Brussels Airport: “Centre of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Logistics”

1st airport community in the world where stakeholders are CEIV Pharma certified

Brussels Airport stands out internationally for its dedicated infrastructure for the transport and handling of products that require an unbroken cold chain, in particular pharmaceutical and biotech products.

Brussels Airport is the first airport in the world where stakeholders of the cargo community in a joint approach will receive the CEIV Pharma certification.

11 companies active at BRUcargo, the cargo site of the airport, participated in the 2014 certification program. Currently, 8 more BRUcargo based companies are participating in a second group. For more information, click here.

By the end of this year, the majority of all pharmaceutical shipments, handled at BRUcargo, will be going through a fully certified cool chain.

This acknowledgement allows Brussels Airport and its cargo community stakeholders to consolidate its prominent position in the world and to confirm its level of competence as leading transport hub in Europe”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport Company.

Pharmaceuticals and biotech: essential industry for Belgium
The pharmaceutical and biotech industry is in full expansion around the globe (+8% between 2007 and 2013). Belgium is ranking at the top with 150 companies active in the industry in the three regions, which can also boast the presence of universities that are recognized for their competence in these sectors. The industry provides an employment of over 30,000 jobs. Export figures of the pharmaceutical and biotech products manufactured in Belgium amount to 36.53 billion euros*. Its share in the economic development of Belgium is considerable.

Air Transport: preferred means of transport
One of the principal stakes in the pursuit of this development is the transportation of these products to their final destination. The manufacturers have high expectations and specific requirements with regard to maintaining the quality of the products and the properties of the active ingredients throughout the logistics chain. They call on transportation services that, on the one hand, ensure the shortest route to the final customer and, on the other hand, maintain the quality of the product through an unbroken cold chain. For these companies, transport by air remains the best possible solution.

International certification for the largest cargo airport in Belgium
On an international level, air transport until now was not subject to any certification acknowledging the reliability and transparency of the transport chain in order to respect European regulations for the transport of pharmaceutical products. Besides being a hub that connects Belgium to the rest of the world (200 nonstop destinations), Brussels Airport also provides a state-of-the-art infrastructure and has all competences allowing it to maintain the cold chain for all perishables but also and foremost for biotech and pharmaceutical products.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), together with Brussels Airport and in collaboration with the competent agencies and the members of the industry concerned, has put into place a certification project for all parties involved in the handling and transportation of pharmaceutical products that require an unbroken cold chain. Brussels Airport’s cargo community is the first airport community in the world where stakeholders will receive the CEIV pharma certificate.

The major pharma shippers have formally validated the program, and the Belgian regulator, the federal agency for medicines and health products (famhp/fagg/afmps), is endorsing the IATA CEIV program. It has been involved in the BRUcargo community certification from the start of the program. Famhp inspectors have also participated in the training sessions and workshops.



Josiane Van der Elst, Director General DG Inspection famhp says “Although this type of IATA certification is not an authority-issued regulatory document, initiatives of structured control on transport are important and welcomed by famhp DG INSPECTION. The IATA certification gives more confidence that pharmaceutical air freight shipments are handled in accordance with EU GDP guidelines”.

 

 

Next steps
In order to secure its preferential position as pharma hub in the world, Brussels Airport will continue to invest in this niche market. 

Brussels Airport is investigating the possibilities to bring the unbroken cool chain to the next level, at every step in the process, with temperature controlled transport on airside.

For more information, click here.

 

*pharma.be

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