'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

IQPC Cool Chain Europe 2016

IQPC Cool Chain Europe 2016

The community has a cool time in Frankfurt

The Cool Chain Sector is flourishing and the awareness for quality logistics is growing as well. The global pharmaceuticals market is worth 300 billion Dollars a year (according to WHO) and the pharmaceutical logistics market is valued at over 64 billion Dollars. This sector stands for high value services which attracts large and niche companies to the IQPC Cool Chain Europe Conference every year. The IQPC Conference dedicated to temperature controlled logistics is one of the major gatherings of the Cool Chain community and took place in Frankfurt on January 26th and 27th 2016.

The conference attracts many high level representatives from operations and sales. Almost 500 visitors took part in the 15th edition held in. Pharma Shippers and specialised logistics companies presented their newest solutions and services, as well as diverse cargo covers, active or passive cooling units. Next year the IQPC Cool Chain Europe Conference will be held in London in early February and many attendants have already reserved their space.

Many CCA members attended the conference

Many CCA members and Friends were present at the conference either with booths or as visitors like Airfrance KLM, AmSafe Bridport, Berlinger, Brussels Airport, Cargolux, Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg, DuPont, DHL, Liege Airport, Thermo King and FloraHolland. Moreover presentations were held by Floraholland Consultant Christo van der Meer and Ruud van der Geer, Associate Director Supply Chain Centre of Excellence of MSD (who was also speaker at the CCA Conference in Basel in October 2015).

Andrea Gruber, Senior Manager, Cargo Business Process & Standards at IATA took also part in a roundtable while Malik Zeniti, Treasurer of the CCA and Manager of the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg, held a presentation about a Luxembourg cold chain collaboration case. In order to bring collaboration to life, the Cluster also organised an after conference dinner in a cosy restaurant, which gathered over 40 people, many of them affiliated to the CCA.

Trend: Ocean VS Air

This year one focus was set on the Ocean Freight sector. The Pharma logistics sector is not only driven by the ever increasing globalisation but also by the need of cost reduction. The price reductions demanded by Government bodies and the impact of generic substitution and biosimilar products, means that a considerable number of products simply can no longer sustain airfreight transportation costs. The trend to use ocean freight instead of Air Freight is showing more and more.

The Ocean freight Working Group took the opportunity of the Cool chain conference to present itself officially for the first time. While IATA represents and speaks for the Air Cargo sector, there is no such organisation on the Ocean side, says Mark Edwards, Chairman of the European Pharma Ocean Freight Working Group. However “this is not about Sea against Airfreight”, emphasizes Edwards.

The workgroup has been created in order to bring together the key stakeholders to drive unification and best practice in temperature controlled sea freight for pharmaceuticals. According to Edwards, it is wrong to think the supply chain by sea is the same than by air. Containers and handling procedures vary significantly. Humidity can be a problem if the cargo is not packed correctly and condensation occurs in the containers. Issues with customs can result in the unloading of the container, risking a potential loss of the entire load.


If done incorrectly, this kind of transport can be more expensive than by air, considering the high insurance and expensive inventory that is bound for weeks. Cost reduction measures can also lead to quality problems - Edwards wondered why some shippers expect special handling while not marking their products as special cargo.

Manufacturers, Shipping Lines, Freight Forwarders and Port Operators make up the bulk of the working group but the fourteen members are still open for new contributors.