The Long Read: Cool runnings for DoKaSch

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Since the beginning of the pandemic the air freight industry has ensured supply chain are kept moving. Airlines are some of the most visible players in this, but some of the key components to efficient supply chains are locked in the cargo hold.

Andreas Seitz, CEO of German based DoKaSch, highlights the importance of temperature solutions to keep supply chains moving.

“2020 was a challenge for us,” explains Seitz. “With the first lockdown in March, global airfreight capacities collapsed overnight and everyone along the supply chain had to adapt to an uncertain and completely new situation.”

“However, everyone along the pharma supply chain was aware of the importance of a stable supply with pharmaceutical products, especially life-saving medicine.

“In turn, the air cargo community quickly managed to adapt to the new situation and established a stable global pharma supply chain. It still was challenging to return empty containers on time and provide the required capacities.

“Thanks to our strong partner network and spare capacities, we managed to fulfil all demands and did our part in ensuring a stable global supply with important pharmaceutical goods.”

Industry predictions suggest things will start to pick up this year in terms of normal cargo operations, with the slow reintroduction of passenger flights and belly capacity. Seitz is not as optimistic as some: “I do not expect a return to normality this year.

“The capacities will stay rather low due to the missing belly capacities of passenger flights, while the global economy will start to recover with a high demand for air cargo.

“Preighters can partly compensate this problem, but are not able to replace all the missing belly capacities.”

Industry co-operation

Even if, as Seitz believes, “we still have to go a long way until airfreight is back to normal,” there are certainly lessons to be taken from the challenges of last year and applied to the changing market.

“I was impressed by the flexibility of the whole air cargo industry,” comments Seitz.

“Despite a sudden and nearly complete breakdown of global capacities, everyone along the supply chain quickly came up with unusual and helpful solutions like, for example preighters. Furthermore, regulations were adapted to the new situation quickly. To me, this shows how resilient and flexible air cargo is.”

The year of the vaccine

For DoKasch, vaccine transportation was “no big factor” in 2020. But this is set to change.

“During the last year, our operations were mainly focused on the usual transports of pharmaceutical products. Up until now, most vaccines were transported in concentrated form at very low temperatures and do not require much space. However, we expect that to change during 2021.

“With more vaccines coming to the market and a growing global need, we will most likely see an increasing demand for vaccine transports with Opticoolers as well, especially considering that more vaccines are stored in the 2-8° Celsius range, which our Opticoolers are made for,” explains Seitz.

With that in mind, DoKaSch are committed to perfecting their products in order to optimise transportation processes to promote efficiency along the supply chain. And for this, there is much emphasis on their Opticooler air cargo containers.

“We are focusing on our current product, the active temperature-regulated Opticooler. Not only is it highly reliable, it also fulfils the requirements for most pharma/biotech transports and it is also suited for most vaccines,” explains Seitz.

“Furthermore, many of pharmaceutical products are transported on palettes, which is exactly what the Opticooler is made for. It holds up to five Euro-palettes and accordingly provides lots of storage space for sensitive pharmaceutical products.”

With capacity down, he notes the importance of this generous storage space of the Opticooler.

DoKaSch is ready for the year head. To keep on top of demand the company has optimised their process and increased stocks to enable them to provide containers whenever and wherever they are needed.