With the recent launch of DHL Global Forwarding’s new temperature-controlled logistics center, high-value pharma, medical and life sciences commodities now have an additional option when passing through Amsterdam’s Schiphol gateway. The new 1,000-square-meter “Life Science Competence Center,” which came at a cost of €1 million, will serve as a hub for the processing, transfer and storage of temperature-sensitive commodities handled within the company’s Thermonet network.
Like many similar centers, DHL’s new Competence Center at Schiphol contains two separate areas designed to accommodate the specific temperature requirements of the commodities being handled. Both ULDs and pallets enter the facility through a temperature-regulated loading area before moving into one of two highly-controlled areas of the warehouse.
Pharmaceutical products requiring constant, near-freezing temperatures are handled in a section of the warehouse that maintains a constant temperature, between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in the second section of center, in turn, are maintained between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. Both sections of the warehouse are equipped with temperature and humidity sensors that are actively monitored by the facility’s logistics specialists, and emit an alarm at the onset of abnormal temperature conditions.
The new facility also enables end-to-end tracking and temperature visibility through DHL’s “Life Track” IT system. ULDs and pallets moving through the facility come pre-tagged with RFID chips, which automatically upload real-time temperature and geographical data as they move throughout different links along the supply-chain.
The life sciences and healthcare industry is regulated by increasingly stricter compliance requirements that stretch beyond the historic boundaries of GMP and GSP standards (Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Storage Practice), said Nigel Wing, global head of life sciences and healthcare for DHL-GF. “At the same time, dealing with increasingly sensitive pharmaceutical products, often of high value, that have specific handling and temperature tolerances brings new complexity to the supply chain,” he said.