IATA 6th World Cargo Symposium Summary

Robert Tungatt

As I reflect on the main focus for Marken’s interest into today’s final conference day, IATA continues to set a determined pace for the conference delegates with another 0830 sharp start. Proving they are Time Sensitive and with a perfect room ambiance also Temperature Sensitive.

The final day continues to deliver a wide range of industry related topics, including the e-Cargo, Customs, Dangerous Goods (DGR) and the Time & Temperature. The DGR track again features the perennial discussion on Lithium batteries, specifically the impact on the industry that the explosion in the usage of these fuel cells has caused and continues to cause. However, this was preceded with an insight to the pipeline of DGR Regulation coming over the horizon.

As mentioned in previous days there are many tracks that are important for Marken and our clients as DGR is certainly one of the key areas of impact and a major focus of us. However one of the principle functions of the Marken CORTEC Group is to provide leadership internally and externally on cold chain issues and solutions. As an active member of the IATA Time & Temperature Task Force (TTTF) the Time & Temperature Track was a must attend and is of paramount importance for all engaged in the shipping of Pharma and biological products. The track focused on Chapter 17 of the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations, which to give its correct title is; Chapter 17 — Air Transport Logistics for Time and Temperature Sensitive Healthcare Products.

Following the opening remarks the day’s session began with a presentation by the International Red Cross, highlighting the challenges they face in assuring cold chain integrity for vaccines and emergency aid medication into the worlds disaster zones. With this particular issue is due to the lack of infrastructure on the ground at airports for temperature control facilities. So their planning, packaging and process must be robust and controlled. Emphasising the need to and justification for a risk based approach ensuring that the best fit process & packaging solution for the environment is essential for the preservation of the product efficacy and ensuring patient safety. It was a privilege to hear from people behind the unfortunately all too familiar emergency response programs.

Following fast was a great presentation on the specific issues in some of the major emerging markets, focusing on Brazil, China, South Korea and India. Each region presents different regulatory, logistical, language, cultural and environmental challenges and issues which need to be understood and taken into account before planning to ship products to such locations. Brazil is heavily regulated with ANVISA and MOH clearances needing shippers & forwards and customs brokers who are expert negotiating the clearance process for pharmaceutical goods. China is now the world’s biggest prescription market and most populous nation with a massive and growing demand for healthcare products. South Korea with its Biotech market has many cultural differences to the other large players in the region. The Seoul airport is one of the largest in the world and Korean Airways is the largest cargo carrier but large causes its own issues in complexity. Seoul is ranked among the world’s top city for global clinical development by the US NIH. India forecast to be the most populous nation on earth by 2050. The fast expanding middle class in India is demanding better healthcare. 60% of India’s bulk drug production is for export. While it is certainly not the case everywhere in India but in Hyderabad airport has a world leading temperature control facility for air cargo.

We then were presented with the updates in the progress of Chapter 17. There are many challenges to confront within the airfreight world relating to temperature controlled and IATA is taking this on as a priority. Essential to any improvement process are standards and Chapter 17 delivers the minimum guidelines. Healthcare products are hugely dependent upon air cargo and it is in the interest of all in the supply chain to collaborate to achieve the drive behind the IATA regulation which is patient safety. IATA has already confirmed the label will be mandatory for use on 1st July 2012. It must be stressed that the label is part of a process and not a means to an end-in itself. Along with the label process, we are required to ensure freight is booked using the right airline service and not general cargo. To ensure the processes has correct documentation, fit for purpose packaging, handling during transit, recovery, communication and monitoring are all aligned to assure the consignment contents. There is some work to be done on the “mandatory” stand since they can only legislate for their airline members. There was too much to cover in this brief insight and Marken welcome further contact on Chapter 17 and its implementation.

Following this and in keeping with the Partnership theme a forwarder and an Air Carrier presented how they are working together in solutions development and service provision and implementing Chapter 17 as the baseline standard to their collaborative and individual service offerings. They stressed how assessing the transport Critical Control Points and managing the risk presented at these points is a must.

The afternoon was to see the wrap up of the conference and a recap of the priorities IATA have set. Top of the list was Security. It is the single most important issue facing the aviation industry. However beyond that IATA also are focusing on e-freight, modernising agency agreements, increasing their visibility and improving their governance structure. They are also focused on raising the profile of the industry. Following with their slogan “air cargo makes it happen” they will be launching many themed advertisements promoting the good of air cargo and its importance to our modern life and the life of others around the world. Such as 60,000 jobs in Kenya supporting flower productions worth remembering at Valentines and Mother’s Sunday. The lives of 2.5millon children saved every year through vaccines flown in temperature controlled conditions. Remember the presentation by the International Red Cross the emergency relief agencies are airlifted in with vital life saving supplies.

The prospects for the Industry are good, but only if all the stakeholders help promote it, support it and understand just what we have to be thankful of it for.

It has been a great conference and one which has been entertaining, thought provoking and experience sharing. This is a great opportunity to network meet old and new friends and discuss old and new challenges in the industry. This industry is summed up nicely at the end as being one of people and comprised of people who are passionate in service delivery.

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