Emirates SkyCargo launches purpose-built pharma distribution facility

An exterior view of the Emirates SkyPharma facility at Dubai International AirportEmirates SkyPharma, the new purpose-built facility of Emirates SkyCargo, is dedicated exclusively to the timely and secure transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceutical shipments. The facility is located at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and was recently officially inaugurated by His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of the Emirates Airline and Group.

‘Pharmaceuticals are one of the most important products we transport because of the impact on people’s lives and communities across the world,’ says Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president of cargo.

‘As a leader in the global air cargo industry we decided that it was not only important for us to build state-of- the-art cold chain facilities for the transport of pharma products but also to go the extra mile and ensure our operations comply with the highest international standards. Our customers can rest assured knowing that shipping their high-value temperature-sensitive goods with Emirates SkyCargo is a safe and efficient choice for their business and end customers.’

A world first

The new purpose built Emirates SkyPharma facility, which is part of the new 11 000m2 extension of Emirates SkyCentral terminal at DXB,  offers 4 000m2 of space dedicated to pharmaceutical cargo. It also features the following:

A certificate of compliance has been awarded to Emirates SkyCargo under the EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines for medicinal products for human use by Bureau Veritas. This was subsequent to an audit conducted by the certification agency’s team from Germany. The certification validates the carrier’s adherence to the strict guidelines on the transportation and handling of pharmaceutical products. It also covers all of Emirates SkyCargo’s handling activities for pharmaceutical products at its hub in Dubai.

Emirates SkyCargo is the first cargo airline in the world to obtain GDP certification for its hub operations covering two airports and the 24/7 bonded trucking service that connects cargo between them. The carrier also operates the largest GDP certified area in the world offering a total area of 8 600m2 of combined handling space dedicated to pharmaceutical products at DXB and Dubai World Central.  

Compliance ensured on all levels

The GDP guidelines outlined by the European Commission have been designed to ensure that the quality and integrity of pharmaceutical products are maintained during transportation. As part of its audit process, Bureau Veritas – well known around the world for its high standards, subject knowledge and experience – scrutinised all aspects of the handling and storage of pharmaceutical shipments through Emirates SkyCargo’s dual hubs in Dubai. This was to ensure compliance with GDP guidelines on a number of subjects including quality management, product integrity, security and training of staff handling pharmaceutical products.

‘Throughout the audit process we found strong evidence of Emirates SkyCargo’s commitment across all levels to delivering high quality and secure transportation for pharmaceutical products. We are pleased to certify Emirates SkyCargo’s facilities at DXB, Dubai World Central and the bonded road service between its hubs as GDP compliant,’ comments Ahmad Chaouk, vice president of sales and marketing for Middle East, India, Caspian Sea and Africa at Bureau Veritas.

A hub for pharma logistics

The new Emirates SkyPharma facility at DXB works in conjunction with Emirates SkyCentral DWC, the carrier’s freighter hub which offers 4 600m2 of dedicated area for pharmaceutical cargo. Both facilities complement the range of innovative cold chain products and solutions offered by Emirates SkyCargo including the Cool Dolly, White Container and White Cover Advanced offerings, all of which are designed to prevent temperature fluctuations or spikes from occurring during any part of the transportation process.

Emirates SkyCargo’s pharma handling capabilities at its dual hubs further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading destination for healthcare and pharma logistics. 

In 2015 Emirates SkyCargo shipped close to 11 000 tonnes of pharmaceutical products across its global network through its hub in Dubai. The top pharmaceutical products shipped include critical medication for diabetes and cancer, active pharmaceutical ingredients, blood derivatives and vaccines.


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