Changi Airport strengthens pharmaceutical handling capabilities

Published on : Thursday, October 27, 2016

Changi AirportChangi Airport is the first airport in Asia to join pharmaceutical-focused organisation Pharma.Aero as a strategic member, alongside partner Singapore Airlines Cargo who comes on board as a full member. Both Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines Cargo envisage that this effort will raise pharmaceutical handling capabilities at Changi Airport.


An organisation comprising of stakeholders of the air cargo supply chain from around the world, Pharma.Aero is dedicated to achieving excellence in end-to-end air transportation for pharma cargo. Brussels Airport and Miami Airport are the founding members of Pharma.Aero, while other members include Sharjah International Airport, Brussels Airlines and Brinks Life Sciences.


Mr Lim Ching Kiat, Managing Director, Air Hub Development, Changi Airport Group, said, “Pharmaceuticals is among our fastest growing cargo segments, registering a 19% year-on-year growth in the first nine months of 2016. We are also the first airport in Asia to embark on a community approach for IATA CEIV Pharma. With Changi Airport’s strong connectivity and facilities, Singapore is well-positioned to be the preferred gateway for pharma cargo in Asia. Our participation in Pharma.Aero will further strengthen our capabilities to handle pharma cargo and enhance the pharma supply chain in Singapore.”


The South West Pacific and North East Asia regions account for 45% of total share of pharmaceutical cargo at Changi Airport. In terms of volume, Australia, China and India are Changi’s top three pharmaceutical markets on a year-to-date (January to September 2016) basis. The top markets showing strongest growth for the period are China (+51%), Vietnam (+35%) and Hong Kong (+32%).


Pharmaceutical products that pass through Changi Airport include vaccines, tablets and pills. These products are highly sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. Pharmaceutical cargo is the sixth most valued segment in terms of total air cargo handled, and account for under 10% of total value of cargo handled.


Changi Airport is well-equipped with specialised facilities to be the preferred gateway of pharma cargo in Asia, with both ground handlers (Coolport by SATS and Coolchain by dnata) capable of handling more than 300,000 tonnes of temperature sensitive cargo annually. With excellent connectivity and strong mix of freighter and bellyhold capacity provides ample options for pharma shippers to access the global economy.


Changi Airport is the first airport in Asia to embark on a community approach for the IATA CEIV Pharma certification, raising the local community’s handling standards and capability for temperature-sensitive pharma cargo. The pioneer group of companies in the Changi CEIV Community consists of Singapore Airlines Cargo, dnata Singapore, Global Airfreight International Expeditors Singapore, CEVA Logistics Singapore, and Schenker Singapore. SATS Coolport was the first facility in the world to attain the IATA CEIV Pharma certification in 2014.


Global spending on pharma cold chain logistics is projected to grow at 8-9% per year, totaling US$16.7 billion by 2020 according to Pharmaceutical Commerce. Asia is expected to account for the largest regional share growth with more than $1.2 billion of cold-chain growth through 2019.


Looking forward, Changi Airport hopes to strengthen its pharmaceutical cargo handling capabilities by progressively working with more cargo partners to attain IATA CEIV certification, and by collaborating with members of Pharma.Aero to share market knowledge and implement best practices to better serve the pharmaceutical industry.


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