swiss © Alexandre Fagundes De Fagundes
© Alexandre Fagundes De Fagundes

Continuing demand for high-quality air and road freight transport from pharmaceutical shippers is driving the industry to invest heavily in certification.

Forwarder Gefco announced yesterday it had become the latest player to gain Good Distribution (GDP) certification, while Swiss WorldCargo announced it was now fully CEIV certified.

They are among a rash of operators clamouring for certification, with Edmonton and Hong Kong aiming to be the first CEIV-certified airports in their countries.

Head of Gefco management system Alain Vignon said gaining GDP compliance was “further proof” of its commitment to secure and make compliant life sciences and healthcare shipments.

Earlier this year, Gefco opened a life sciences and healthcare-dedicated temperature-controlled warehouse near Heathrow to complements its air and sea warehouses in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. It received IATA-CEIV Pharma certification for its air and sea activity in the Netherlands last year.

Valid for three years, GDP certification follows EC guidelines on handling and distributing pharmaceutical products for humans. Latest figures from WorldACD indicated a 9.5% upturn in demand for pharmaceutical and temperature-sensitive shipments travelling by air. That makes the sector, with the exception of live animals, the fastest-growing air cargo vertical.

Congratulating Swiss WorldCargo on achieving CEIV certification across all its stations, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said it was an important achievement for the carrier.

“[It] demonstrates their commitment to the critical safeguarding of the integrity of pharma products,” added Mr de Juniac.

The certification comes two years after the Swiss operator’s Zurich hub gained GDP certification.

The airline said it was continuing to develop a “pharma road map” to improve its footprint in the “important and growing” sector. Head of cargo Ashwin Bhat added: “Our commitment to upholding safety standards throughout our global network offers us opportunities to carry out pharmaceutical shipments around the world.

“We are happy to play a valuable role in the shipment of pharmaceutical and life-saving products every day.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Cargo has added to its pharma capabilities, granting flight approval for CSafe Rap’s temperature-controlled ULDs on its aircraft.

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