Etihad Cargo and B Medical Systems sign sustainable pharma transport MoU

By Megan Ramsay

Photo: Etihad Cargo

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Cargo has signed an MoU with Luxembourg-based manufacturer and global distributor of medical refrigeration devices, B Medical Systems, to develop a solution specifically for the transportation by air of life-saving drugs, vaccines and high-value pharmaceuticals.

The project aims to create passive temperature-controlled containers that can maintain temperatures between -80 and +25 degrees Celsius for up to five days without requiring an external power source – thereby reducing carbon emissions. The units, with a capacity ranging from 2 to 1,500 litres, will have an operational life of over 10 years thanks to their robust, multifunctional design.

Trials are set to begin soon with a launch date to be announced upon their successful completion.

Martin Drew, Etihad Aviation Group’s senior vice president – sales and cargo, said Etihad Cargo is the first airline globally to collaborate with a partner in the development and launch of units specifically tailored to air transportation.

“While the aviation sector only accounts for four percent of global carbon emission today, if the sector continues to grow at its current pace, it could account for up to 25% of emissions by 2050. This is why it is so important for the sector to invest in more sustainable solutions for its customers.

“By replacing legacy active cold chain air transportation containers with aviation-specific units that consume less energy, Etihad Cargo is future-proofing the transportation of pharmaceuticals, providing a better solution for Etihad Cargo’s customers, the aviation industry and the environment.”

Jesal Doshi, deputy chief executive of B Medical Systems, said: “Transportation of temperature-sensitive specimens needs a robust cold chain. Etihad Cargo’s operational knowledge along with our expertise in creating quality medical cold chain solutions will enable us to develop aviation-specific sustainable units for the safe, effective and environmentally friendly transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and specimens.”

B Medical Systems’ existing portfolio includes products that use solar energy as well as green refrigerants.

In 2019, Etihad Cargo became the Middle East’s first carrier to be awarded IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification for pharmaceutical logistics.

Etihad gains first airline CEIV Pharma certification in the Middle East

Etihad Cargo interlines with Astral and KQ to accelerate vaccine rollout in Africa

Etihad transports large antiretroviral shipment as pharma volumes grow

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