Emirates SkyCargo strengthens its pharma capabilities

posted on 6th June 2019 by Justin Burns

Emirates SkyCargo has significantly boosted its worldwide pharmaceutical handling capabilities and infrastructure after opening a new dedicated facility in Chicago.

The carrier has started handling pharma cargo at the new purpose-built facility – which is spread over 1,000 square metres.

The facility has scope for additional expansion and provides protection for pharma cargo through temperature controlled zones for acceptance and delivery, pharma cargo build up and break down, storage and direct ramp access.

Developed in partnership with ground handling company Maestro, the facility has a capacity of 15,000 tonnes of pharma shipments per annum.

“Emirates SkyCargo is committed to the safe and secure transportation of temperature sensitive pharmaceutical shipments. Having a dedicated facility for pharma at one of our busiest stations for pharma in our network is a big boost to our pharma handling credentials and capability,” said Nabil Sultan, divisional senior vice president, Emirates SkyCargo.

“This was also a unique model wherein we worked closely with the ground handler and were involved in the planning for the facility from the very beginning. Using our learnings from transporting pharma across six continents, we were able to collaborate to make the new pharma facility fit for purpose,” he added.

The facility offers temperature controlled zones (2-8 degree Celsius and 15-25 degree Celsius) for acceptance and delivery, pharma cargo build up, breakdown and storage. The proximity of the facility to the ramp also means that cargo has to spend lesser time in transit to and from the terminal to the aircraft.

The dedicated pharma facility in Chicago is part of Emirates SkyCargo’s broader strategy to enhance protection for temperature sensitive pharma shipments not just at its hub in Dubai but from origin to destination.

Following up on the success of the pharma corridors initiative which was announced in Jan 2018, Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its initial network of 12 pharma stations to 20.

As part of pharma corridors, Emirates SkyCargo works with ground handling partners and other local stakeholders at the stations that are important origin or destination points for pharma, in order to ensure a high standard of handling operations for pharmaceuticals in line with Emirates SkyCargo’s stringent norms.

Emirates senior vice president, cargo operations worldwide, Henrik Ambak said: “Pharmaceutical cargo being transported by air are growing in their sophistication and complexity in terms of the strict regulations for handling and temperature control.

“We introduced the pharma corridors initiative because we wanted to expand the required high standard of handling for pharma shipments further into our network and serve markets better from origin to destination.

“We have been successfully working with our ground handling partners at our major pharma points and the model has met with quite a lot of success and positive feedback from our customers.”

“This has motivated us to replicate the model at more pharma stations thus growing our pharma corridors network to more than 20 stations. We’ll continue to look at how pharma flows through our network and add more stations in the future,” he added.

During the financial year 2018/19, the carrier transported more than 75,000 tonnes of pharma through its network.