Panalpina Gears Up for Growing Demand in Temperature-Controlled Shipping

Pharma IQ News
Posted: 08/14/2012

One-fifth of Panalpina’s air cargo moved on specific routes within its own controlled air freight network is temperature sensitive cargo today. Demand for such shipments is rising, not only in the healthcare industry.

Each temperature-controlled shipment is equipped with RFID (radio-frequency identification) sensors, from the moment of pick-up to final delivery if desired and Panalpina is now extending its cool chain network with SmartView technology to ensure seamless monitoring, control and documentation. For the best possible transparency, SmartView is also being integrated into the Company’s IT platforms.

In the first half of 2012, 20.0% of Panalpina’s air cargo moved on its own Luxembourg-Huntsville route was temperature-controlled. Panalpina’s own controlled air freight network puts the Company in a unique position when it comes to temperature sensitive cargo.

The vast bulk of this cargo is shipped by the healthcare industry, but growing demand for temperature-controlled shipping can also be observed elsewhere. The products being moved in temperature-controlled environments include pharmaceuticals, chemical pre-products, dangerous and hazardous substances, high-tech wafers and even printing machines and test or prototype automobiles, among many others.

As part of the PanCool initiative, Panalpina has in the past few years established a door-to-door proactive monitoring, control and documentation system for temperature sensitive cargo. Panalpina’s new flagships, the two wet-leased Boeing 747-8 Freighters, mark the latest and apparent investment in building a global state-of-the-art cool chain network. The Panalpina aircraft, dubbed Cool Planes by the Company, can maintain different determined temperature ranges at the same time: For example, one for 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (cold chain) and one for 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (controlled room temperature).

Panalpina has built up profound cool chain know-how. Since the introduction of SmartView, the global provider of supply chain solutions has monitored and documented over 3,000 temperature-controlled shipments. SmartView is a RFID (radio-frequency identification) based temperature control system, an award-winning solution for cool chain optimisation. Panalpina uses it within its own controlled air freight network. The cool chain solution provides an integrated control centre to manage temperature sensitive shipments throughout the end-to-end supply chain. Temperatures can be documented in the air, and actively monitored in the transit warehouse and on the road. In case of temperature deviations, Panalpina can intervene.

The active RFID sensors of the SmartView system are attached to the shipments where they record the environment temperature every 15 minutes. For security reasons, recorded data is not immediately transmitted to the central database during flight. The radio signals may otherwise interfere with the aircraft’s technical systems. But as soon as the cargo is unloaded at the airport and in reach of a router, the data is automatically transmitted and fed into the database. Panalpina’s routers are typically located in the transit warehouses of airports. The same type of RFID sensors also monitor the environment temperature of designated cool cells of such Panalpina facilities, again at 15 minute intervals and around the clock.

If desired, temperature monitoring of air cargo is expanded to road transport in pre- and on-carriage. In road transport, Panalpina combines active RFID technology with GPRS and GPS technology to fulfil any additional monitoring requirements, be that for relative humidity, shock and light exposure, air pressure or location.

Panalpina first introduced SmartView at its air freight hub in Luxembourg in November 2009. The hub is also officially GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certified since June 2010. In the meantime, Panalpina has equipped six more airport facilities with SmartView technology. The growing demand for temperature-controlled shipping and Panalpina’s success therein calls for further network extensions. Panalpina is constantly upgrading its strategic facilities within the own controlled network with the technology. Pudong in Shanghai, Viracopos in Säo Paulo and Dubai World Central are just a few of the airport facilities high up on its priority list.

Panalpina is also working on a solution to make the temperature monitoring of individual shipments directly accessible to its customers and the integration of the SmartView technology into its IT platforms is a crucial part of the Company’s PanCool initiative. The data is there in abundance and Panalpina has access to it via special website from around the globe. In the near future, customers will be able to access this information directly via the track and trace tool PanTrace. This way, customers get live end-to-end visibility for their temperature-controlled shipments – anytime, anywhere.

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Pharma IQ News
Posted: 08/14/2012

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