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22


Issue 3 2021 - Freight Business Journal Healthy growth


While all eyes have been on the progress of the Covid vaccine rollout, pharma and life products of all types continue to move around the world in numbers. Even before the pandemic, it was becoming an increasingly important business segment for the world airlines – and shipping operators.


///PHARMA


network are Munich and Chicago, both of them in important regions for pharma traffi c. A spokesman for the airline


Fears that the airliſt of the Covid vaccine would swamp global airfreight capacity appear to be groundless. According to Luſt hansa Cargo chief executive Dorothea von Boxberg, contrary to expectations the amount of Covid 19 vaccine being moved by air was currently quite low. Speaking in early March, she said that half of all the vaccines that had been moved so far had gone by truck, mainly because they were domestic or regional rather than intercontinental shipments. “We have fl own a few vaccines,


but not so many,” she told an online news conference on 3 March. “We do expect a higher share later, but it will still be small amounts,” she predicted. There were several reasons for


this, she explained. One was that vaccines were quite low volume consignments.


“Even if you’re


shipping millions of them, you don’t need a large amount of air capacity.” An IATA study last year also assumed that vaccines would


need to be shipped at ultra-low temperatures and hence would copious amounts of dry ice to keep them frozen. IATA had predicted that capacity equal to 8,000 747 freighters would thus be needed. However,


vaccine


manufacturers had in fact developed product that could be shipped at normal pharma temperatures of 2-8°C and did not need bulky dry ice. Rather than other traffi c having


to be turned away in order to ship vaccines, Boxberg predicted that vaccine shipments would amount


to around a tenth of


normal pharma volumes. The volumes of vaccine


moving had also been aff ected by production facilities being set up in some major markets. At a press conference


announcing the carrier’s results for 2020, Boxberg said that she predicted that Luſt hansa Cargo’s pharma traffi c would rise from an estimated 606,000 tonnes in 2020 to just short of 700,000t


will, naturally, be a temperature- controlled service. Worldwide, Boxberg predicts


that around 87,000 tonnes of Covid vaccine will move by air, with Luſt hansa Cargo accounting


of the total global pharma market. CEIV certifi cation currently covers 32 stations around the world. Recent


additions to


in 2021, with especially strong increases on routes to the US and India. Luſt hansa Cargo has set up


a dedicated Covid 19 Temp Premium service to move the vaccine. It will off er priority booking and a high degree of transparency managed by a dedicated control tower and


for perhaps 10,000t of that. It


was, she said, “a good amount of business to have, but not a game- changer”. Luſt hansa Cargo will continue


to invest in its ground facilities for pharma, as it has done for many years. It was among the fi rst carriers to be CEIV-certifi ed, as befi ts an airline with a large share


explained that Luſt hansa Cargo had already invested heavily in ground infrastructure for pharma before the pandemic “and is very well positioned with its pharmaceutical hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Shanghai and Chicago as well as over 30 CEIV-Pharma certifi ed stations worldwide, one of the world’s largest airline pharmaceutical networks”. This includes a large number of additional stations for temperature-controlled freight worldwide. The spokesman added that


the carrier is also continuing to expand its network of certifi ed stations worldwide, for example with recent certifi cations of the pharma hubs in Munich and Chicago. Meanwhile, the Covid-vaccine-


the temperature controlled station


related pharma airfreight market “is still developing and very dynamic. For example, diff erent routes may still vary depending on future production sites for approved vaccines and the respective recipient markets. Nevertheless, we assume the Covid-19 vaccine transports will increase in the second and third


quarter of 2021.” The ability of the airfreight


industry generally to move pharma shipments has though been aff ected by the severe downturn in passenger fl ights and accompanying bellyhold capacity. However, in Luſt hansa’s case: “With our off er of routes, we follow the demand of our customers as fl exibly as possible. Our current 17 freighters are being utilised to the fullest possible extent, and we have recently decided to operate some freighters that are scheduled for retirement for a few more months. If necessary, we can again add capacity with passenger aircraſt .” She points out, also, that a


stronger network of passenger fl ights operated by the Luſt hansa Group would also be signifi cant in terms of additional cargo capacity. Other aspects of the pharma


supply chain are constantly under improvement, for instance through digitalization. “In close cooperation with active temperature control container providers, we aim to increase transparency along the supply chain of pharma shipments. The Internet of Things is a key element to create additional benefi ts for all involved parties.”


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