Brussels Airport Company innovates with the “airside pharma transporter”

December 11, 2015

Refrigerated tarmac transport made to measure for pharmaceutical products

Brussels Airport has developed the “airside pharma transporter”, an innovative, own-invention refrigerated transporter specially for the transport of temperature-sensitive products between storehouses and aircraft on the tarmac. After becoming the first airport to receive the IATA certificate for “Centre of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Logistics”, Brussels Airport is again taking the lead in innovating and improving the transport and handling of temperature-sensitive products at airports.

The “airside pharma transporter” is a trailer on which an insulated cool box is installed. What is really innovative is the technology that allows the temperature and location of the refrigerated transporter to be monitored in real time. It is very important to control the temperature of pharmaceutical shipments because the products may no longer usable if there have been temperature fluctuations.

“The pharmaceutical sector is very important in our country. As an airport, we want to be an innovative partner when it comes to guaranteeing the cold chain for their products. Transport between storehouse and the aircraft is not without risk. With the “airside pharma transporter”, we now have a unique and above all reliable solution that is also environmentally-friendly and is 4 times less expensive than existing transport equipment with refrigeration that is suitable for use on the tarmac,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO, Brussels Airport Company.

The transporter was developed as part of the Flanders Farma Hub project in collaboration with all partners of BRUcargo, the dedicated cargo area of Brussels Airport, and in conjunction with all the major pharmaceutical producers with manufacturing or distribution centres in Belgium. In the course of December 4 transporters will be put into service at BRUcargo.

The Flanders Farma Hub project sets out to bring together both pharmaceutical and logistics players to work on solutions to concrete problems regarding the transport of pharmaceuticals, and so stimulate improvements and innovations. That is why the Province of Flemish Brabant also threw its weight behind the project and co-financed it.

“The Province supports the strategic and innovative Flanders Farma Hub project with a sizeable subsidy. We see here an excellent opportunity to maintain and even increase employment in the large region around the airport by focusing on a unique high-tech solution for a vital and demanding supply chain such as pharmaceuticals. That way, we are again reinforcing our reputation as an innovative and forward-thinking region,” says Marc Florquin, Economy and Innovation Deputy for the Province of Flemish Brabant.

Voka, the Halle-Vilvoorde Chamber of Commerce, is also supporting the project. Paul Hegge, Director General: “The national airport is extremely  important for the economy and employment in our region and way beyond it. Collaboration with the pharmaceutical sector makes this European first a truly top project and an example for other projects for temperature-sensitive goods in coming years. The reputation of BRUcargo is also further enhanced as the preferred airport for the transport of pharmaceuticals.”

Brussels Airport, trendsetter in temperature-sensitive transport
Thanks to the new dynamic we are seeing at BRUcargo and specifically in the Flanders Farma Hub project, Brussels Airport has been able to achieve several logistic innovations. All partners at BRUcargo have collaborated with IATA on a globally recognised framework of reference for the transport of temperature-sensitive products such as medicines and vaccines. In 2014, Brussels Airport was the first airport in the world at which all handling companies in the chain were certified for temperature-sensitive transport.

For better coordination, an online platform was also developed so all companies could exchange relevant data with each other in the “cloud”. There is also a special application for pharmaceutical transport that allows all partners in the logistics chain to monitor data on the quality of the products.

The development of a new kind of refrigerated transport on the tarmac is another new step in better meeting the needs of the pharmaceutical sector and in distinguishing Brussels Airport as the preferred airport in Europe for temperature-sensitive transport.

The companies involved in the Flanders Farma Project are 4Advice, Adelantex, Alcon, Aviapartner Cargo, Brussels Airlines, DHL Global Forwarding, Expeditors, JDR, K+N, Nallian NV, Panalpina, Province of Flemish Brabant, SPS Belgium, Swissport Cargo, UTI, VIL, Voka, WFS and Brussels Airport Company.




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