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Qatar Airways cargo- flying Pharma


The global pharma transportation market is booming. IATA data shows that the market for temperature management services was estimated at $8.36billion in 2014 and rose to $10.28billion in 2018. 


In recent years, the airline industry has made a concerted effort to curb the decline in air cargo’s market share of global pharmaceutical product transport. In response, Qatar Airways Cargo launched the QR Pharma product in 2014 when the airline relocated to the new Hamad International Airport in Doha. 


Meeting the stringent standards and product integrity of pharma products was essential for Qatar Airways Cargo, the carrier quickly put in place a host of services to meet customer standards and meet and even exceed customers expectations. 


Some key features and capabilities include a state-of-the-art cargo terminal which is air conditioned all year round to provide the most optimal temperatures during the processing of pharma shipments. 


The airline invested in a fleet of refrigerated trucks to minimise ramp transportation risks and a variety of cold rooms are available to store cargo at different temperature ranges. A new 2470 sqm airside transit facility called ‘Climate Control Centre’ also opened in June 2017 and a customised GDP training was developed in-house to serve the learning needs of a diverse team in Doha and the network. The airline has put in place a dedicated Climate Control Operations team in Doha to provide heightened supervision and oversight at the hub facility.


 In addition, Qatar Airways Cargo operates a dedicated freighter network serving key pharma trade lanes such as Basel, Brussels, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Other capabilities include a variety of active temperature-controlled container solutions through industry partners such as Envirotainer, CSafe, DoKaSch and va-Q-tec.


The QR Pharma product is specifically designed for the air freight of pharmaceutical and healthcare cargo. The airline says it offers both, active solutions, to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the transportation chain; as well as passive solutions, which aims at keeping products within a defined temperature band during all stages of transportation. 


The airline has the expertise to understand the customers’ business thoroughly, its unique needs and challenges. Qatar Airways extensive network, state-of-the-art facilities, and industry standards allow the capability for a seamless cool chain of temperature-sensitive cargo. From origin to destination, the airline can assist pharma customers to transport cargo in the safest and most efficient way possible. The airline says pharmaceutical logistics is a key facet of the business. 


The industry is beefing up capabilities to meet internationally recognised pharmaceutical product handling and Qatar Airways Cargo say all pharmaceutical shipments at the Doha hub and throughout the airline are handled with the highest standard of excellence, adhering to the pharmaceutical industry standards. Pharmaceutical shipments are consistently stored, transported and handled under suitable conditions as required by the product specification. 


We are always innovating and integrating new technologies within our product to benefit the customersOur own in-house IT system called QRysallis houses our entire reservations, operations and MIS systems, which gives us a unique edge in being able to create new applications relatively quickly and upscale them based on business needs” says Qatar Airways Cargo. 


In addition, Qatar Airways Cargo have created their own ‘Climate Control Operations Dashboard’ that provides the team with full visibility of pharma shipments across their network. Some of the features include cloud-based temperature monitoring systems that will be installed early next year at the facilities in Doha, further improving visibility, integration and monitoring of the cold chain.


Qatar Airways Cargo are exploring more solutions such as block chain, API connectivity for customers to transfer data between systems and other emerging technologies. To further reaffirm the airline’s commitment to the pharma industry, they are currently undergoing IATA CEIV certification, which is an industry standard validating the carrier’s pharma handling capability to GDP standards.


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