Chain Association, an industry trade group, there was no question whether the company would participate.

“We do see the benefits of working together as a team,” said Robert Kleppers, senior sales executive with Jan de Rijk, about the training. “That’s exactly what it’s about.”

Swissport Cargo Services was another key participant. “We were hoping to get more into the pharmaceuticals arena, which is a major export market,” Leyssens said. “We were trying to decide – should we go for CEIV? Should we wait for legislation? Maybe we should try another standard?” Once Swissport was approached by Brussels Airport, it was quickly convinced to take part.

After the first few companies signed on, “suddenly we were at 11 before we knew it,” Polmans said, more than double the airport’s initial estimate. The initial “class” included Brussels Airlines, Finnair Cargo, Jan De Rijk, Expeditors International, B.P.L. GmbH, UTi Worldwide, SDV, Worldwide Flight Services, Aviapartner, Swissport and 3ad (Adelantex). “In order to remain objective and neutral, we decided to give all of them the same opportunity and let them all participate in this first wave,” he said.

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