UPS expands cold-chain services

  • May 31, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

UPS is expanding its specialty pharmaceutical offerings by establishing UPS Cold Chain, a suite of cold-chain technologies and global facilities providing complete, end-to-end temperature-controlled logistics.

“Our customers have been taking advantage of our cold-chain capabilities for years, but the pandemic caused UPS to move even faster to enhance an integrated set of cold-chain solutions to support the future of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry,” said Wes Wheeler, UPS Healthcare president. “UPS’s near-perfect, on-time delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine proves how effectively and efficiently our network handles biologically derived drugs, even at extreme temperatures.”

Chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancers, respiratory, autoimmune and cardiovascular conditions, are the fastest growing disease categories in the world, creating a rapid acceleration in the development of biologically derived, temperature-controlled drugs and therapies.

According to the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook, cold-chain trends show 48 per cent growth between 2018 and 2024 for drugs that require at least 2 to 8˚C storage and shipping. Additionally, the overall market for cold-chain services – packaging, transportation and data – is expected to accelerate growth significantly over the next three years, growing 24 per cent by 2024, after posting a ten per cent increase from 2019 to 2020.

“The future of the healthcare and specialty pharmaceutical industries will increasingly rely on robust cold-chain networks to safely deliver temperature-controlled drugs and therapies to customers,” said Kate Gutmann, UPS chief sales officer. “The continued evolution of our cold-chain offerings ensures UPS is ready for the future and can continue to provide long-term value for our healthcare customers.”

UPS Cold Chain is purpose-built to provide pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers and laboratories a full, end-to-end cold-chain service, including storage and distribution, transportation, visibility, and quality assurance capabilities to meet complex demands for critical products around the world.

As part of a strategy to build capabilities in cold-chain logistics, UPS Healthcare is expanding and augmenting its temperature-controlled products and services, including cold-chain GMP storage capacities – roughly 36,000 square metres of coolers and freezers installed at UPS facilities to support the storage of biologics ranging from 2˚C to as low as -80˚C.

Recommendations for specific temperature-controlled packaging reduce cost while ensuring safe and efficient transportation of products.

UPS is expanding its cold-chain ground network in Europe, adding more ground transportation fleets, better connection between gateways and teams of experts to create customisable services that fit users’ needs.

Transportation efficiencies include four flexible, temperature-regulated service options via air or ocean freight that can be configured to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical packaging and help keep costs down.

Precise monitoring with UPS Premier technology provides protocols to pinpoint visibility into covered pallets, boxes, trailers and packages within three metres of their location anywhere in the UPS network.

Facility updates include construction of two new GDP-compliant, healthcare-licensed distribution facilities in Italy and Australia, as well expansions and cold-chain retrofit projects to facilities in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and USA.

“UPS sets a high bar for excellence in cold-chain delivery and logistics, and these current and future investments in innovations will ensure we keep pushing the bar higher,” Wheeler said.

UPS Healthcare has one million square metres of GMP- and GDP-compliant healthcare distribution space in 128 facilities in 32 countries. Services include inventory management, temperature-controlled packaging and shipping, storage and fulfilment of medical devices, labs and clinical trial logistics. UPS Premier visibility service, track-and-trace technology and global quality system suit complex logistics demands for the pharmaceutical, medical device and laboratory diagnostic industries.