Investments in temperature-controlled facilities are not confined only to the world’s major hubs, writes Neil Madden.
Last year, Entzheim Airport, which serves the city of Strasbourg in north-eastern France, opened a 700 square metre temperature- controlled warehouse, operated by WFS, primarily to capture the growing pharma market.
Still lacking a critical mass of belly capacity, the majority of Strasbourg’s freight tonnage is carried by road to bigger airports, notably Paris CDG, but also Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Zurich.
But the airport’s management team sees a bright future in the facility to act as forwarding hub for companies based in the region, even if consignments have to travel first by road before they leave the ground.
The facility comprises two sections: 500 square metres controlled at 15° to 25°C; and 200 square metres at 2° to 8°C. Logistics firm Heppner wasted no time in inviting its pharma clients from across region – which includes the likes of Lilly and Merck – to visit the new warehouse earlier this year.
Launched only in 2012, Heppner’s pharma business has witnessed double-digit growth in three of the past four years and now accounts for some 14 percent of group revenues.
Already possessing ‘Certipharm’ certification, which guarantees ‘good distribution practice’, Heppner’s director of healthcare services Gérard Palazzo says the group is pondering applying for IATA CEIV certification.
For Entzheim the new platform is an important marker for the airport’s future development. “These new facilities demonstrate that we are conscious of their needs,” says WFS Strasbourg manager Philippe Ritter.
“Our goal is first to maintain and then develop existing traffic with a view to establishing an entire freight station at the airport dedicated to pharma three or four years down the line.”
Airport director Thomas Dubus adds that a seven hectare site is also reserved for the development of added-value logistics, including more temperature-controlled space.