Together these logistics operators serve the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, offering them a range of value-added services.

Increasing role of sea transport

In the past, international transport of pharmaceutical products was primarily by airfreight, as these high-value, low-weight products had to be carried under strict conditions of temperature control.

However, two recent developments have led the sector to turn increasingly to sea transport: this is the “air-to-sea conversion trend.”

  • The first factor is the increasing price pressure from among others the so-called “generics,” making less expensive sea transport an attractive alternative.
  • Moreover, technological advances now permit stricter and more reliable control of temperature conditions for reefer containers, enabling shipping companies to offer the same quality guarantees as airfreight operators.

Antwerp as the ideal base

For its overseas shipping the pharmaceutical industry has opted decisively for Antwerp as its central hub, thanks to various advantages that the port has to offer:

  • Antwerp tends to be the last European port of lading for trans-Atlantic services and also the first port of call from Asia. This makes it the ideal hub for fast European distribution of import goods, and for bringing drugs made in Europe quickly to their overseas destinations.
  • Further, the Antwerp warehouses act as consolidation and/or crossdock hubs where goods from various European production sites can be grouped for particular destinations. And vice-versa, large consignments can be broken down into smaller deliveries for different destinations within Europe.
  • The warehouses operated by the specialist logistics service providers in Antwerp comply fully with the Good Distribution Practices (GDP) for the pharmaceutical industry, kept either refrigerated (2-8°C) or at room temperature (15-25°C).

Top-10 pharma companies worldwide

The Japanese service provider Yusen Logistics, the Swiss company Panalpina and the Antwerp-based Katoen Natie between them have invested a considerable amount in expanding their GDP facilities.

Yusen Logistics is expanding its existing facilities from 18,000 m² to 26,000 m², Panalpina is converting an existing warehouse to a dedicated facility of 1,600 m² (with a further expansion capability to 10,000 m²) while Katoen Natie – in addition to its 25,000 m² facility – is building an additional hub of 8,000 to 10,000 m² with 25 loading and unloading bays for consolidation and deconsolidation of deepsea consignments.

From the port of Antwerp, these logistics operators together serve the top 10 players in the worldwide pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore they offer numerous added-value services such as sampling, packaging inspection, repackaging, order picking, transport management etc

Source: portofantwerp
2017-05-23

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