There is more to moving pharmaceuticals than taking bookings, IAG Cargo is actively engaging with customers to provide solutions according to head of product, Daniel Johnson.
He tells Air Cargo Week that volumes for its GDP approved Constant Climate product increased 25% in 2018 with substantial growth across the IAG Cargo network.
Out of the UK, tonnage rose 20% and from the UK into the Middle East and Africa grew 120%. Asia Pacific had a record year with 27% growth, while Ireland was up 58%, supported by North America.
India was another area of note, with Johnson saying: “India was up about 10%. Of course, the market is larger. It is one of our biggest markets.”
As has been widely reported, the air cargo market has slowed down this year. Growth for IAG Cargo’s Constant Climate product was up 4% in the first quarter of 2019, with the Irish market making large contributions to business, with produce flying into Madrid from Dublin, bound for Latin American destinations.
IAG Cargo continues to work with Indian biopharmaceutical company Biological E, having moved two billion vaccines to date.
From India, IAG Cargo has moved 126 tonnes of pharmaceuticals out of Hyderabad, primarily vaccines against Hepatitis and Tetanus, as well as 470 tonnes from Mumbai.
Facilities have been upgraded, in Madrid the new Constant Climate centre was opened in February this year.
Johnson says the company is “very happy” with how the new facility is performing, saying: “The first weekend the facility was open it was almost full to capacity. Numbers since the opening out of Madrid have been good, volumes are up 16%. Shipments out of Ireland are a big part of the facility for transhipments.”
From Madrid, Iberia uses its connections to South America to send pharma shipments to locations including Buenos Aires, Bogota and Lima.
Johnson says: “The facility is performing very well. The impact on customers has been very positive.”
IAG Cargo is not just focusing on the main hubs, Johnson says: “We have invested and spent a lot of resources assessing the rest of the network to make sure it complies with standards. This has led us to having 107 stations approved and open to handle Constant Climate.”
Nashville, USA and Osaka, Japan are the most recent additions to the Constant Climate network.
People are vital to the handling of pharmaceuticals, and IAG Cargo has also made investments in quality people, and training people to ensure they are all performing as they should be.
IAG Cargo also works with customers to resolve issues and provide solutions. Johnson says: “We are moving away from a company that just takes a booking, we try to look where we can work with them on solutions.”
He gives an example of India, where the local team works with freight forwarders and shippers to improve the overall customer experience.
Johnson says: “They help improve packaging solutions, and passive solutions. They help customers to prepare packaging.”
Customers are very supportive of IAG Cargo’s efforts to make improvements, with Johnson saying: “If we are looking to open up new stations or invest in our hubs, they are supportive of that if we provide something that they want. If there are solutions for packaging, distribution or at the airport, we work with them on that.”