August 28, 2014: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the decision of Brussels Airport to become the first European hub for pharmaceutical freight using IATA's global certification program for shipping cold-chain pharmaceuticals.
The IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV Pharma) is a standardized global certification program that trains and conducts onsite assessments to provide the expertise needed adequately to transport cold-chain pharmaceutical products across the world.
Brussels Airport is inviting a group of ten local stakeholders (ground handlers, freight forwarders, truckers and airlines) to undergo the CEIV Pharma training, bringing the cargo community together for the common goal of becoming certified. This will allow those Brussels-based stakeholders to offer pharmaceutical companies the competitive advantage of assuring cold-chain integrity to their clients.
Since the program goes beyond the Good Distribution Practices (GDP) covering air transport requirements, it is particularly attractive to forward-looking stakeholders who value the extra confidence this certification brings to their pharmaceutical clients. In February, SATS Coolport (Singapore)--which handled more than 15,200 tonnes of pharmaceuticals in 2013—received its CEIV Pharma certification.
The pharmaceutical industry has relied heavily on the airline industry for its speed and efficiency in transporting high-value, time- and temperature-sensitive cargo. However, until this year, there were no global certification standards that could be internationally recognized and implemented.
"IATA has been working very hard with our stakeholders to ensure product integrity for these types of shipments," said Tony Tyler, IATA Director General and CEO. "The CEIV Pharma certification program provides participants in the air cargo value chain with the tools to ensure that they are operating to the highest standards for the transport of what in many cases are life-saving drugs and medicines. And it will give pharmaceutical companies confidence and assurance that their cold-chain logistics requirements are being met through an independent certification process."
The global pharmaceutical industry will spend $8.36 billion on cold chain logistics in 2014 and is expected to expand to more than $10 billion by 2018 (1).
"Brussels Airport is aiming to strengthen its position as a leading gateway for the handling and transportation of pharmaceutical freight in Europe," said Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo at Brussels Airport. "We hope that our leadership in being recognized as a CEIV Pharma certified community will persuade other airports to do the same. It is important that cold-chain pharmaceutical products can be transported in a standardized, sanitary and secure way throughout the world."