World Courier expands its dedicated ground-transport fleet in Europe

Operationally qualified vans provide integral refrigeration for up to six Euro pallets

World Courier (London; US HQ in New Hyde Park, NY) is adding 11 vans to its ground fleet in Europe, to be based at its Hythe Kent office, close to the Channel Tunnel and the ports of Folkestone and Dover. The vehicles are Mercedes Benz Sprinter “cube” vans, and can also carry 13.6-meter trailers. Key to operations, however, is that the vans have integral cooling systems, with compressor units, temperature probes to provide real-time telemetry, and added safety and security features. Capacity is up to six Euro pallets, and the interior temperature can be controlled between -25 and +25°C. The units are being operationally qualified at a testing laboratory to EU GDP (Good Distribution Practices) standards.

The new vehicles “will allow us to respond quickly to requests from our European clients and make deliveries both in Europe and beyond as the demands of the pharmaceutical community turn regularly to the ground offering to ensure compliant movement of products, APIs and clinical trial supplies,” said Alan Bryan, Director of Integrated Services at World Courier, in a statement.

Reefer trucks (or vans) are not new to biopharma cold chain distribution, in Europe or the US. But the drumbeat seems to be getting louder for biopharma shipments (whether of clinical trial materials, which World Courier specializes in, or for commercial-scale deliveries) to be shipped point to point without temperature-controlled cartons, but relying on exacting temperature control of the vehicle performing the delivery. Besides the GDP standards, the Parenteral Drug Assn. has just published a revised technical document, Active Temperature-Controlled Systems: Qualification Guidance (Technical Report No. 64) on the subject.