While Asia’s leading airports compete for the more voluminous perishable cargo such as foodstuffs and flowers, volumes of shipments from the often higher-yielding pharmaceutical sector are also increasing at a rapid rate.
“Asia is a fast-growing market for pharma goods, particularly India and China,” says Jack Lo, cargo product and marketing manager at Cathay Pacific Airways. “According to industry forecasts, China is expected to be the third largest market for pharmaceutical trade in terms of value by 2013.”
Cathay claims its end-to-end service to customers in the sector ensures shipments arrive at their destination in perfect condition. Its Pharma Lift product incorporates priority handling and a coordinated shipment process with multiple checkpoints throughout the journey, to any of the carrier’s 60 destinations worldwide, via its Hong Kong hub. Lo says a dedicated Pharma Lift team is assigned to look after every shipment.
“The warehouses used by Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong are equipped with sophisticated, well-managed cool rooms maintained at specific temperatures, and most Cathay Pacific overseas stations are equipped with similar cool-room facilities,” he adds. “Another important element is handling and delivery of the products between the aircraft and the warehouse. Temperature-controlled thermal dollies are deployed to ensure efficient transfer.”
The product has four service options: Active Pharma is supported by dry ice-based containers for frozen or chilled products; Heating and Cooling Pharma is supported by thermostat-controlled, air-conditioned system containers with compressor cooling and electrical heating functionalities, for temperatures ranging from 2 to 20°C; Passive Pharma enables shipments to travel at the most desirable ambient temperature in the range 2-8°C; while Room Temperature Pharma ensures shipments are protected from extreme changes in temperature and weather.
“The pharmaceutical industry is growing fast in Asia on both the manufacturing and consumer fronts,” says Lo. “We believe our product will quickly find a niche among shippers.”