Ser­vices cus­tomised for pharma

The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is steadily ex­pand­ing its sea freight vol­ume owing to lower fares and avail­abil­ity of stricter and more re­li­able con­trol of tem­per­a­ture. The Port of An­twerp is ide­ally po­si­tioned to lever­age on this air to ocean trend

Maritime Gateway - - Contents - by Deepika Ami­rapu

The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is steadily ex­pand­ing its sea freight vol­ume owing to lower fares and avail­abil­ity of re­li­able con­trol of tem­per­a­ture. The Port of An­twerp is ide­ally po­si­tioned to lever­age on this air to ocean trend.

The world is look­ing for cheaper drugs and In­dia has proved it has the ca­pa­bil­ity to de­liver. The ex­port of generic medicines is one of In­dia’s strengths and in the last two years In­dia has stepped far ahead for China. To most con­ti­nents and re­gions where generic con­sum­ables are higher such as Latin Amer­ica, the US, the Mid­dle East and North­ern African (MENA) re­gion, In­dian ex­ports are sig­nif­i­cantly higher than its Asian coun­ter­part’s.

In fact, In­dia leads China in ex­ports to the EU as well. In 2016, In­dia’s ex­ports were worth $1.56 bil­lion as against China’s $1.36 bil­lion. If In­dia has to re­main ahead of China even in the Amer­i­can and South East Asian and Aus­tralian re­gions, it would re­quire more than the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ef­fort to make the drugs avail­able to pa­tients across the globe. A ma­jor­ity of the bulk drug and ac­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try that func­tions out of Hyderabad reck­ons that lo­gis­tics - both at the port and in­land play a cru­cial role in cut­ting raw­ma­te­rial sup­ply time and ex­port time.

While most ports such as Chennai, Jawa­har­lal Nehru Port Trust and Visakhapatnam Port ship ex­ports out of In­dia, In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firms ask for bet­ter value-added ser­vices to en­sure their cargo is ready for con­sump­tion to des­ti­na­tions where the vials and tablets are shipped to.

Two re­cent de­vel­op­ments have led the pharma sec­tor turn to sea freight and in­crease the quan­tum of ship­ments moved by sea. 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.

Port of An­twerp, which is one of the three largest gate­way ports at Europe has com­menced cus­tomis­ing ser­vices for many an in­dus­try that ship cargo to var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions in Europe.

There­fore, from fresh fruit to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts that re­quires tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled han­dling, the Port of An­twerp of­fers an un­in­ter­rupted cold chain. In ad­di­tion to dis­charg­ing and load­ing ves­sels, the port of­fers many added value ser­vices that meet the spe­cific re­quire­ments of ev­ery prod­uct.

With bulk of In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firms us­ing the Port of An­twerp in Bel­gium to move their wares to France, Ger­many and other coun­tries, the Port is cus­tomis­ing fa­cil­i­ties to adapt cargo closer to the needs of the sell­ing mar­ket. La­belling, pric­ing and re-pack­ag­ing is also un­der­taken for com­pa­nies to en­sure their prod­ucts can be bought right off the shelf once they are tran­shipped. Luc Arnouts, Chief Com­mer­cial Of­fi­cer, An­twerp Port Au­thor­ity said, “Ports of to­mor­row will no longer be fa­cil­i­ta­tors of move­ment alone. They have to trans­form to be next gen­er­a­tion han­dlers of port traf­fic.”

Even as ports such as An­twerp of­fer value-added ser­vices be­yond bag­ging, stuff­ing and de-stuff­ing, lo­gis­tics firms are ex­tend­ing their prod­ucts and ser­vices to func­tion as in­dus­trial lo­gis­tics players to adapt to each in­dus­try’s needs. “The idea is to cut down on pro­duc­tion post­pone­ment by re­spect­ing tran­sit time,” said Arnouts.

Re­cent in­vest­ments by three big lo­gis­tics ser­vice providers in An­twerp un­der­line the port's cru­cial po­si­tion in the world­wide phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in­dus­try. To­gether these lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tors serve the world's top 10 phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, of­fer­ing them a range of cus­tomised ser­vices.

The An­twerp ware­houses act as con­sol­i­da­tion and 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).

The blis­ters that con­tain tablets, for in­stance, will be repack­aged at An­twerp to be shipped fur­ther to France, Ger­many and other Nordic and Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries. This would save the In­dian pharma com­pany a week’s time in send­ing it straight to the whole­saler to re­tailer than the lo­cal pro­duc­tion arm or part­ner who would oth­er­wise re-pack it at a lo­ca­tion away from the port. Cus­toms for­mal­i­ties are also ex­pertly han­dled at the port while the drug in­spec­tors sur­vey cargo be­fore it is let out at the port. Sep­a­rate ware­houses for pharma prod­ucts ac­com­pa­nied by cold chains makes the sen­si­tive prod­ucts safe from dam­age.

“The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is steadily ex­pand­ing its sea freight vol­ume year by year. Since our GDP ware­houses are lo­cated within the port we are ide­ally po­si­tioned to sup­port the air-to-ocean trend. The next step will be hor­i­zon­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion in which we con­sol­i­date the prod­ucts for var­i­ous phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies in a way that does not com­pro­mise qual­ity,”

An D’hondt, head of busi­ness line Health­care at Ka­toen Natie.

Steady avail­abil­ity of tem­per­a­ture con­trolled reefers and ware­houses at ports on the Euro­pean leg has made a case for ocean trans­port to be both safe and cost ef­fec­tive. If In­dian lo­gis­tics players work in tan­dem with the Port of An­twerp, sea move­ment of medicines to Europe could soon be a safer re­al­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.