Pharma focus for Virgin Atlantic Cargo

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Virgin Atlantic Cargo is increasing its investment in temperature-controlled services after more than doubling its share of the pharmaceutical market from the UK to North America since the launch of its Cool Chain product two years ago.

Heading the strategy is Darren Sherlock in the newly-created role of manager for products and partnerships. He helped develop the product in 2014.

Virgin says growth of pharma business is being driven by its network, notably its high number of frequencies to and from the US and daily flights connecting other major healthcare markets such as India and China, and its service performance.

Sherlock says: “Pharmaceutical shipments cover such a broad range of products from contact lenses to high value vaccines. Our growth is based on understanding the sensitivities of every shipment, being responsive to our customers and tailoring services to meet their requirements.

“Some pharma customers moving less temperature sensitive products, for example, choose to use our high value cargo service to provide added security. Our reputation for great customer service gives customers confidence that we will deliver the service we have promised and they know we will be honest about what we can and cannot offer them on a lane-by-lane basis. With the UK to US pharma market alone forecast to grow by seven per cent a year to 2020, we expect to see more opportunities over this period.”

Virgin Atlantic’s Cool Chain product is designed to support passive shipments in the 15-25 degrees Celsius and 2-8 degree Celsius ranges, based on its Just Ride and Must Ride services.

The carrier’s senior vice president, John Lloyd says pharma traffic is a fast-growing part of Virgin’s business and the world’s biggest global pharma market is transatlantic and with a 27 per cent share of cargo capacity to and from the US – it is in a strong position to give customers the “capacity, frequencies and service they need”.