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The pharmaceutical industry relies on air transport for its speed, reliability, and efficiency in delivering high-value, time-sensitive, temperature-controlled cargo. Air carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, and airports provide quality services, but there are still many challenges.
According to a press release, Aeroméxico announced they recently joined the select group of companies that have the CEIV Pharma certification (Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics), awarded by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The Mexican flag carrier is the second Latin American carrier to get the CEIV Pharma certification, after LATAM Airlines.
A CEIV trade lane is a general classification of any transport-related activities between two defined countries.
CEIV Pharma ensures that facilities, equipment, operations, and staff comply with all applicable standards, regulations, and guidelines expected from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
By establishing a common foundation from existing regulations and standards, this certification ensures international and national compliance to safeguard product integrity while addressing specific air cargo needs.
It is also relevant to note that an airline, is not CEIV certified unless all their network stations went through the certification and/or Ground Service Providers have obtained CEIV Certification.
Thanks to this certification, the Mexican carrier will increase its connectivity in the transport of pharmaceutical products, highlighting 10 international hubs from Asia, Europe, and South America:
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Aeromexico has carried out nearly 400 charter flights to 15 countries, transporting almost 7 thousand tons of health supplies, and more than 80 tons of active substance for the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.
Other carriers that are CEIV Pharma certified are Finnair, Delta Cargo, Lufthansa, SAS Cargo, Air France, KLM, Turkish Cargo, DHL, Singapore Airlines Cargo, LATAM Cargo, Cathay Pacific, ANA, Swiss World Cargo, Etihad Airways, China Airlines, JAL Cargo, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, UPS, China Southern Airlines, LOT, Air Canada Cargo, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, EVA Air, Polar, Atlas Air, among others.
According to IATA, the global biopharma sales trend is projected to increase, with cold chain products growing at 1.8x the rate of non-cold chain products during the 2018 – 2024 period.
By 2024, world sales of cold-chain drugs and of biologics will likely top $440 billion, in a global biopharma market exceeding $1.58 trillion.
Pharmaceutical cargo transportation represents an important and lucrative sector for air cargo, contributing approximately $1.4 billion to total airline cargo revenue
It is important to mention, that this data does not include the dramatic shifts that have (or will continue) to occur due to the impact of COVID-19.
Assuming global COVID-19 vaccine coverage of 10 billion doses, it is expected that the vaccine distribution will require around 200,000 movements by pallet on 15,000 flights.
Given the current infrastructure, the feasibility to distribute COVID-19 vaccines within destination countries will greatly vary depending on the level of cold storage required.
Due to this pandemic, pharmaceutical transport by air has shown stronger growth than the regular air cargo market.
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