Bengaluru airport making way for Pharma Logistics
India has been witnessing a spiraling growth as a pharmaceutical market in the past few years. The presence of a proper supply chain management which includes the temperature controlled vehicles and store houses has become an important part of the pharmac
“Bengaluru is the second fastest growing airport in the world and the fastest in
India. The airport intends to create the best infrastructure to support the smooth movement of temperature controlled pharmaceutical based cargo in partnership with all concessionaires. The airport management is working on creating the airport as an intelligent cargo gateway”, according to Javed Malik, Chief Operating Officer, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).
At present, pharmaceutical products account for 17 per cent of the total cargo exports handled at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru. Of these 7 per cent are temperature sensitive drugs requiring humidity controls including sterile injectables and high-value biologicals.
The remaining 10 per cent include the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The pharma companies involved in this service are namely Biocon, Medreich, Mylan, Strides Shasun for formulations and RL Fine Chem and Lake Chemicals for APIs among others. More than 70 per cent of these pharmaceutical products are exported to US, UK, Germany and other European countries. The advanced temperature controlled pharma cargo centre is now the preferred takeoff point for drug exporters not just from Bengaluru but from Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Chennai.
The pharma cargo hub at KIA has housed a Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation office which is equipped with a drug testing lab to analyse the imported samples. There is also presence of a plant quarantine inspection and certification office.Apartfrom that, the two cargo service providers, Air India (AI) SATS CoolPort and Menzies Aviation Bobba
Cold Zone, at KIA are certified for Good Storage and Distribution Practices of the WHO and other international regulatory authorities to ascertain temperature compliant logistics. In the first quarter of 2018-19, AISATS has managed around 930 tons of pharmaceutical cargo compared to 430 tons during the same period in the previous financial year. With the surge in movement of pharmaceutical cargo, AISATS has witnessed an overall Year-on-Year growth of around 120 per cent.
The cargo service providers have 11 dedicated cold rooms with temperature ranging from 2 to 8 degrees celsius; five freezer rooms with temperatures between -15 and -25 degrees, a refrigerated queue lane (RQL), cold trolleys to maintain the temperature during transportation between aircraft and warehouse; a dedicated x-ray machine to screen pharmaceuticals.
Alongside these facilities lies a critical issue of under-utilisation of the space at the cargo hub of Bengaluru airport. AISATS CoolPort, which is India’s first integrated on-airport perishable cargo handling centre built at a total project cost of Rs 48 crore, is spread over an area of 11000 sq metres and has the capacity to handle 40,000 metric tons of cargo. A major chunk of what lies vacant.
“As per International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast, cargo volumes are expected to reach 62.5 million tons in 2018, which is an increase of 4.5 per cent over the previous year. The growing market for perishable cargo handling has necessitated a purpose built facility to handle the temperature sensitive needs of perishable handling”, shares Pratik Mehta, AGM, Airline Marketing, Cargo services, KIA. It seems that Bengaluru airport is leaving no stone unturned in order to assure the pharmaceutical exporters of the best in class