Cold chain shipping options multiply

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - September 2009

New shipping services and new containers highlight the annual gathering

Last week’s IQPC Cold Chain Distribution for Pharmaceuticals meeting (Philadelphia, Sept. 21-24) brought out a welter of new products and services. The overall picture is that, while the multiplying options make cold chain shipping a more complicated decision process, shippers will have new, potentially cost-saving options:

  • American Air Cargo (Dallas) has set up an ExpediteTC service and certified a large (and growing) part of its worldwide network by the QEP standards of Envirotainer, the Swedish provider of engineered active and passive air freight containers.
  • Delta Cargo (Atlanta) has announced Nov. 8 as the date when the combination of its cargo service and that of Northwest Air Cargo will be united. There is also some effort being made to integrate the cargo operations with the SkyTeam alliance, which brings a dozen or so other airlines into the picture.
  • AcuTemp (Dayton, OH) now has a RePaq recycling service for its passive containers, which are made with an integrally molded (five of the six sides of a cube) vacuum insulation material brandnamed as ThermoCore. The recycling service allows for return and requalification of the containers. (In a similar green initiative, Sensitech announced earlier this year that it would recycle its TempTele and related single-use data loggers).

But the star of the show might be a new player in temperature-controlled cargo units: Farrar Scientific (Marietta, OH), which has paired up with an air-service company, ULD Logistics (Delta, OH) to offer the PharmaPort 360, an active (powered) refrigeration unit suitable for air or truck shipping (even in-house cold storage). The insulated box has a 1.4-cu. m. volume, and is said to maintain a 5°C temperature for up to 72 hours (with a 30°C ambient) by an onboard compressor and batteries. A datalogging system using the Libero unit from Elpro (Marietta) provides FDA-required documentation.

Appearance-wise, the PharmaPort unit is a simplified version of the unit-load devices (ULDs) available from Envirotainer or CSafe (Dayton), but will be available for lease at prices 20% under those units, according to Bill Toedter, VP at ULD Logistics. ULD Logistics, itself, has a network of service centers at US airports that it expects will help in servicing and transferring the containers.

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