‘Pharma means handling precious lives’
Sanjiv Edward, Head–Cargo, Delhi International Airport (DIAL) and Ramesh Mamidala, CEO, Celebi Delhi Cargo Terminal Management India says Delhi can be a pharma hub. They talk about the facilities at Delhi airport and Celebi terminal to make this possible.
We really need to move from the culture where industry sees pharma as a piece of cargo. It is not just a piece, it could be life for 10 or 100 people With the availability of envirotainer containers at airports, the cycle of leasing containers cuts down from seven-eight days to three-four days We have a good infrastructure, what is needed is right attitude. With more awareness and efforts by the industry, attitude will definitely change
Does Delhi have the right infrastructure to become a pharma hub?
Edward: Yes, we are the only airport in the country which has more than 50,000 sqft of space dedicated for perishables handling including pharmaceuticals. We have the infrastructure to handle different temperature zones and we have also invested in making sure that entire integrity of the temperature is maintained right up to the time when shipment is loaded on the aircraft. We are the first airport in the country to have cool dollies.
Mamidala: From the Celebi point of view, infrastructure wise, in the country we have one of the best equipped airports. We are well prepared with facilities and equipment including automation. We have a piece of equipment, cool dolly, and are happy to invest more money in this. The other innovation such as white cover, we are happier to bring such innovations in the airport.
What challenges are you facing in this process?
Edward: We really need to move from the culture where industry sees pharma as a piece of cargo. It is not just a piece, it could be life for 10 or 100 people. That mindset needs to be changed. When you look at the pharma shipment, it means you are handling precious lives.
Mamidala: It’s high time to give the shipment the importance it deserves. Compromise can have a disastrous impact.
What steps have been taken to overcome the challenges?
Edward: We are anchoring envirotainer that gives the stability to maintain the temperature integrity and deliver it to the shippers. There are some movement where we could get into SEZs and transfer cargo into reefer. Sessions like road shows are basically for awareness.
Air is the fastest mode of transport but has not been used as much as it could have been.
Edward: The customer needs to have greater visibility and transparency of the pipeline that will increase confidence that ‘my cargo is being taken well care of’ and the industry has a collective responsibility for this. If everything is working well, air freight is definitely cheaper when it comes to the total cost of the company.
Mamidala: Over the last several years, air freight (including airports and trucking companies) has lost the credibility to the sea freight industry and sea freight has established more credibility in managing such shipments in a better way.
In Delhi, the model is in place, and entire support system is also committed. With the availability of envirotainer containers at airports, the cycle of leasing containers cuts down from seven-eight days to three-four days. Air freight is more attractive than sea freight with right equipment and right attitude.
What support do you expect from freight forwarders and CHA agents, carriers?
Edward: My strong and simple appeal to the shipping community is to demand quality. Do not let price be the only decider. That’s how you will make sure your shipments are taking care of the way they are supposed to be.
Mamidala: Absence of the right attitude and not looking at long term. That lack of thinking is killing all of us.