QR Cargo inks deal with SkyCell for hybrid pharma containers

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Qatar Airways Cargo and SkyCell have signed an agreement to lease SkyCell containers. The addition of these temperature-controlled hybrid containers will allow the cargo carrier to transport their pharmaceuticals across its extensive global network.

Qatar Airways’ chief officer cargo, Guillaume Halleux, said, “The logistics around pharmaceutical transportation is complex and being at the forefront of time and temperature sensitive transportation, we understand the intricacies of a seamless cool chain. Through this agreement with SkyCell, we are glad to expand our container offering under QR Pharma and present customers with more options to transport their sensitive products. The hybrid container establishes an entirely new product offering for our clients that is both safe and sustainable for our businesses and the planet.”

Chiara Venuti, director Business Development and Airline Partnerships at SkyCell said, “Qatar Airways Cargo is a leading air cargo carrier with a specialised pharmaceutical offering and an extensive network. The cooperation will meet the growing demand for hybrid containers as safe and sustainable pharma solutions for sensitive and critical drugs such as vaccines.”

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All SkyCell containers are 100 percent recyclable, helping to eliminate landfill by preventing product waste and reduce a shipment’s carbon footprint by up to 50 percent due to their capability to charge independently of an external power supply, without the requirement of dry ice and manual intervention.  SkyCell’s hybrid containers are Internet of Things (IoT) enabled, meaning that their temperature conditions are monitored as they move around the globe to ensure temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals are protected even under extreme conditions.  With their efficient insulation and cutting-edge cooling technology, the containers can maintain steady temperatures for up to 202 hours (8.4 days) and self-recharge automatically in a cooling chamber or reefer truck.

QR Pharma is Qatar Airways Cargo’s specialist product developed for pharmaceuticals and healthcare cargo. It offers both active solutions to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the transportation chain as well as passive solutions that handle products within a desired temperature band during all stages of the journey. 

Sustainability is one of the key priorities on the cargo carrier’s agenda and an important chapter that is part of its ongoing We Qare project. The project is built on the four fundamental pillars of sustainability that include economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions.

With the addition of SkyCell’s hybrid container to its existing range of pharma container offering, customers now have an extensive choice when deciding how to transport their pharmaceutical products. This option will also bring clients a step closer to meeting their sustainability goals, while maintaining high standards of safety for their pharmaceutical cargo.

The significant investments in these hybrid containers and cold chain management is part of the cargo carrier’s strategy and commitment to improving and enhancing its product offering for the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry globally. With these investments, the airline is also preparing to support the logistics around the global vaccination plans, once the Covid-19 vaccine is ready.

Qatar Airways Cargo has invested in quality handling, infrastructure, facilities, people and procedures at each of its pharma stations, which span over 77 destinations, with the recent addition of Osaka (Japan), Campinas, Brazil (VCP), Santiago, Chile (SCL) and Bogotá, Colombia.

The cargo carrier’s QR Pharma volumes have grown by 14.5 percent in 2019 over 2018. This new partnership between SkyCell and QR Pharma has set in motion a new period of growth for its clients and the future of the pharmaceutical transport industry.


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