ZIMonitor Reefers Aid the Pharmaceutical Industry
Michal Marcus, ZIMonitor Product Manager
As of end 2019, the total global pharmaceutical market was valued at $1.25 trillion, with technological innovation impacting drug development as well as the drug supply chain.
In recent years, the requirement for temperature-controlled reefers has grown tremendously, and customers are looking for much more than just temperature control. They want 24/7 personal tracking and handling as well as online visibility.
With this accelerated growth in global demand for pharmaceutical & medical products, the cold chain is more vital than ever before. Transportation of temperature-sensitive and high-value cargo substantially increases the complexity of cold-chain shipping because the goods must be controlled and monitored at all times, from source to destination. This involves tracking not only a shipment’s location, but also its temperature, security, and condition.
Backed by our five years of experience with ZIMonitor, we have identified some of the main challenges in transporting pharmaceutical cargo, which include:
- Setpoint temperature – reefers are handled carefully at depots before they are released to customers. In these locations, human errors can happen, and temperatures may be set incorrectly. The ability to detect such mistakes immediately and trigger an alert is a huge advantage instead of having to wait for the cargo to be checked upon arrival to the port.
- Deviations from planned routes – with thousands of shipments under our belt, we learned that reefers carrying sensitive pharmaceutical cargo may sometimes go off their route, mainly during land transportation. The ability to identify and control these deviations online and in real-time is extremely important for the safety of the products.
- Loading & unloading – all parties involved in a vessel’s operation are aware that reefers may be disconnected from the electricity power several hours before arriving to the ports. Online alerts enable us to minimize these adverse events. A sort of ‘big brother is watching’, which in this case is a good thing.
- Technical malfunctions – even minor malfunctions may affect the safety and security of valuable cargo. Resolving them immediately is mandatory.
- Door open – particularly in pharmaceutical cargo, unauthorized door opening is critical and must be attended and clarified without delays.
- Land transportation – keeping control also during inland transportation is crucial to bring the sensitive cargo to its destination in the best possible condition. At ZIM we created a special process that improves connectivity also over long inland distances.
We listen to our customers that ship pharmaceutical goods and have improved our ZIMonitor premium service. They consider personal service a significant added value, which has allowed us to double our ZIMonitor volumes on an annual basis in the last five years.
In addition, we can integrate data directly to our customers IT systems, enabling them to view data directly. It is also possible to push adjustable shipment reports as required. This is of course in addition to MyZim, which enables all our ZIMonitor customers to view their shipments online.
All these are orchestrated by our global 24/7 team of professionals who personally handle alerts and provide our customers with peace of mind when it comes to shipping their valuable cargo.
The next great challenge will undoubtedly be the transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine. At ZIM, we are already exploring how we can accommodate the special requirements that may arise while adapting our service for the benefit of our customers and for the health of the world at large.