Etihad Cargo Pharma Facility_03

Since launching its dedicated PharmaLife product in 2020, Etihad Cargo has significantly enhanced the carrier’s pharmaceutical and cool chain capabilities. Pharma is big business, with the latest Statista Market Insights data indicating revenue in the pharmaceuticals market is projected to reach $1.477bn by 2030. The UAE’s national carrier has evolved its dedicated pharmaceutical transportation product, PharmaLife, to meet the growing demand for pharma logistics and is leveraging the carrier’s strategically positioned Abu Dhabi hub to contribute to the creation of a more simple, reliable and robust global pharma supply chain.

Throughout Etihad Cargo’s journey, quality and compliance have been core components of the carrier’s vision of being the air cargo partner of choice. Demonstrating this commitment, Etihad Cargo became the first Middle Eastern airline to attain International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification for pharma logistics. Expanding beyond Etihad Cargo’s airline operations, this certification extends to the carrier’s cargo handling and warehousing at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Etihad Cargo’s compliance with this internationally recognised standard has been a significant milestone in the carrier’s commitment to developing a cool chain centre of excellence at its state-of-the-art Abu Dhabi hub. It also contributes to Abu Dhabi’s vision of cementing its position as a global pharmaceuticals and life sciences hub, connecting the Middle East to the rest of the world.

Fabrice Panza, manager global cool chain solutions at Etihad Cargo, said: “Enhancing connectivity and creating a global network that makes the transportation of pharmaceuticals seamless, safe and reliable is precisely why we have grown our PharmaLife network. Today, this network covers over 62 destinations, and Etihad Cargo has developed over 1,330 IATA CEIV Pharma/Good Distribution Practice (GDP)-certified trade lanes, which ensure the integrity of products. Etihad Cargo is actively collaborating with key airline partners to establish further IATA CEIV-certified pharma trade lanes to broaden our network through dedicated PharmaLife agreements.”

Collaboration has also been a driving force in Etihad Cargo’s launch of new solutions, technologies and initiatives. In partnership with Etihad Airport Services Cargo and Abu Dhabi Airports, Etihad Cargo has launched a state-of-the-art cool chain facility at Abu Dhabi Airport that has doubled the carrier’s cool chain capacity to carry and accommodate an additional 50,000 tonnes of cool chain commodities, including pharmaceuticals and life sciences products. Etihad Cargo also works with several packaging suppliers that are using the latest technology to develop more efficient containers, including phase change materials (PCMs), which release and absorb energy to provide cooling. The new generation of containers is equipped with dynamic tracking to provide accurate data on location and temperature. This technology is continuously evolving, with materials becoming more sustainable and recyclable.

The carrier has added new features to mitigate the risks of transporting temperature-sensitive cargo. Panza said: “We recently launched our new dedicated thermal covers for PharmaLife products into our top pharma origin stations, including Amsterdam and Paris. We also can provide this new feature on demand, so our customers can reach out to our dedicated PharmaLife team wherever they are in the world.”

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Fabrice Panza

Etihad Cargo has also launched Pharma Champions, a development programme to enhance pharmaceutical transportation expertise and customer service. Building on the significant improvements Etihad Cargo has made to our IATA CEIV Pharma-certified PharmaLife product, we developed Pharma Champions in full compliance with IATA CEIV Pharma guidelines to expand Etihad Cargo’s capabilities to deliver consistent standards while transporting pharmaceuticals and life sciences products. Comprising online and onsite training, a visit to Etihad Cargo’s dedicated pharmaceutical hub and the development of a dedicated PharmaLife action plan, Pharma Champions gives participants the tools they need to add value to current partnerships, provide improved service levels, more effectively identify new business opportunities and ensure Etihad Cargo’s PharmaLife product is delivered in full compliance with rigorous international Standards.

To make the transportation of pharmaceuticals smarter and more efficient, Etihad Cargo has deployed AI-powered solutions to boost efficiency, digitise and standardise cargo handling across the carrier’s network, and enhance service levels for the carrier’s customers and partners.

Panza concluded: “We are utilising AI to enhance the quality of our operations through the integration of the third dimension to generate ULD-level load plans so we can maximise the cargo carried on our flights and significantly reduce the risk of needing to offload a shipment due to overbooking or having to load cargo in a way not anticipated. Using computer vision, we can anticipate how cargo will be assembled and loaded onto the aircraft using cargo dimensions and volume data. This is just one of the latest steps in Etihad Cargo’s ongoing commitment to ensuring our PharmaLife product remains a leading solution, and we will focus on developing strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies to offer tailored logistics solutions and support their growth.”

This sponsored article was written by Fabrice Panza, manager global cool chain solutions, Etihad Cargo.

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