Puerto Rico, the number one bioscience manufacturing hub in the U.S. by export volume, is launching a Government-backed new Life Sciences Air Cargo Logistics Community, bringing together all parts of the supply chain with the objective of becoming the most important Life Science hub in the Americas.
The new Puerto Rico Air Cargo Community, supported by the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC), will include airlines, airports, forwarders, integrators, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, ground handlers, and hauliers.
The community will work on improving the quality of sophisticated cargo handling and market Puerto Rico’s capabilities in the Life Science sector around the world.
A number of companies who will be joining the new Community have already started the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification process as part of the initiative.
“We aim to put Puerto Rico firmly on the map as the best quality airfreight hub for life science in the Americas,” said Manuel Cidre, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DEDC).
“The new Community is open for everyone in the supply chain to join and our group will also act as the voice of the Industry with legislators and other stakeholders.”
Twelve of the world’s 20 top-grossing pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, and AbbVie operate on the island, with eight of the 15 globally top-selling biopharmaceutical products manufactured on Puerto Rico.
“We truly believe we’re heading in the right direction,” said David Olan, Transportation Lead, Puerto Rico Operations, Johnson & Johnson.
“The new Air Cargo Community will give us the forum to define our opportunities to drive consistent and solid supply chain logistics on the island.
“We will be able to create a more reliable and quality-oriented ecosystem that is aligned with our Life Science and Healthcare sector, and, at the same time, it will help us to meet and/or exceed our customers’ demands.”
Twelve out of the top 20 medical device companies have manufacturing sites on the island, including Medtronic, CooperVision, and Boston Scientific, manufacturing products such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators, surgical instruments, lab devices, dental equipment, and vision correction goods.
Puerto Rico has a U.S. Department of Transportation designation as an international air trans-shipment hub, a waiver, which allows for unencumbered trans-shipment at the island’s three international airports.
The community will have three initial aims including; improving the overall quality of airfreight-related operations in Puerto Rico by adopting best practices and a standardized way of operating, representing the community and lobbying on its behalf with legislators and authorities, and raising awareness internationally about Puerto Rico’s airfreight capabilities and Life Sciences expertise.
“We have a well-trained, highly adaptable, bilingual workforce and decades of experience in manufacturing life sciences,” said Cidre.
“We have the full backing of Customs, and, through cooperation and a focus on sustainable, state-of-the-art, standardized air logistics, we will improve all parts of the shipment journey.”
A Community Board will drive the initiative and will include community members as well as the DEDC, Invest Puerto Rico, the Industry University Research Center (INDUNIV), Aerostar Airport Holdings, and the Port Authority of Puerto Rico.
The new Community and Board will meet for the first time later this month to plan next steps.