A pharma solution for a post-pandemic world

The refreshed Cathay Pharma combines expertise and innovation in an unbeatable package

Cathay Pacific Cargo has consolidated and refreshed its comprehensive pharmaceutical logistics solution under a new name: Cathay Pharma.

The move combines Cathay Pacific Cargo’s extensive resources and accreditations with new developments in tracking technology and packaging, and then adds the agility that was central to the urgent requirements of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which has seen Cathay Pacific Cargo and airlines within the Cathay Pacific Group safely transport more than 200 million doses to date.

‘We felt this was the ideal time to refresh our specialist shipment solution for our pharmaceutical customers,’ says Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Tom Owen. ‘We have had many years of experience in shipping life science products and understand all too well the potential costs in lives and dollars if these shipments don’t arrive in perfect condition.’

A load being moved in the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal's Pharma Handling Centre
Cathay Pacific Cargo's expert handling is combined with innovation

Simplified and streamlined

The Cathay Pharma solution is now streamlined under two simplified headings – Active and Passive. The Active part of the solution deploys ‘active’ containers, those with thermostatic mechanisms. Passive uses passive coolants and insulation to maintain temperature in its packaging. Bookings made under both Active and Passive include expedient ground handling and priority tarmac transfers, to limit the risk of temperature excursions while shipments are exposed to ambient outdoor temperatures.

Cathay Pharma offers four industry standard temperature ranges and the widest overall range in Asia
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Within both is a wider array of features, including the widest packaging choice, with two new cool container suppliers bringing the total to seven. Cathay Pharma also now offers four industry standard transportation temperature ranges, including ERT (extended room temperature) for the first time in response to industry demand.

A new pharma facility for Hong Kong

There have also been infrastructural developments, with the recent opening of the new Pharma Handling Centre at the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal. This is the largest such facility at Hong Kong International Airport, featuring computer-controlled temperature management systems. It doubles the terminal’s overall temperature-controlled storage capacity and enables the processing of some 235,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals per year.

The terminal is also home to some of the new digital innovations that are adding transparency to the shipment journey. This includes the introduction of two new milestones, FIW and FOW (freight in and out of warehouse), on the Cargo iQ Master Operating Plan.

A Cathay Pacific Cargo Ultra Track Bluetooth logger passing between two people
Bluetooth loggers enable 24/7 shipment monitoring with Ultra Track

Innovations and greater visibility

Meanwhile, bookings made with signature next-generation track and trace service Ultra Track have the benefit of 24/7 shipment monitoring, with proactive en-route intervention via the Operations Control Centre, and live chat for real-time enquiries. There are further potential system linkages for greater visibility with shippers and forwarders, using APIs to communicate data back and forth using IATA’s ONE Record standards; some have already been trialled.

‘We’ve listened to our customers and made investments to deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers,’ adds Owen. ‘These investments show our determination to become the world’s most customer-centric air cargo service provider. We will continuously improve our service and continue adapting to industry trends and requirements as they develop.’

A shipment being loaded onto a Cathay Pacific plane
Temperature-sensitive shipments are protected at every stage of the Cathay Pacific Cargo journey

Quality assurance

The new features of Cathay Pharma run alongside long-established hallmarks of quality. Cathay Pacific Cargo has held the assurance of IATA’s CEIV Pharma certification since 2017. It extends across the whole community at Hong Kong International Airport, be it in the air, in the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal or transferring between them with fully owned subsidiary HAS (Hong Kong Airport Services), covered for ground handling and loading. Meanwhile there are dedicated Pharma Coordinators at outports, and at more than 70 qualified pharma centres on the network.

‘Our people are expert and experienced,’ says Owen. ‘We are sure that Cathay Pharma is the right approach for pharma logistics. With our team of expert handlers and our technologically advanced offering, we are confident that Cathay Pharma is a comprehensive and best-in-class range of specialised and professional air cargo services for life-science shipments. It is designed to meet exacting customer needs and ensure that these high-value and life-saving pharmaceutical shipments arrive in perfect condition.’