Keeping things cool

Cathay Cargo offers a range of cooltainers from seven suppliers to keep the cool chain unbroken for temperature-sensitive shipments

With vaccine shipments in the news, there has been a lot of media attention surrounding cool-chain logistics, and a real interest in how temperature-sensitive goods are transported. In many cases, these shipments are only possible because of the cooltainer technology supplied by expert manufacturers across the globe.

Cathay Cargo offers products from seven of the world’s leading suppliers – CSafe Global, DoKaSch, Envirotainer, Skycell, Sonoco ThermoSafe, Tower Cold Chain and va-Q-tec. This allows for specific temperatures in an operating range from as low as -80°C to +40°C, creating the widest choice in Asia.

‘We want to offer our customers flexibility and choice in terms of container size and temperature range, across active and passive products,’ says Cathay Cargo Products Manager Alex Leung. ‘The product range from these suppliers can handle every type of shipment, from perishables to pharma, across a large temperature range.’

The other important issue from a customer perspective is availability and a good geographical spread of service hubs, so that the cooltainers are readily available across the world. Leung adds: ‘Many of our suppliers have hubs at Hong Kong, but pharma shipments, for example, tend to have origins in Europe, the US and Australia, so it’s important to offer solutions that the market wants and to have availability where it is needed.’

Here is some information about Cathay Cargo’s chosen suppliers’ products, and where they are available across the world.

CSafe RKN temperature controlled shipment container

CSafe Global

Products:  CSafe RKN, RAP

Vital stats: RKN: payload volume 2m³; max payload 941kg. RAP: payload volume 6.68m³; max payload 4,819kg.

Temp range: +4°C to +25°C, in 1°C increments.

Active/passive: Active.

Availability:CSafe Global has thousands of containers and uses an AI logistics platform which allows for better forecasting of needs.

Service centres/hubs: 45. Americas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dayton, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Juan, Sao Paulo, Toronto. APAC: Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Incheon, Osaka, Melbourne, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo Narita. EMEA: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, Florence, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris CDG, Rome, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Zurich.


The CSafe RKN and RAP are both active containers capable of heating and cooling the payload within a set temperature range. The RKN can hold one standard EU or US pallet, while the RAP can hold five.

CSafe’s containers feature superior Vacuum Insulated Panel (VIP) insulation delivering extended battery run time of more than 120 hours. They can operate in extreme ambient conditions (-30°C to +54°C). The temperature management system uses an array of sensors, and the company is implementing real-time shipment visibility via an integrated telemetry device that delivers data to a cloud-based platform.

The containers’ air recirculation system delivers a precise temperature-controlled ‘air cushion’ without the need to load the product on a pallet, thus increasing payload volume to maximise value.

For more information, click here.

DoKasch temperature controlled shipment container


Products: Opticooler RAP and RKN

Vital stats: Opticooler comes in two sizes – RAP and RKN. The RAP can hold five Euro pallets (usable volume 6.57m³), the RKN 1.5 Euro pallets (usable volume 1.88m³).

Temp range: Between +2°C to +30°C (including presets of +2°C to +8°C and +5°C to +25°C), operating effectively in ambient temperatures of +30°C to +50°C.

Active/passive: Both are battery-powered, active temperature-controlled ULDs.

Availability: DoKaSch has proven availability with a standard lead time of four working days. Delivery to client facilities come with no trucking costs within the free delivery area, which includes markets such as the US, Europe, Israel, India, and Japan. Express overnight delivery can be arranged.

Service centres/hubs: DoKaSch has delivery/stock areas across the US, Europe, Israel, India, Japan and many more locations across the globe.

Features: Opticoolers offer the highest standards of temperature reliability, 100 per cent availability and a free delivery network in specific markets. Battery charging time is quick on both unit sizes – from zero to 100 per cent in around four hours, and around two and a half hours from 50 per cent to fully charged.

For more information, click here.

Envirotainer temperature controlled shipment container


Products: Releye® RLP, Releye® RAP, RKN e1, RAP e2, RKN t2, RAP t2

Vital stats: RKN, RLP, RAP

Temp range: Deep frozen to CRT (controlled room temperature) depending on ULD type and configuration.

Active/passive: Spanning active temperature-controlled systems and dry-ice-cooled solutions.

Availability: More than 6,500 ULDs with annual capacity to ship more than 200,000 pallets with industry-leading availability of units.

Service centres/hubs: More than 50 service stations globally, covering more than 300 airports, more than 2,000 trade lanes, and with regional operations centres in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas.

Features: Envirotainer solutions are FAA and EASA-certified. There are six different active solutions with the state-of-the-art Releye® RAP being the most environmentally friendly temperature-controlled ULD available in the market. For ultracold shipments RAP t2 features a thermostat-controlled heat exchanger powered by alkaline batteries, using dry ice as a coolant. The RAP e2 maintains product temperatures in the +2°C to +8°C range, controlled room temperature (+15°C to +25°C) range or at any chosen set temperature between 0°C and +25°C in nearly any ambient condition.

For more information, click here.

SkyCell temperature controlled shipment container


Products: 1500X-COL, 1500C, 2500C (+2°C to +8°C); 1500X-CRT, 1500CRT, 2500CRT (+15°C to +25°C); 1500DF (-60°C to -80°C); 1500F (-15°C to -30°C)

Vital stats: 1500 Series: One EU pallet or one US pallet; 2500 Series: Two EU pallets, one US pallet

Temp range: -80°C to +25°C (as low as -30°C without dry ice).

Active/passive: Hybrid cooling solution that can recharge without the need for mechanical components.

Availability: Global availability.

Service centres/hubs: 25 service centres worldwide.

Features: Its innovative Hybrid Solution means that SkyCell containers protect healthcare systems by reducing in-transit failure rate to a market-leading low of less than 0.1% temperature excursions, as audited by Ernst & Young. SkyCell containers offer an average runtime of 270 hours (independent runtime at 20°C, 1500X series) and automatic self-charge functions in a cooling chamber or reefer truck. The light nano-coated insulation reflects 96 per cent of heat radiation, enabling the containers to protect medicine under extreme weather conditions, while the shock and vibration absorption system also protects medicinal products. The double-door system offers humidity protection.

SkyCell SECURE enables pharma companies to have real-time, end-to-end oversight of every shipment. Containers are equipped with IoT sensors, with each container collecting roughly 10,000 data points on a typical trip.

Containers are delivered quality-checked, ready to use, and easy to handle, with no plug sockets required, decreasing dependency on warehouse facilities. They are designed to be X-rayed as a unit, so there is no need to remove pharma products, reducing the potential for human error still further.

For more information, click here.

Sonoco Thermosafe Pegasus ULD temperature controlled shipment container

Sonoco ThermoSafe

Product: Pegasus ULD

Vital stats: One US or EUR pallet can be loaded inside the ULD.

Temp range: 300+ hours protection at +2°C to +8°C, with more ranges to follow later.

Active/passive: Advanced passive ULD.

Availability: To be available across the Cathay Cargo network.

Service centres/hubs: 10 Sonoco Stations during 2022, with more to be added in 2023, increasingly available throughout the Cathay Cargo network.

Features: Sonoco ThermoSafe’s Pegasus ULD® is the world’s first FAA and EASA-approved advanced passive, aircraft-certified, temperature-controlled container for shipping pharmaceutical and life science products, which enables it to uplift to the aircraft directly and speed through international air freight handling and customs processes at the lowest possible work and cost.

With a focus on sustainability, the Pegasus ULD® is engineered with composite materials, offering a lighter-weight solution that is also substantially more damage-resistant than traditional metal containers.

Additionally, the Pegasus ULD® is fitted with FAA-approved telemetry system providing real-time, cloud-based data on payload and ambient temperature, plus key environmental factors, precisely synchronised with GPS location.

For more information, click here.

Tower temperature controlled shipment container

Tower Cold Chain

Product: Passive temperature-controlled reusable containers.

Vital stats: A range of solutions of various sizes covering up to Euro and US Double, single and sub palette containers, as well as a smaller manually handleable solution. Payload volume from 26.5 litres to 3,075 litres.

Temp range: 120+ hours protection at -80°C (ultracold), -60°C (ultracold), -20°C (frozen), +5°C (refrigerated) and +20°C (controlled room temperature) shipments (special temperatures from -40°C to +40°C without dry ice).

Active/passive: Innovative passive temperature-controlled containers, dry-ice-free as low as -40°C.

Availability: Global availability, as stock is held in all regions. Sourcing through hub network within 24 hours or quicker.

Service centres/hubs: Headquartered in the UK, Tower Cold Chain operates a global network ensuring availability and easy access to products for all customers. Strategically located global hub network allows easy rental or longer-term lease service. Hubs as of October 2022 include: Amsterdam, Brussels, Chicago, Dublin, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Mumbai, Philadelphia, Port Elizabeth, San Francisco, Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG), Singapore, Zurich.

Features: Patented design technology ensures solutions meet the pharmaceutical industry performance standard, providing a minimum of 120 hours temperature compliance in any environment, anywhere in the world.

Ideally suited for the transportation of pharmaceutical and life science products: all vaccines including C19 vaccines and ABIs; API and diagnostic kits; biopharmaceutical solutions; diagnostics specimen samples; cell lines bacteria; micro-organisms; proteins and other samples and solutions; clinical trial kits and any other product requiring a stable temperature environment for transportation.

Containers feature easy load and unloading processes. They do not require external power or human intervention during transportation. Containers can be fully tailored and adapted to needs in regards to temperature, weight and duration. They include an integrated Bluetooth data-logger (RTCA DO 160G Part 21 H Compliant) with additional security features including physical tamper evidence and lockable options. All units have potential to be fully connected with integrated IoT solutions. They are robust, washable and fully reusable for a circular supply chain solution with an easy and quick reconfiguration for subsequent shipments, and they are tested to ISTA 7D summer and winter temperature profiles.

For more information, click here.


Product: va-Q-tainer

Vital Stats: A full range of container sizes to fit your product requirements, from half-euro pallet to two US pallet payload volumes.

Temp range: -80°C to +25°C: -50°C & -37°C without dry ice

Active/passive: High-performance passive thermal technology as low as -50°C without having to use Dry Ice.

Availability: A fleet of all sizes and temperature capabilities is available across the Cathay Cargo network.

Service centres/hubs: 40 Global TempChain Service Centres.

Features: Offers a broad product portfolio of thermal packaging and container solutions for global active pharmaceutical, biotech and logistic companies. Passive technology is energy-efficient and creates a low CO2 footprint using a sustainable rental model. Superior high-performance packaging is space-saving technology that can reduce cost by using VIPs (vacuum insulation panels) and PCM (phase change materials).

For more information, click here.