Air Cargo Shipment Data in Real-time: Access Options for Every Stakeholder

Air Cargo Real-time Data

When it comes to shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, there is little room for error. Throughout the journey, everything must go as planned, and — in an ideal scenario — any deviation must be addressed quickly, so that the most appropriate, timely and cost-effective response or intervention can be employed.

The relationship between pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, their shipping partners (including specialized freight forwarders and the airlines) and thermal packaging providers is critical. It requires intense collaboration and transparency to ensure each shipment meets regulatory requirements and that patients have the peace of mind that their medicine or vaccine is as effective as it was when it was manufactured. This is where shipment visibility capability can play a key role in the relationship and collaborative efforts between these various stakeholders in the cold chain. Tracking shipments in real-time allows all those involved in a shipment to receive rich, data-driven insights and critical alerts whenever a parameter varies outside set ranges to allow action to preserve payloads.

CSafe Global’s Air Cargo container fleet is currently being equipped with monitoring devices that provide real-time tracking and visibility related to the critical attributes below. Because the temperature-controlled air cargo container is the only element of the cold chain involved in the shipment from end-to-end, it only makes sense for the container provider to offer the capability.

But true visibility is about more than the device. The data must be easily accessible to all the stakeholders without creating more work. To accomplish this task, CSafe offers two ways to access the data.

Access option 1: Direct platform login

Accessing the data directly in the provider’s platform is likely the simplest solution for most shippers. Often available through a web portal or a mobile app, a user should have easy access to this data in the form of dashboards and detailed reporting. Of course, if the shipper is not the container lessee, providing login access should always be the lessee’s decision. That means regardless of how the lessee accesses the data, they would have to enable access for the shipper to see the data. The shipper would receive condition alerts and be able to track the shipment in real-time and download GDP compliant shipment reports. Available reports for download include:

  1. Shipment summary report which includes the shipment timeline, containers on the shipment, temperature profile and route information
  2. Container reports, which includes condition analytics and a full data log for each container on the shipment.
  3. Additional data/analytics are available in the visibility platform to monitor overall shipment trends.

Access option 2: Lessee platform interface

Using REST API (application program interface), customers who lease containers can have a direct connection to the platform that will constantly deliver shipment data into their transport or incident management system, or other platform used for managing shipments. Automatic flow of critical, timely information reduces the risk of human error related to manual data entry or visually cross-referencing system data. This is especially important for freight forwarders, airlines and pharmaceutical companies managing hundreds or thousands of shipments. Similarly, when shipment visibility data is integrated into company’s incident-management system, it can trigger not just an alert or alarm, but an automatic action, as well, thereby saving critical response time.

Which option is best for your organization?

For the lessee who has a shipment management system in place, the decision of whether or not to integrate the CSafe Global visibility platform via the API is not necessarily black-and-white and it can evolve over time. For instance, if a freight forwarder is only handling a couple of shipments/month, it may not make sense to use up technical resources to carry out the integration. Or, the lessee’s existing system may not provide the same state-of-the-art, highly visual, user-friendly experience offered in the container provider’s platform.

Similarly, the web portal makes it easy for users to access reports related to both the overall shipment and individual container to meet regulatory requirements. Through the API connection, the user can easily access all of the data, but (depending on what system the lessee uses), may not necessarily be able to produce a validated report that is sufficient for regulatory review.

For the shipper who is not the lessee, the decision is far simpler. Once your chosen freight forwarder or airline is setup in the container provider’s system whether directly or via API, they would simply provide you access to view your shipment data in the container provider’s platform. Again, this is a simple action in the CSafe shipment visibility platform and will allow you as the shipper to view real-time shipments and have immediate access to GDP compliant shipment reports.

Using the real-time data for optimal outcomes

Building data-visibility goals and requirements into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) also provides a framework that enables continued dialogue among all parties. This helps to ensure that the process is working — and enables ongoing process improvement, as well, if it is not.

The more stakeholders can track the movements and the status of all temperature-controlled shipments throughout their cold chain journey, the more they can reduce product losses and the financial penalties associated with them. Having continuous visibility, actionable insight and accurate, real-time analytics gives pharmaceutical and life sciences companies — and the supply chain partners they have enlisted — peace of mind that their shipment will arrive on time in the proper condition, with minimal delays and product losses. At the end of the day, this collective effort ensures that patients get what they need.