With over 75,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals flown across the world during the Financial Year 2018/19, Emirates SkyCargo is one of the leading international players in the air transportation of pharmaceuticals.
Over the years, the freight division of Emirates has strengthened its capabilities to transport temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals from origin to destination.
The air cargo carrier has marked three important milestones as it continues to enhance its offerings to pharmaceutical manufacturers and freight forwarders.
GDP certification for Chicago pharma facility
Earlier this year, Emirates SkyCargo inaugurated a 1,000 square metre facility at Chicago airport for handling pharmaceuticals as part of its Pharma Corridors initiative which aims to offer enhanced protection for temperature sensitive pharma shipments from origin to destination.
The facility has now been certified as compliant to EU GDP guidelines by SGS, a leading certification services company. The GDP certification validates the high standards adhered to by the carrier when transporting temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals.
Emirates SkyCargo’s Chicago pharma facility, developed in partnership with ground handler Maestro, has a total capacity of close to 15,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals per year and offers a pharma corridor temperature controlled zones for acceptance and delivery, pharma cargo build up and break down, storage and direct ramp access. Since its launch, the facility has handled close to 6900 tonnes of pharma.
Move to GDP certified pharma facility in Copenhagen & expansion of pharma corridors
In line with its focus on fit-for-purpose facilities and development of pharma corridors between main pharma origin and destination stations, Emirates SkyCargo has also moved its pharma handling operations at Copenhagen to a dedicated GDP certified facility for pharmaceuticals developed by WFS.
The facility offers end to end handling of pharma cargo in a temperature controlled environment with two separate temperature ranges of 15-25 °C and 2-8 °C. With four dedicated gates and the capability to accept both loose and built up units, the facility will bolster Emirates SkyCargo’s pharma handling operations in Copenhagen.
The shift ensures that there is maximum focus on following the guidelines for handling pharmaceutical cargo including avoiding contamination with other kinds of cargo such as food and perishable goods.
Henrik Ambak, Emirates senior vice president, cargo operations worldwide, said: "Copenhagen is an important pharma station for Emirates SkyCargo and the move to a facility that provides dedicated pharma handling is aligned with our customer requirements for protecting the integrity of valuable pharma cargo while also ensuring that cargo is transported rapidly and efficiently.
"Our current priority is to strengthen our Pharma Corridors programme. We have done this by adding more relevant pharma origin and destination stations to the initiative- we have expanded the initiative to 25 stations globally from the 12 we started with initially. We’re also working to ensure that the capabilities we are developing with support from our ground handlers are fit-for-purpose. The Chicago GDP certification is also part of our overall plan to connect pharma cargo efficiently and securely," he added.
State of the art infrastructure in Dubai
Emirates SkyCargo operates more than 8,600 sq. metres of GDP certified space dedicated for the combined handling of pharmaceutical products at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central.
The carrier also operates a fleet of close to 50 dedicated Emirates Pharma Cool Dollies which provide temperature protection on the ramp when cargo is being moved between the aircraft and the terminal.
Through a partnership with DuPont, Emirates SkyCargo has rolled out a set of innovative thermal blankets called the Emirates White Cover which also provides a first level of protection against external temperature fluctuations for cargo.
Emirates SkyCargo is the largest international airline cargo operator in the world connecting cargo customers to over 150 cities across six continents.
Emirates SkyCargo’s cargo hold capacity comprises Emirates’ fleet of more than 265 aircraft, including 12 freighters – 11 Boeing 777-Fs and one Boeing 747-F. During the last Financial Year, Emirates SkyCargo moved close to 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.