Carlos Castro on Cold Chain Supply

Chilling out in Brazil - Post Show Report

Carlos Castro
Contributor: Carlos Castro
Posted: 10/24/2012

Last week I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil attending to the 6thPharma Logistics and Cold Chain Conference organized by IQPC. It was my first time attending this event and I did not know exactly what to expect but I was excited from the speakers and topics listed in the agenda. I was delighted and surprised with the quality of the event and I’d like to share my impressions for those of you who are considering attending next year’s event and learning more about cold chain supply in Brazil.

I was very impressed about the quality of the event because the speakers, the topics that were presented as well as the audience itself was very diverse and offered something for everyone. Among the topics discussed were local regulations, validation, distribution (import to Brazil, domestic and last mile), security, ambient profiles, logistics optimization, etc. The speakers not only came from private but also from government companies. One of the strong points of this conference was the comprehensive review of the Brazilian regulations which is very helpful in understanding the framework for cold chain supply in Brazil.

I learned from the conference that the cold chain professionals in Brazil are facing similar challenges. One of the concerns is the cold chain capacity and/or infrastructure at the major airports. There is a need to integrate and collaborate with the government authority (INFRAERO) to streamline the import process. Another concern is ensuring the proper storage condition while the cargo is waiting for clearance and expanding the cooler capacity at airports, especially at those cities different then Sao Paulo and Rio. Some improvements can be made by engaging the freight forwarders, carriers and pharma companies to understand better the process at the airport. Another challenge is the limited capacity of reefers for ground transportation. The current trucking companies do not seem to fulfill the requirements of the industry so there is a demand for a better service. One of the participants pointed out that sometimes customs release the cargo but the truck or reefer is not there so the products are moved to inadequate areas for storage (outside the warehouse) to free up warehouse space. It is important to mention that the major airport in Sao Paulo is running at 80-90% capacity.

I think the event can be improved by adding a panel that includes one representative of each link in the supply chain. Having a panel will provide a more complete view of the process and will benefit the audience because they can see how these links work together. The panel should include representatives from of the freight forwarder, airline, ground handler, manufacturer, health (ANVISA) and customs (INFRAERO) authorities. Having someone from the INFRAERO would really help understand the pinch points. Another recommendation would be to include the trucking companies so they hear first-hand the capacity constraints the manufacturer and freight forwarders are experiencing. Trucking companies can then gauge the demand and plan the expansion to meet the industry needs.

I see a great opportunity for immediate collaboration to ensure there is a resilient supply chain before Brazil hosts the World Cup and the Olympic Games, two major events that will stress all logistics capabilities. I would love to see how much advancement will be made by next year in closing these gaps. This task concerns all supply chain links because the weakest link will set the pace of the supply chain. So there is a lot to work to do and I believe an update of the logistics capabilities will be available in the next IQPC Brazil conference. I am looking forward to next year event.

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Carlos Castro
Contributor: Carlos Castro
Posted: 10/24/2012

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