For pharma to grow, better logistics needed
Pharmaceuticals industry has a huge potential to grow with the visibility and standardisation in the supply chain management. CARGOTALK explores the challenges and requirements of pharma shipment.
According to the India Pharma 2020 report by Mckinsey, the Indian pharmaceuticals market will grow to US$55 billion by 2020, with a potential to reach US$70 billion in an aggressive growth scenario. In a pessimistic growth scenario characterised by regulatory growth and economic slowdown, pharma market is expected to reach US$35 billion. The rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry is insisting pharma logistics providers to make supply chain efficient and transparent. As per the reports, the logistics service providers need to invest more heavily in infrastructure, technology, packaging, to name a few to reach US$55 billion by 2020. And, for this there is a dire need to look at the challenges that service providers and shippers are facing and what they want from each other to make the shipment successful.
When asked about the challenges while transporting pharmaceuticals, Nihar Parida, Director– Supply Chain, Uniworld Logistics, says, “The major parameters while transporting pharmaceuticals is its packing and handling. The most crucial point is to ensure that the specified drugs move under its specified temperature. Today unfortunately this crucial point is compromised due to the cost involved in maintaining the cold chain. The lack of knowledge on its effect looks like the main issue. Moreover, some are also compromising it to keep their cost under control.”
All temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, including blood plasma, tablets, medicines and anaesthetics, must be kept within different temperature ranges in compliance with industry and regulatory guidelines, to ensure the products retain their integrity and are protected from degradation due to exposure to heat and cold during the transportation process.
Joy John “There are quite a few challenges to ensure cost effective transportation of pharmaceuticals to the international market. The modern day requirement of the customer is specific equipments and cold chain storage facilities at all transit points and during transportation. Lastly there should be harmonised procedures and cooperation among cold chain partners,” informs Joy John, Executive Director, East West Freight Carriers.
“The second crucial point is security of the products. It is not only safeguarding from spurious drugs but also ensuring that the product is not contaminated or cross contaminated due to wrong handling or bundling it with certain products during transit. This can affect the quality of the products,” notify Parida.
“The least we logistics service providers can expect from manufactures is proper planning and packaging of the pharma shipments for smooth and safe carriage with the least transit time. Any special handling can be intimated to the forwarder to ensure the shipment reaches the consignees warehouse as per the requirement,” tells John.
According to Parida, what logistics people require from the manufacturer are clear training and awareness of the product, complete paper works as per the laws of the land, “importance of time as it is very crucial while maintaining cold chain, proper packaging to maintain security and reasonable cost reduction by understanding what we invest in giving the best service required”.
What the people in logistics require from the manufacturer are clear training and awareness of the product, paper work.
Time is crucial too
The modern day requirement of the customer is specific equipments, cold chain storage facilities at all transit points and during
transportation Temperature excursions
at customs bonded facilities, APEDA, needs to be improved where two to eight degree facilities for unloading
Bharat Bhushan, DGMLogistics, Jubilant Generic, stressed on quality service including deliveries as per the goods distribution practices (GDP) by the logistics service providers. According to Bhushan, logistics providers are not fully equipped in delivering pharmaceuticals, they need to move extra mile in order to maintain the desired temperature by way of astute planning with the airlines as per the GDP guidelines.
What is required is
advancement of information sharing and availability of information for the cargo in transit. It is critical to provide this
Ronnie Chatterjee, SRE Export Logistics, India Glycols, emphasised on security of product, controlling temperatures for the entire movement and data recording facility and cost reduction but not effecting in opening additional loopholes in supply chain. “From factory till the product reaches APEDA at airport and even at transshipment point, the dependability increases on third party. It is necessary to monitor temperature during the entire movement, hence data
CT BUREAU What do the shippers demand?
recording facility should be provided for the in transit cargo even though if the shipment is moving under passive cargo. How many airlines maintain the temperature as requested during in-flight till the time there are relevant documented details regarding the same available? The service providers have to be accountable for the same without any stipulation,” Chatterjee added.
Echoing similar views, Bhushan said, “Temperature excursions at customs bonded facilities, APEDA, needs to be improved where two to eight degree facilities for unloading the material are not available. They should fix extra data loggers to provide readings after every 15 minutes of interval as and when required by the exporters. Secondly, envirotainers/unicoolers/ opti coolers should be allowed to stiff in the cargo at factory premises in order to maintain the temperature throughout the transit.”
On the other side, Chatterjee notes, “The service providers are fairly adequate to handle tempsensitive cargo, what is required is further advancement of information sharing and availability of information for the cargo in transit. It is very critical to provide and equally important for time bound, temperature-controlled shipment. They must enhance the real time information sharing with the carrier and LSP and the shipper. Currently there is no such system to look into.”
Leveraging the potential
India is one of the major vaccine exporters to the world. Indian pharma industry has evolved to be a world leader in production of generic drugs and that too at a competitive price. By 2020, India is likely to be among the top three pharmaceutical markets by incremental growth and sixth largest market globally in absolute size.
According to John, the pharmaceutical industry growth is set to be the fastest in the coming decade and air freight will be a major transport module for this industry. “India has become a pharma hub and has a high potential of growth. All the leading health organisations are looking forward to India for manufacturing and supply of medicines to developing countries as well as developed countries. Government has to think about giving better benefits to the Indian Pharma companies so that exports can grow,” notes Parida.
“The airport handlers and the service providers will have to ensure that their facilities have capacity to store pharmaceuticals shipment as per the requirement and demands of the shipper and the consignee.
The challenge is not only storage but also transportation of the same from the warehouse to the aircraft and also ensures the temperature required maintained in transit and at the destination airport till final delivery,” adds John.
By 2020, India is likely to be among the top three pharmaceutical markets by incremental growth and
sixth largest market globally in absolute size