Changi Airport Group (CAG) in Singapore is to launch an initiative to help some of its supply chain attain independent certification for pharmaceutical handling.
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators on Pharmaceutical Handling (CEIV Pharma) is a standardised global certification programme that helps companies comply with pharmaceutical guidelines.
CAG will be supporting six companies from different parts of the air cargo supply chain to undergo this certification programme, providing support with costs and coordinating training sessions.
Companies will have to undergo training, and an assessment of their facilities and processes by independent, IATA-certified auditors to satisfy the strict requirements on pharmaceutical handling before receiving the certification.
Companies undergoing the certification process will have to maintain a cargo hold temperature of between 10-25 degrees Celsius and ensure appropriate handling from tarmac to loading and unloading.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will provide grants to co-fund the costs for the companies.
The companies that will be part of the Changi CEIV Community initiative and gain the support, are freight carrier SIA Cargo, airport ground handler dnata Singapore, Global Airfreight International, Expeditors Singapore, CEVA Logistics Singapore, and freight forwarders Schenker Singapore.
CAG said its cargo partner SATS Coolport was the first facility in the world to attain the IATA CEIV Pharma certification in 2014, and said it would progressively work with more cargo partners to gain the certification.
Yam Kum Weng, executive vice president, air hub and development, Changi Airport Group, said that pharmaceutical cargo was one of the fastest growing cargo segments in Changi Airport, and was complex due to the high value and temperature-sensitive nature of the cargo.
“With dedicated cold chain handling facilities by key cargo partners at Changi, coupled with our excellent connectivity, Changi is well-positioned to be a leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology hub in Asia,” he said.
“Through the IATA CEIV Pharma certification programme, CAG and our partners go one step further by taking a proactive approach in enhancing our cold chain handling capabilities to better serve the pharmaceuticals industry, further strengthening Changi’s position as a major cargo hub in the world.”
Last year, the global pharmaceutical industry spent over US$10bn (£7bn) on cold chain logistics, with the amount expected to exceed US$13bn (£9bn) by 2019, according to Said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president, Asia Pacific.
“I encourage other airports in the Asia Pacific region to follow Changi’s example and partner with IATA to establish similar communities as well,” said Clifford.
Changi handled 1.85m tonnes of cargo in 2015. Pharmaceuticals are one of the best performing cargo segments, growing 45% year-on-year in 2015.