'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

The Cool Chain Association says the time to act on standards and care in transporting perishables and pharma is now more than ever

The Cool Chain Association says the time to act on standards and care in transporting perishables and pharma is now more than ever

Dallas, Texas (US) – 8th December 2017. The Cool Chain Association’s 2nd Pharma and Perishables conference in Dallas, Texas: a two-day conference split between dedicated days on the transportation of perishables and pharma. The event produced a varied, impassioned and productive set of discussions with a clear directive - there is no time to wait. Better, tangibly defined and more accessible standards must be put in place and met – our lives literally depend on it. 

Are perishables treated with the same care and dedication as pharmaceutical products when transported by air cargo? That was one of the fundamental questions on the mind of the Cool Chain Association’s chairman, Stavros Evangelakakis on the first day of the conference - arguably no, according to members of the board. The industry has a responsibility to change this.

The event, with the support of American Airlines Cargo, SkyCell, dnata, Air France KLM and the conference host, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, was kicked off by Stavros by discussing a hard truth about perishables: a 1/3 of all food in the US is wasted or lost. This is a major issue, which the Cool Chain wants to help to resolve. Cool Chain want to take this issue to IATA and Stavros suggested implementing the same standards seen in the healthcare industry to perishables to ensure this level of wastage is dramatically lowered. 

From transporting avocados to cherries to flowers; the best methods to maximise the accuracy of measuring the temperature inside ULDs, the perspectives of the cargo handlers, airport and airlines, the discussion on perishables urged that now was the time to guarantee customers the best service as the sector reaches its point of maturation. 

A number of industry experts discussed – with great passion – the urge for care and high standards in transporting perishables. Perishable cargo includes food and “food is life,” and vastly important for the world as stated by Able Freight’s Sales and Marketing Director, Xavier Ripoll. 

The second day of the conference kicked off following a Texan-themed dinner the previous night hosted and organized by DFW airport that demonstrated the best of the Lone-Star state’s specific and celebrated culture. Delegates enjoyed an evening of drinks and dinner adorned with complimentary straw Stetson hats.

Similar to day one, a great deal of care and deep thought was given to the importance of care and standards in pharma transportation; the day opened with a panel discussion on shipping pharma and the process involved, headed by Brandon Fried of the Airforwarders Association. 

It was remarked that cool chain standards and care have only been seriously in place since 2008/2009 – pharma used to be shipped as general cargo in some instances -  and although a great deal of progress has been made, “we’re not where we should be,” according to the panel.

The 2nd Pharma and Perishables conference ended with a group of table discussions as the industry leaders of the association came together in collaboration to strengthen the community of cool chain logistics providers.

The Cool Chain Association will put its foot down when it comes to promoting sustained, healthy progress in the transportation of perishable and pharma cargo. Specifically, we must, for the sake of all our customers, treat perishable cargo with the same care, respect and transparency as we do pharma. The pursuit of new and emerging markets such as South American and Africa will be crucial, as will be delivering exactly on the key expectations of shippers.