Focus on pharmaceuticals: Frankfurt

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The Air Cargo Community Frankfurt has approached the international pharmaceutical industry in Germany with a series of initiatives to develop new ideas and concrete innovations aimed at allowing pharmaceutical shipments to be handled “even faster and more efficiently” via Frankfurt Airport.

The programme was launched in September with the ‘Air Cargo Community Frankfurt meets Pharma’ Forum, which included representatives of pharmaceutical companies and the Regional Council of Darmstadt. Discussions focused on the expectations and future requirements of the industry with regard to an optimum air transport chain. Representatives of Frankfurt’s air freight community outlined the services already available, especially for the safe transport of highly sensitive pharmaceutical shipments – services that they claimed “go far beyond the range of many other major airports and provide the basis for Frankfurt’s leading position in Europe”.

This was followed a few days later by a meeting at Frankfurt Airport of the International Business Committee of the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI), with approximately 30 participants. Here again, extensive options were intensively discussed as to how the participating logistics companies at the airport, from the airlines right down to the ground handling agents, can further improve their portfolio of services for pharmaceutical companies.

Joachim von Winning, executive director of the Air Cargo Community Frankfurt, said both events went very successfully for everyone involved. “On the one hand, we have been able to pick up some excellent suggestions for the work of our competence teams in the community. On the other, we were able to explain the key strengths of the location and present them in detail. Following this positive experience, in a third stage we will now visit other pharmaceutical companies and hold direct discussions with those responsible for logistics there.”

He said Frankfurt Airport offered the ideal conditions to satisfy the increasingly demanding requirements for rapid, reliable and efficient air transport for pharmaceutical shipments, with more than 7,000sqm of ‘front-line’ temperature-controlled and GDP-certified storage and handling areas with direct access to the apron. In addition, he said there were also numerous high-quality services that freight forwarders can take advantage of as required.

“These include, for example, modern thermal transporters specially designed for the transport of temperature-sensitive goods on the apron. So, irrespectively of weather conditions and the temperature outdoors, they ensure the proper compliance with the necessary cold chain,” the organisation said.

“Frankfurt can also boast one special feature: with the help of thermal vans, an extremely powerful infrastructure for ground handling has been developed on the basis of which – despite occasionally slightly longer distances at Germany’s largest airport – the handling of goods in a non-temperature controlled environment is always less than five minutes.”

Von Winning concluded: “In particular, this unique ‘5-minute product’ demonstrates that Frankfurt is in a position to offer the industry and the freight forwarders top services which are among the best worldwide. For us, this is the best foundation for building on and, in cooperation with the stakeholders including public authorities, to further optimise the performance around the transport of pharmaceutical products and to strengthen Frankfurt’s position as the leading hub for air cargo and especially for the transport of pharmaceuticals.”

Air Cargo Community Frankfurt is an association of 33 member companies, institutions, and organizations representing all areas of the air cargo supply chain, with the objective of promoting the air freight location of Frankfurt. The association has three working groups: Temperature-controlled Transport; Processes & Infrastructure; and Location Marketing & Community Building; as well as various specialist groups that represent the entire range of air freight services offered at Frankfurt.