Healthy outlook for “Cool to Care”

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The newly-launched Nordic Pharma Chain Cool to Care offering builds on Finnair Cargo’s experience of transporting pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, staying ahead of regulations and bringing this aspect of the cargo portfolio bang up to date. 

 

There is more to carrying cargo than simply filling planes with palettes and containers. It is crucial to take account of what those palettes and containers contain. It is also a matter of providing quality, not just being able to carry quantity. That may sound like stating the obvious, but attention to detail in the air-freight business is what gives a carrier a competitive edge.

For many years Finnair Cargo has offered tailored services for different kinds of cargo, including those that are perishable, require special packaging and handling, or minimal temperature variations. In the case of pharmaceuticals, that means all three. The newly-launched Cool to Care offering complements Finnair Cargo’s portfolio in this specific area.

“Cool to Care is designed to meet the shipping requirements of the most sensitive pharmaceutical and healthcare products,” explains Mikko Matikka, manager of cargo products. “Customers in Europe and Nordics have been very satisfied with our service so far and now with Cool to Care we are confident of getting new business and satisfied customers, especially from Central Europe through our Brussels Hub.” 

Building on strong experience

Cool to Care is a new service feature for Finnair Cargo, says Matikka, although it has successfully transported pharmaceuticals for several years. 

“We have years of experience and knowledge of the transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. Our low turnover of employees keeps the expertise in-house and we can ensure the quality of our service by means of the constantly updated training program. With Cool to Care we can provide even better service to our valued customers who are looking for dedicated service for their pharmaceutical shipments.”

Matikka points out that pharmaceuticals and healthcare goods are among the most sensitive products transported by air. Due to stricter regulatory environment and increased focus on temperature and quality control it has been necessary to make changes to the entire transportation chain.

“All parties need to understand the risk factors to be able to ensure the safe transportation of these shipments. They must be packed to withstand normal air transport and handling conditions. Then it’s our responsibility to minimize the temperature variations during transportation. Our conversation with customers is the key factor in proactively minimizing the risks.”

Systematic approach to Cool to Care

“Over the last year we have gone over our overall pharma process and made improvements to it, aiming for even better service quality,” says Matikka. “We have also made investments in our Helsinki hub, and at the beginning of 2014 we will have additional special facilities for cool (COL) and room temperature (CRT) products. While minimizing the time for tarmac processes and using covered cargo dollies between terminal and aircraft, we are able to minimize temperature variations during this stage of transportation.” 

Finnair Cargo has tested thermal blankets with customers and received very positive feedback. “With Cool to Care we want to expand the offer of thermal blankets as we see that it is a proven way of minimizing temperature variations during critical stages of handling.” 

Paying special attention to the conditions for transporting pharmaceutical products not only attracts satisfied customers; it is also a regulatory requirement. According to Matikka, Finnair Cargo follows the requirements and instructions of Chapter 17 of IATA’s Perishable Cargo Regulations, which separates healthcare goods from other perishable cargo. 

“Chapter 17 is in line with the regulatory expectations and the newly updated Good Distribution Practice of Medicinal Products for Human Use gives a good guideline for handling pharmaceutical goods.”

Meanwhile, shippers and forwarding agents are conducting audits periodically to ensure the quality of handling and transportation of their pharmaceutical shipments. “We are expecting an increasing number of audits as more regulatory expectations arise in the future,” says Matikka.

Text by Tim Bird
Photo by iStock

 

 

Published November 21, 2013

Category: Finnair Cargo

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