UPS Healthcare adds reusable packaging to its cold chain services


Opens a ‘Cold Chain Packaging Center of Excellence’ in Kentucky, while expanding services globally

Capitalizing on its success in handling a significant part of the US’ Covid-19 vaccine distribution during 2021, UPS Healthcare is announcing a new round of expansions and upgrades throughout its global network, including Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and multiple sites in the US. In Louisville, KY (adjacent to the company’s WorldPort where air freight is transshipped), an existing facility is being upgraded to a Center of Excellence. A notable feature of that is the company’s first US location to offer reusable packaging services as an option (the service has been offered in Canada and the Netherlands).

Reusable packaging (for shipping purposes, not as a drug container) has been the “coming thing” in pharma cold chain for years now, with the environmental benefits competing against cost and quality concerns. A growing number of packaging vendors are now offering reusable containers; to meet pharma specifications, the packaging needs to be cleaned and inspected carefully. Some such vendors take the responsibility themselves to manage reuse; apparently, UPS Healthcare will work with them to integrate the service with its pickup and delivery processes.

UPS Healthcare now touts 125 gross domestic product/good manufacturing practice (GDP/GMP) facilities globally, and has over 11 million square feet of warehouse capacity dedicated to healthcare products. “With new facilities and capabilities, UPS Healthcare is better positioned to safely manage the growing number of temperature-sensitive biologic drugs, as well as cell and gene treatments currently in development,” says Wes Wheeler, UPS Healthcare president.

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