Pharmaceuticals and life sciences are one of the fastest growing verticals for air cargo, so Dallas Fort Worth International Airport viewed the development of a CEIV Pharma Community as a necessary step for the future, John Ackerman tells Air Cargo Week.
As the airport, Dallas Fort Worth acted as a facilitator to create a pharma community, which picked up the coveted IATA CEIV Pharma certificate at this year’s IATA World Cargo Symposium in Singapore.
Ackerman, the airport’s executive vice president of global strategy and development says that an economic impact study was commissioned four years ago. It found opportunities in the cold supply chain and the airport made the decision to become a pharma gateway.
Ackerman says: “We viewed the development of a CEIV Pharma Community at DFW as a necessary step toward becoming a central US pharma hub for both exports and imports, with the long-term vision of attracting pharma distribution and manufacturing activities to the DFW area.”
The community approach means consistent, high level, specialised services and capabilities for a range of pharma/life science products across the supply chain. Ackerman says that to maintain the cool chain, all stakeholders must be committed to high quality of service.
He says: “The collective efforts of our partners to earn the CEIV Community certification demonstrates DFW’s level of commitment to a world-class pharmaceutical handling operation that provides pharma manufacturers and shippers with confidence that their high-value products will be handled with quality, care and efficiency.”
Ackerman adds: “The pharma community also brings DFW one step closer to establishing a pharma gateway where manufacturers, shippers, and other stakeholders can send their premium shipments and be assured that our processes will maintain product integrity.”
It was a challenging process to be validated, but Ackerman says: “we were pleasantly surprised with the level of commitment and diligence from all our CEIV partners, which resulted in one of the fastest CEIV validations for an airport community.”
The level of detail demanded from the independent validators was something that intrigued management at DFW, wanting to know the contents of candidates’ manuals of temperature mapping requirements.
The training and validation was “rigorous”, with Ackerman commenting: “The level of dedication from each of our partners proved to be very valuable and mitigated unanticipated circumstances throughout the validation process.”
Dallas Fort Worth has also been working with other airport communities, having signed an agreement with Aeroports de Paris last year to expand growth opportunities in key industries including pharmaceuticals. There are also plans to work with other airports across Europe, India and Asia to develop pharma lanes and connections through a cloud-based platform.
Ackerman says: “We also plan to join industry associations such as Pharma.aero, which will help the community members keep up to date and informed on the most current industry developments and enable effective sharing of best practices with other CEIV Community airports.” Pharma customers have been “extremely supportive” of all the hard work at Dallas Fort Worth.
Ackerman says: “We are currently in discussions with pharma shippers and forwarders to initiate some trial shipments to test our facilities and handling capabilities. It is still very early, but all signs point to positive experiences for these customers.”