With an annual revenue of over $1 trillion, the pharmaceutical industry is big business, and the leading global courier and freight services know it. Each of the major carriers is expanding and developing its business to cater to this sector, seeking a slice of the sales by striving to meet the logistical challenges of managing the supply chain of temperature-sensitive and highly regulated products.
Not long after UPS opened a high-tech pharmaceutical storage and distribution facility in Hangzhou, China, DHL has launched DHL Thermonet- a new temperature-sensitive air freight service for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The new service is an addition to an already considerable network and service offer for pharmaceuticals, the most notable previous addition to which was the opening of a DHL 'Life Science and Healthcare Centre' in Barcelona three months ago.
|A DHL employee working at one of the DHL Thermonet facilities|
The new DHL services is offered by the group's Global Forwarding, Freight branch. Roger Cook, CEO of the division, confirmed that the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry was a key sector for DHL and commented "we are heavily investing in new products and services to provide comprehensive solutions to the needs of our customers".
Sales of temperature-sensitive products accounts for approximately 25% of total pharmaceutical sales, a sizeable chunk of the industry's massive annual revenue. DHL claims that the industry's increasing shift of new products from chemical-based to biotech and speciality drugs means that the growth of the temperature-sensitive segment is expected to accelerate, generating fifty percent of sales by 2018. Carriers are demonstrating their intention to capitalise on this potential.
But there are challenges as well as opportunities. Commenting on the specialist knowledge and capabilites required in the sector, Angelos Orfanos, President of DHL's Life Sciences and Healthcare Customer Solutions and Innovation, commented, "The current situation within the Life Sciences and Healthcare market, facing an increasingly regulated environment, demands a higher level of service compliance. By means of DHL Thermonet, we will meet our customers' requirements, enhance our cold chain activities and expand our market leading capabilities".