‘Fluctuations in Air Freight Impacts Pharma Supply Chains’

Published Date : Dec 17, 2014

Air freight has been considered to be imperative to the pharmaceutical industry more so as supply chains take on a more complex shape. The Life Science and Pharmaceutical conference held in London on Tuesday stressed upon this very fact.

Emerging trends such as healthcare at home, increasing clinical trials across the globe, and advanced therapies as well as companion diagnostics have tremendously changed the pharmaceutical industry, according to David Spillet, key account director at World Courier – a specialist pharmaceutical logistics firm. 

A factor that favors air freight is the preference for just-in-time and lean logistics, and David Spillett states that air freight requires to be able to track as well as monitor shipments in a much more effective manner. GPS monitors help in transmitting data such as internal temperature and location of a particular shipment and the pharmaceutical industry needs a system such as this. In case of any deviation or obstacles, live feed available regarding the shipment can help companies in making decisions upfront and send another shipment even before the first one reaches. This way, the supply is maintained. Spillett also says that by introducing and incorporating GPS systems, the pharmaceutical industry is likely to benefit to a great extent.

If one compares air shipment with those shipped by sea, air travel has the advantage of speed while sending a shipment by ocean allows for better temperature control. As far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned, air freight has witnessed a 4% increase in shipments whereas shipment by sea has observed an 8% rise.