Forecasts predict that the global pharmaceutical market will exceed $1.5 trillion by 2023, growing at an annual compounded rate of 3-6% over the next five years. The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science suggests that the United States and pharmerging markets will drive individual, respective growth spurts of 4%-7% and 5%-8% compounded annually. As the marketplace grows, air transportation is increasingly used for its speed, reliability, and efficiency.
In June 2017, Amerijet International Airlines, based at the Miami International Airport (MIA), became the first U.S. all-cargo airline to earn the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV) pharmaceutical certification. Amerijet offers pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical distributors, and their freight forwarding partners world-class cold-chain service throughout its network linking the USA with the Caribbean, Mexico, Central, and South America. “The CEIV certification means that our practices meet or exceed the national and international pharmaceutical shipping regulations and standards,” said Ron Irish, Temperature Controlled Manager at Amerijet. The rigorous certification process ensures that the carrier’s pharmaceutical processes involving handling, storage, training, and ground services, among other requirements, have been reviewed and approved by IATA.
Handling pharmaceuticals with care in the cold chain reduces risk
“One of the industry’s biggest challenges is avoiding temperature excursions during transit and storage,” Irish said. Amerijet’s quality assurance practices under the CEIV program include processes to ensure the labeling of pharmaceutical freight and information on the air waybill (AWB) is correct and that cold-chain requirements are met.
At Amerijet’s cargo facility in MIA, 15 of its 70 dock doors provide a chilled temperature-controlled environment across some 5,000 square feet (Perishables receiving only). “We minimize exposure of our inbound and outbound pharmaceutical-related shipments to ambient temperatures. We have the ability to load and unload cargo in a very short period and insure the shipment, whether raw materials or finished product, is in a temperature-controlled environment if required,” Irish said.
When shipments aren’t immediately going outbound, they are placed in storage at Amerijet’s 40,000 square-foot (3,700 sq. meter) Perishable Handling Center which provides refrigerated and chilled storage to maintain the cold chain integrity. The computer-monitored facility uses technologies such as active alarm systems, temperature data recorders, thermal mapping, and 24/7 CCTV monitoring to ensure safe storage and handling.
Amerijet temperature-controlled services for pharmaceuticals
Amerijet’s temperature-controlled airport-to-airport shipping services ensure cold-chain integrity and product quality and include:
Passive: for shipments requiring an ambient temperature range of +2°C to +8°C, typically vaccines and biologics, or a chilled temperature of +15°C to +25°C. Shipments are pre-packaged with dry ice or cold packs and can accept minor temperature fluctuations. They do not require transportation or storage in active temperature-controlled containers.
Active: for shipments requiring a temperature range of -20°C to +25°C. Shipments are accepted in temperature-controlled containers, which actively regulate temperature levels, irrespective of ambient conditions.
In addition, Amerijet offers these pharmaceutical and temperature-controlled services:
- Container leasing for pharmaceutical shipments
- Container pre-conditioning services include preparing active-temperature containers and releasing the shipment in the customer’s temperature-controlled truck
- Refrigerated ground services on LTL refrigerated trucks throughout the Miami airport (MIA), including pick-up and delivery, and additional door-to-door services