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Interview With an Expert

Alan Dong, Air Manager of OEC Group’s Northeast

region, discusses how his team recently earned an official temperature-controlled pharmaceutical shipping certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Which commodities, commodity groups, or business sectors are you and your team able to assist most with this certification?

The CEIV Pharma Certification lets us ship critical and life-saving items like medicines and vaccines. Additionally, we are able to organize critical shipments of blood, organs, and tissues along with specialized medical equipment. This certification covers all aspects in the shipment of time sensitive and temperature controlled pharmaceutical cargo. As a result, we are able to help hospitals, biotech manufacturers, labs, and just about anyone in the medical care industry get the life-saving products they need for their patients.

Why is this certification so important?

This certification is critical because it confirms that the organization responsible for shipping many of these life-saving products has the knowledge and training to ensure the product’s integrity while also addressing specific air cargo needs. Companies that do not undergo this training generally do not have the ability to identify the weak points in which this type of cargo is most at risk. This certification safeguards the integrity of these shipments in transit and therefore ensures they are able to help the people who need them.

In addition to training, what else should shippers look for to ensure their products maintain their integrity throughout the entire air shipping process?

Partnerships are a key part of the proper pharmaceutical shipping process, and anyone looking to ship pharmaceutical products should work with companies that are deeply connected. The reason is, this type of cargo requires specialized care, meaning providers need access to truckers, final distribution networks, and air cargo providers that have their own qualifications and experience in shipping that kind of specialized freight. It’s difficult for providers to earn those industry connections.

Should shippers choose their air freight provider based on specific accreditations like this one?

Pharmaceutical shippers, and even shippers of medical equipment without temperature guidelines, should absolutely consider the CEIV Pharma Certification when choosing a logistics provider. It shows specialized knowledge and experience in that sector. Additionally, for the general field of shippers, a specialized certification can give you peace of mind and let you know that your cargo is being handled by a certified expert. Qualifications are certainly not the end-all-be-all of transportation, but high standards are essential in providing reliable services and minimizing the risk involved in global transportation.

What advice would you give to shippers looking to solidify their short-and-long-term air freight plans in the current market?

Be proactive. When it comes to air freight, it’s always best to engage an expert well in advance of any prospective shipments. Like the ocean freight market, the air freight market is subject to change quickly, and planning in advance can help shippers navigate those sharp fluctuations with their provider.

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