The transportation industry and the workforce behind it are sometimes taken for granted. Its importance and impact on people’s everyday lives is recognized officially by the Congress of the United States with May 14 – May 20, 2017 designated National Transportation Week. In the high stakes cold chain distribution industry, transportation plays a critical role in ensuring protection of product efficacy.
Transportation of potentially life-saving, temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, not just in the United States, but around the world requires third party logistics providers have SOP’s established and staff trained to ensure reliable transport by road and air. Management of both active and passive container shipments must include risk mitigation plans.
Numerous factors and trends have an impact on ground and air global cold chain shipments. They include, but are certainly not limited to routing issues, weather delays, customs delays, inadequate communication, and the sheer number of people with different levels of training, ability, language skills, etc. interacting with a shipment. Markets with infrastructure issues, higher ambient temperatures, and handling capabilities increases transportation risks.
Each step, from pre-shipment actions taken to point of destination delivery, has a direct effect on the efficacy of the product. Being able to identify risks and having an elevated level of control is key. A reputable third party logistics provider will continually analyze data from customers and the product including temperature requirements, packaging providers, shipment history, and trade lanes while reducing risks in the supply chain process.
With the number of temperature-sensitive products being transported increasing, ensuring that they are continuously stored, handled and transported correctly is crucial. National Transportation Week is an opportunity to pause and reflect about the tremendous value of global transportation and the transportation workforce who manage that vast system.