Global freight forwarding and logistics company Panalpina was the driving force behind LuxairCargo’s brand-new Healthcare and Pharma Center in Luxembourg. “Panalpina’s foresight and pioneering role in channelling temperature sensitive cargo through Luxembourg made this center possible. Panalpina has always accounted for the bulk of this special type of cargo. We have invested €4 million and can now give something back: a state-of-the-art facility exclusively dedicated to healthcare,” says Hjoerdis Stahl, Executive Vice-President of LuxairCARGO.
Controlled temperature from truck dock to build-up
The new 3,000 m2 facility was built within the existing Cargo Center that is operated by LuxairCARGO. The fully GDP (Good Distribution Practice) compliant facility is split into two separated main areas. An area of 1,600 m2 with a storage capacity of 1,270 pallets (Euro pallets) is dedicated to cargo that has to be kept at ‘Controlled Room Temperature’ between 15°C and 25°C, while 818 m2 with a storage capacity of 350 pallets is dedicated to cargo that needs to be kept at a temperature between 2°C and 8°C. The build-up areas and even the six truck docks are also temperature-controlled to the respective needs.
“We can now handle more cargo safely. Having a purpose-built facility makes it easier to keep our customers’ products within the required temperature ranges during off-loading all the way through to build-up and storage of built units,” says Helmuth Scholz, head of Panalpina’s gateway in Luxembourg. Built-up cargo that is ready to load onto an aircraft is moved to temperature-controlled cells adjacent to the apron. These cells can now hold 70 aircraft pallets (10ft-ULDs), almost twice as many as before.
It takes more than infrastructure
While the new facility is open to all freight forwarders and shippers that export or import pharmaceuticals and medical products via Luxembourg’s Findel Airport, Panalpina keeps its competitive edge: “Our capabilities in Luxembourg are not linked to the infrastructure alone. We have our own trained and very experienced staff on-site. They oversee all operations and immediately intervene if necessary. Our processes are tried and tested. We are not only GDP compliant but also officially certified to this standard. The RFID technology that is used to monitor the temperatures inside the facility is the same that we have been using since 2009. And last but not least we also have the most modern equipment waiting outside on the tarmac, our Boeing 747-8 Freighters or ‘Cool Planes’ as we call them,” says Paul Fairclough, Panalpina’s Healthcare specialist in Luxembourg.
Panalpina’s temperature-controlled air freight shipments are growing
In the past four years Panalpina has experienced major growth in temperature-controlled air freight shipments. The company recorded a 90% increase of such shipments going through Luxembourg over the past nine months alone. This success is partly attributed to the company’s Own Controlled Network and its two 747-8Fs with a maximum payload of 140 tons each, which are particularly beneficial for healthcare customers with special requirements and big shipments. “They usually do not want a lot of people tampering with their cargo and prefer not to split a shipment among three or four aircraft, for example in the belly of passenger planes, and then route it via big congested airports where cargo is not the priority,” explains Daniel Lutz who in the past few years has shaped Panalpina’s temperature-control product in Luxembourg.
While 2012 was a very difficult year for Panalpina’s Air Freight division, especially in Hi-Tech and Telecom, Healthcare showed continued growth. In 2012, the number of handled files, volumes and gross profit in Healthcare all grew by more than 20%. Healthcare shipments made up 9% of Panalpina’s Air Freight tonnage in 2012, compared to 7% the year before.
“We see far more growth potential in healthcare and temperature-controlled shipments,” says Matthias Frey, the global head of Panalpina’s Own Controlled Air Freight Network. “We have all it takes to succeed in this field and the new Healthcare and Pharma Center in Luxembourg puts us in an even better position to capture this business.”
1) LuxairCARGO’s new Healthcare and Pharma Center at Luxembourg Airport was inaugurated on April 8th 2013 by Hjoerdis Stahl, Executive Vice-President of LuxairCARGO (far right), Helmuth Scholz, head of Panalpina’s gateway Luxembourg (far left), Adrien Ney, President and CEO of Luxair S.A., Etienne Schneider, Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade, Claude Wiseler, Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure and Paul Helminger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Luxair S.A. (cutting the ribbon, from left to right).
2) An area of 1,600 m2 with a storage capacity of 1,270 Euro pallets is dedicated to cargo that has to be kept at ‘Controlled Room Temperature’ between 15°C and 25°C.
3) Panalpina operates two latest generation Boeing 747-8 Freighters, dubbed “Cool Planes”, out of Luxembourg. Temperatures on the upper and lower deck are monitored during flight and can even be tracked in near real-time on the ground.