Shipping Medical Supplies / Pharmaceuticals
The shipment of pharmaceutical products requires special knowledge, in which logistics plays a critical and vital role. Many pharmaceuticals are exceedingly delicate and must be delivered on schedule in order to guarantee and assure their quality. In addition, medicines can also be expensive. The pharmaceutical industry is a big business, influencing the global economy, employment opportunities, and the well-being of many people.
The freight forwarding sector has a responsibility and liability when they aim to ship these types of products. While maintaining the highest quality standards, they have to make sure to send safely and timely and offer their services competitively.
It should not be surprising that such a sensitive matter comes with challenges and requires specific knowledge and special precautions.
Let’s look at ways to transport pharmaceuticals, their logistics that are part of the cold chain process, and the complexities and challenges associated with Shipping Pharmaceuticals.
Ways to transport pharmaceuticals
Although the handling and transporting medicines by road and sea carry high risks, which we will inform you about later, it is the best way to control the cargo. This is due to the use of refrigerated containers called reefers. These containers offer perfect control over the conditions in which the pharmaceuticals are stored and transported.
The transportation of pharmaceuticals requires unique temperature ranges, management, and strict regulations codes to ensure they are delivered safely without losing their potency and quality.
Air transport is the fastest option for transporting pharmaceuticals due to the lower risk of delays and the chance to redirect a route within a few hours. Transportation by air brings some benefits, especially for long distances and pharmaceutical products with a short shelf life.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that air transport has limited equipment and comes with a higher cost. In contrast, sea transport can easily organize logistics and control cargo conditions using reefers.
Pharmaceutical logistics and the cold chain process
Pharmaceutical transportations are temperature-controlled shipments, making them part of cold chain logistics. The cold chain is almost like a gold chain that must never be broken since the slightest temperature change can ruin the product.
The cold chain process works with phases, such as;
This phase involves the manufacturing and packaging of pharmaceutical products.
Pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer or warehouse should be collected and transported in refrigerated or insulated containers. During the journey, the technology in the container will document time and temperature changes.
This phase is about keeping the pharmaceutical products in cold storage in a refrigerated warehouse before being distributed to their final destination.
The last phase of the process is the delivery of pharmaceutical products. Logistics focus on getting them to their final destination, where they are sold or administered.
The complexity and challenges of shipping pharmaceuticals
Transportation of sensitive Medical Supplies (as well as other time-sensitive, risky materials) poses many challenges, starting with the biggest one:
Maintaining the right temperature
Temperature control management should be managed throughout the whole chain to ensure quality and safety and prevent them from becoming useless or even dangerous. Many handover points within the pharmaceutical chain can weaken or damage the cargo.
Besides the importance of temperature-controlled transportation, there are other challenges in the complexity of pharmaceutical transportation;
Pharmaceuticals are loaded and shipped at a higher priority than other cargo. While working with external factors such as airline carriers, there are chances of delay, overbooking, or loading without priority due to express services.
A consequence could be that the pharmaceuticals will not be loaded and shipped in time, with the risk of cargo going outside acceptable temperature ranges. One can choose express shipping, which comes with extra costs to ensure the shipping of medications. Shipping pharmaceuticals come with knowing possible scenarios and weighing the options before making a choice.
Protecting pharmaceuticals can come and be done in many forms. The special cargo should be protected against external contamination, temperature fluctuations, harmful sunlight, humidity, and more. Being stored and packed under suitable conditions will preserve the product.
As some pharmaceuticals can be of great value, they are prone to be stolen. Theft protection should be another serious concern on the list.
It is important to secure the contents of pharmaceutical packages with the correct labels and ensure they arrive with unbroken seals at their destination. Freight forwarders are required to prevent theft and implement special precautions in transit.
Documentation and record keeping
Undoubtedly, proper documentation is the key to smooth pharmaceutical shipping and is crucial in the pharmaceutical chain. Documents and records should be completed correctly and shared with the right people, such as the Food and Drug Administration and possibly Narcotics, who request special permitting. Part of proper documentation and recordkeeping; includes the registration of possible deficiencies since improperly protected products can negatively affect people’s well-being.
And last but not least…
Keeping in mind the strict regulations, complexity, risks, and challenges that the shipment of pharmaceuticals entails, choose a freight forwarder with a lot of experience and expertise in this field.
Are you looking for an experienced and knowledgeable freight forwarding company?
Cargo Shipping International is a leading, international and specialized cargo freight forwarding company based in Rotterdam – the Netherlands.
Having been in the industry for nearly three decades, we have the expertise, network, and resources to ensure all your pharmaceutical cargo reaches its destination safely and on time.
Many pharmaceuticals are exceedingly delicate and must be delivered on schedule in order to guarantee and assure their quality. These types of transportation are temperature-controlled shipments, making them part of cold chain logistics.
Transportation of sensitive pharmaceuticals poses many challenges, such as; maintaining and controlling temperatures, working with strict regulations codes, right and tight record keeping and documentation, proper protection, and suitable transportation and transit time.
The freight forwarding sector has the responsibility and liability. It must have the right expertise to ensure pharmaceuticals are delivered timely and safely without losing their potency and quality.
Cargo Shipping International is a leading, international and specialized cargo freight forwarding company based in Rotterdam – the Netherlands. Having been in the industry for nearly three decades, we are equipped with the expertise, network, and resources to ensure all your pharmaceutical cargo reaches its destination safely and on time.