'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

Community Certification Project for Pharma Handling at Brussels Airport

Community Certification Project for Pharma Handling at Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport to become world’s first CEIV Pharma certified community


Industry Context

The global pharmaceutical industry relies on the speed of air cargo for moving this high-value, temperature-sensitive cargo. Pharma shipping has in recent years become the fastest-growing segment of the international air freight industry and not only cargo carriers but forwarders and handlers have attempted to secure their share of the sector through branded and specialised products and services.

Key to the whole process of shipping pharmaceuticals is keeping each and every shipment within the defined temperature parameters. Historically, there have been an enormous number of different regionally based regulations for the industry like airlines, handlers and forwarders to comply with (such as the EU’s Good Distribution Practice, or GDP), but no global certification standards.

Brussels Airport Pharma Certification Program

Beginning of this year, Brussels Airport invited the whole of the BRUcargo air freight community to join the effort to upgrade, align and standardise the pharma handling processes as well as to train industry stakeholders through the entire supply chain on and around the airport in order to improve the handling of pharmaceutical cargo.

Additionally Brussels Airport worked collaboratively with IATA, in order to fill the void by offering a global industry certification standard. The framework will be the IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Handling programme, or CEIV Pharma.

Brussels Airport will be the first airport community to be certified by IATA, serving as a pilot project for IATA.  Furthermore it will be the first airport where all online handling agents will be pharma certified, triggering an increase in transparency and quality of pharma handling.

On 19 August the kick-off of the BRUcargo pharma certification program took place together with the IATA project team and the 11 participating companies.  All the different stakeholders that are involved in the cool chain through the airport are represented in the pilot group: airlines (Brussels Airlines Cargo, Finnair Cargo), handling agents (Aviapartner, Swissport, WFS), forwarders (AD Handling, Bio Pharma Logistics, Expeditors, UTi, SDV), truckers (Jan de Rijk).

“The wide range and diversity of the participants shows the broad interest of the pharma logistics community based at BRUcargo and the commitment to take the pharma handling to a next level” says Nathan De Valck, Brussels' cargo resident pharma and life science logistics expert in charge of the pharma and Perishables projects at Brussels airport.

In the next 4 months all participants will be assessed against the checklist of the global pharma certification standard developed by IATA.  This will allow to close any gap in the pharma cool chain through the airport and upgrade, align and standardize the pharma handling process.  In parallel the training program will allow all the participants to increase and anchor their pharma expertise.  By the end of this year this quality and training program will lead to the certification of the BRUcargo based pharma handling activities of the participants, further strengthening the position of Brussels Airport as preferred European pharma gateway.

“The Belgian regulator (FAGG), Belgian Customs as well as the pharma shipper community has been invited to be actively involved in the project.  This highlights Brussels Airports’ intention to build a broad consensus on the subject” explains Nathan De Valck.

“Brussels Airport is aiming to strengthen its position as a leading gateway for the handling and transportation of pharmaceutical freight in Europe,” says Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo at Brussels Airport. “We hope that our leadership in being recognized as a CEIV Pharma certified community will persuade other airports to do the same. It is important that cold-chain pharmaceutical products can be transported in a standardized, sanitary and secure way throughout the world.”

“CEIV Pharma is critical for the industry to demonstrate that pharmaceutical products are properly handled. The health and the wellbeing of the end patient consuming these products are critical for our Members” said Thomas Windmuller, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, at IATA.

BRUcargo Participating Companies:

“Regulatory compliance and product safety are today’s top priorities. Aviapartner, the specialist handler for pharma logistics in Brussels, is as demanding as the pharma shippers are. We bring them dedicated, controlled and continuously monitored solutions”, says Eddy Myngheer –Station manager Aviapartner Brussels.

“SDV is proud to announce its participation to the pharma certification program organized by Brussels Airport as part of our company’s strategy to service its growing customer base in the healthcare & life science industry” Says Peter Claessens – Sales Director for SDV in Belgium, Netherlands & Luxemburg. “Healthcare & Life science is one of SDV’s fastest growing business industry verticals, serving pharmaceutical companies, nuclear medicine sector and medical device manufacturers. Today, SDV is one of the world’s top supply chain service providers for the healthcare, aid & relief industry and the business accounts for around 8% of the company’s revenues. Participating to the GDP certification program in Brussels is taking us again one step further”.

"Finnair Cargo established its 2nd hub in Brussels in April 2013 and the pharma process development is a natural next step in our cooperation. Finnair Cargo is honored to be part of the first industry stakeholders in the world to enter the IATA pharmaceutical certification process. We are committed to be at the forefront in this fast growing air cargo segment", says Juha Järvinen, Finnair Cargo Managing Director.

“We are very excited to be part of the BRUcargo pharma certification program as this is a major step forward to positioning Brussels Airport as a true Pharma Hub” says Dirk Dendauw – Cargo sales manager for Swissport Cargo Services. “We are convinced that we are in the right position to meet the handling needs of pharma producers in Europe and will be a reliable and solid handling partner for these special products. We are convinced that all staff in Belgium, present and future, will see the importance of this program.”


About Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling 19.1 million passengers and 430,000 tonnes of freight annually. Brussels Airport links the European capital with 232 destinations worldwide that are served by 78 different airlines. (figures 2013).

Brussels Airport caters for the specific needs of the business travellers, and also has the largest low-fare offer in Belgium.

Brussels Airport is the second most important centre of economic growth in Belgium providing direct and indirect employment for 60,000 people.

Brussels Airport is operated by Brussels Airport Company. The shareholders are the Belgian State (25 percent) and a consortium of private investors (75 percent).



About IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 240 airlines or 84% of total air traffic. We support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. More information at

Contact: Ronald Schafer at


About AD Handling

AD Handling was the founder and early believer of a centralized center for the handling of temperature and time critical products at the Brussels Airport.

Since 2004 AD Handling has developed and optimized a customized handling service for temperature sensitive airfreight products. Handling and storage of perishable airfreight within a temperature controlled first-lane warehouse. Furthermore, a dedicated and specially trained staff builds and palletize sensitive air freight, resulting today in an integrated service with the preservation of quality due to an uninterrupted cool chain and contiguous distribution, with specialized attention to quality and speed.

Hence this experience and set-up opens the possibility to become a dedicated airfreight handler for pharmaceuticals, temperature and condition sensitive. It is with great interest that AD Handling ambitions the certification as an IATA premium Pharmaceutical handling Center.



About Aviapartner

Founded in 1949 as Belgavia, Aviapartner has grown from a small family business to a major player in the European Ground Handling market, active at more than 30 airports. Depending on the airport and on the clients need, we provide a variety of services that can be split into 4 main blocks: passenger services, ramp handling & traffic operations, executive aviation and cargo services.

Aviapartner is the only handling agent in Brussels with a facility totally dedicated to temperature-controlled healthcare products.  Since January 2013 Aviapartner has set up a   dedicated warehouse in accordance with the EU GDP Guidelines covering space of 1300m², with 1100m² between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, and 100m² between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. All services such as acceptance, handling and delivery of healthcare products are performed according to the rules and regulations of IATA, Airlines’ SOP and shipper’s requirements

With its ISAGO and TACSS certified cargo facilities, Aviapartner turns your logistics into a competitive advantage;

Contact: Vincent Claerhout, Commercial Manager Cargo Belgium ( and
Eddy Myngheer, Station Manager Cargo Brussels (


About Bio Pharma Logistics

Our company is specialized in (bio) pharmaceutical shipments & clinical trials, warehousing and added-value services and has been a reference for many years in this niche market. For more than a decade we have been preferred supplier of many high-end (bio) pharma companies.

As an independent, ethical and multimodal company, with a worldwide network of agents, our customers can rely on our expertise, reach and experience. Bio Pharma Logistics (HQ)  is situated in Louvain-La-Neuve and has offices at Brussels National Airport, Canada and Spain & Portugal.   In addition we will be expanding to several key locations by the end of 2014.

For more than 17 years, we have served our customers thanks to our well trained staff, high quality services and the ability to provide tailored, creative and competitive logistics solutions.  All of our staff members, from drivers, to handlers, to administrative personnel and agents are trained to the specific needs of the pharmaceutical sector.

Bio Pharma Logistics is ISO 14001 & ISO 9001 certified and all of our procedures are in compliance with cGMP, cGDP & cGSP requirements.

Flexibility and responsiveness: that is what the fast-moving (bio) pharmaceutical industry needs from its suppliers and that is exactly what Bio Pharma Logistics delivers!



About Brussels Airlines Cargo

Brussels Airlines Cargo is the airfreight department of Brussels Airlines. Using Brussels Airport as a hub, Brussels Airlines Cargo offers you the best cargo services throughout Europe Usa and Africa.

We are a service company, offering an air-shipping solution from the moment of acceptance of the goods at the airport of origin to the moment of delivery at the airport of destination.

Our promise is to move your cargo with speed and care in a timely and secure way to more than 60 European, 2USA and 17 African destinations. Brussels Airlines Cargo applies the highest industry standards of cargo handling.

Brussels Airlines Cargo caters for a broad spectrum of cargo commodities. We are, amongst others, specialised in carrying perishables “fresh to shelf”. We also convey post office mail with care and attention.



About Expeditors

Expeditors is a global logistics company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. As a Fortune 500 company, we employ over 13,000 trained professionals in a worldwide network of over 250 locations across six continents. Expeditors satisfies the increasingly sophisticated needs of international trade through customized solutions and seamless, integrated information systems. Our services include the consolidation and forwarding of air or ocean freight, customs brokerage, vendor consolidation, cargo insurance, time-definite transportation, order management, warehousing, distribution and customized logistics solutions.



About Finnair Cargo

Finnair Cargo is the largest Nordic air cargo carrier, generating an annual revenue of 236M EUR in 2013. Following Finnair Group’s Asia strategy Finnair Cargo is specialized in air cargo traffic between Europe and Asia. With hubs in Helsinki and Brussels as well as an extensive GSA network in 47 countries, Finnair Cargo carries over 145 million kilos of air freight and mail annually, connecting 13 cities in Asia with more than 50 destinations in Europe and North America. Cool to care - Finnair Cargo’s Nordic Pharma Chain offers reliable shipping for fragile healthcare products that require temperature controlled transport. 


About Jan de Rijk Logistics

Jan de Rijk Logistics, as one of the leading European logistics service provider, operates an asset based, Pan-European network for international transportation and distribution services. In addition to International transport, via road or via intermodal solutions, Jan de Rijk Logistics also provides Benelux distribution as well as warehousing for a number of retailers and industrial shippers to their customers.The Jan de Rijk Logistics Group as such serves a wider range of key industries, but has built up a particular expertise in the High-tech consumer electronics, Automotive, Aerospace, Fresh logistics, Pharmaceuticals, Retail and Tobacco industries. Moreover, for many years now, Jan de Rijk Logistics has been the European market leader in the market for Air Cargo Road Feeder Services. Jan de Rijk Logistics’ in depth knowledge of the industry and underlying logistics and supply chain requirements enables it to offer efficient and smart solutions tailored to the customers’ needs.Jan de Rijk Logistics, based in the Netherlands, has 25 offices in 15 countries and employs more than 1000 staff in Europe



About SDV

SDV ranks amongst the world’s top 10 in logistics and supply chain management companies. We offer a powerful network of 35,800 professionals spread across 600 agencies in 102 countries. In Belgium we have 3 offices and 150 employees, with SDV in Brussels as our Airfreight Hub.

Specialized departments focus on specific industry sectors, i.e. healthcare and life sciences, and offer customized supply chain solutions.  SDV currently operates several facilities worldwide and expects to have a fully GDP compliant network at all major strategic locations.



About Swissport Cargo Services

Swissport is the world's largest provider of ground and cargo handling services in the aviation industry. The company provides ground services on behalf of some 700 client-companies and handles around 224 million passengers and 3.9 million flights per year. The company operates 120 warehouses and moves approx. 4.0 million tonnes of cargo. With a workforce of around 55,000 personnel, Swissport is active at more than 260 stations in 45 countries across five continents, and generates annual consolidated operating revenue of CHF 3 billion. The cargo station in Brussels is one of the biggest in the network.



About UTi

UTi Worldwide’s pharmaceutical and healthcare teams work to deliver quantified value to our clients around the globe through innovative, industry-leading solutions.  From transportation to warehousing, from cool chain to customs brokerage, our clients are delivered peace of mind knowing their freight will arrive on-time and in compliance with all local and global regulations.  UTi is an industry-leading, non-asset based supply chain management provider with 310 offices and 230 logistics centers in 59 countries.  Our dedicated staff of 21,000 professionals deliver competitive advantage to each of our clients’ supply chains through our innovative, integrated, and client-centric solution approach.  To learn more about how our pharmaceutical and healthcare solutions can deliver immediate value to your organization, please contact us at or check us out online at

Contact :


About WFS

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) was founded in 1983 and is a leading global provider of ground handling and technical services, and the world’s largest cargo handler.  Today it is present at 120 major airports in 20 countries on four continents.  WFS serves 300 airlines globally, including the handing of four million tonnes of cargo and 50 million airline passengers per annum.  The company employs 10,000 staff worldwide and reported revenues for 2013 of €580 million.

At Brussels Airport, WFS has been a steadily growing cargo handler since 1992 with a focus on service and reliability.  Being supportive of its customers different product programs, WFS Belgium has always looked at ways to cooperate, not only with its customer airlines but with all parties involved and will do so again, with the joined BAC/IATA pharma centre of excellence project at BRU.