Hong Kong and Brussels airports launch pharma corridor

07 / 01 / 2019

  • A cool dollie of the type already in use at Brussels Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Brussels Airport have launched an airport-to-airport (A2A) pharma corridor for temperature-sensitive medicines that will pioneer a global network of specialist pharma corridors.

Pharma shipments travelling the Hong Kong-Brussels airports corridor will be handled in strict compliance with the CEIV Pharma standards and carried by CEIV Pharma-certified airlines.

As part of the new service, Hong Kong's airport is adding 19 common-use, temperature-controlled cool dollies to its ground fleet for the ramp transfer of pharma goods by airlines, plus it is also building apron shelters to protect pharma shipments from direct weather elements.

The initiative is in collaboration with Pharma.Aero, which fosters collaboration between airport communities that have achieved IATA's Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) certification. Both HKIA and Brussels Airport have attained CEIV Pharma.

A statement from HKIA said that the initiative aims to "pioneer service offerings and standards that provide assurance in handling quality of the temperature-sensitive pharma products".

Added the statement: "Shippers will be assured of seamless A2A temperature-controlled handling and provided with handling information, hence assuring the integrity of the shipments. In collaboration with Pharma.Aero and with the participation of pharma shippers, key performance indicators will be defined, targeting to set A2A pharma handling standards."

Alaina Shum, general manager for aviation logistics at Airport Authority Hong Kong, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Brussels Airport, Europe’s key air cargo hub for handling pharmaceutical shipments, to establish this A2A pharma corridor.

"It marks another milestone in our continuous endeavours to make HKIA a preferred pharmaceutical transshipment hub and to strengthen our status as the world’s busiest cargo airport.

Shum continued: "Moreover, to ensure airport-wide seamless temperature-controlled handling, we are taking delivery of 19 additional cool dollies for common-use by the airlines, meaning that all airlines will always have the option to deploy cool dollies for their temperature-sensitive shipments. We are also building apron shelters to protect the pharmaceutical shipments from direct weather elements.”

Steven Polmans, head of cargo and logistics for Brussels Airport, said: “Our aim is to grow the volume of pharmaceutical shipments at Brussels Airport by focusing on quality and transparency.

“From the beginning, we have reached out to shippers and manufacturers to understand their requirements and work with them and the rest of our cargo community. We have been focusing on improving processes, finding innovative solutions and effectively implementing various projects.

"With Pharma.Aero, our focus has expanded to cover end-to-end and lane solutions. This cooperation with HKIA for a dedicated pharma lane is a first but important step in creating specialised, dedicated pharma corridors. Our pharma volumes between Brussels and Hong Kong as well as the rest of Asia and Australia are significant, so this improved solution for our customers is being welcomed by the market very much.”

Frank Van Gelder, secretary general of Pharma.Aero, said: “We have received great support from our members including pharmaceuticals companies MSD and Pfizer to participate in this pharma corridor project. Their participation will help to validate the services and key performance indices of the A2A pharma corridor, making sure it provides all pharmaceuticals shippers the genuine value and peace of mind.

Van Gelder indicated that the Hong Kong initiative will be introduced at other Pharma.Aero member airports, to form a network of pharma corridors.