dnata upgrades its pharma handling capability at Changi

posted on 17th November 2020
dnata upgrades its pharma handling capability at Changi

As we saw in the preceding article, Fraport has invested in new CoolBox equipment for use at Frankfurt – but it is not the only ground service provider to have invested in cool dollies of late. dnata, the air services provider that forms part of the Emirates Group, has introduced two cool dollies for handling pharmaceuticals at Singapore Changi Airport

The cool-chain dollies that dnata has introduced into service at Changi are for moving pharmaceutical shipments between cargo warehouse and aircraft, ensuring that the temperature-sensitive cargo maintains its temperature integrity throughout its movement through the airport.

Providing temperature-controlled storage from -18°C up to +25°C, the cool dollies have a closed structure, with alarms on opening and closing, as well as alerts if temperatures rise above acceptable ranges. They are fitted with solar panels, so they are also environmentally friendly and offer cost economies in terms of power requirements.

The units are also said to be hygienic and easy to clean, an important consideration for pharma cargo.

Dirk Goovaerts, dnata’s regional CEO for Asia Pacific, observes: “It has become increasingly crucial for both airlines and freight forwarders to be supported by a reliable, certified handler that can protect their pharma shipments and ensure the products remain in perfect condition until they reach the end customer.

“We constantly invest in our people, facilities, equipment and processes to provide world-class services to our customers. Our latest investment in cool dollies underlines our commitment to ensuring the highest quality of supply chain management when handling temperature-sensitive cargo.”

He adds that dnata will “continue to enhance our operations to deliver the promises our customers make, every day”.

The Dubai-headquartered ground services provider has become the first handler to operate cool dollies at the Singapore gateway and Lim Ching Kiat, managing director, air hub development at operator Changi Airport Group (CAG), notes: “Pharmaceuticals and perishables shipments are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuation and require stringent temperature control to maintain product effectiveness and freshness.

“The cool dolly services further enhance Singapore as a reliable and quality air hub for pharma and perishables products.”

Lim continues: “Through close collaboration with our air cargo community, Changi Airport is committed to continuously develop our cold chain handling capabilities, providing shippers with the assurance of safe, reliable and efficient air transportation for their special cargo. Changi currently features the largest IATA CEIV Pharma-certified air cargo community in Asia Pacific. Together with our community, we are preparing for the effective global air transportation of Covid-19 vaccines.”

Operational experience
Goovaerts tells Airside that dnata advised on the design of the cool dollies based on its own operational requirements and preferences. A Singapore-based company, Monzone, manufactured the units in line with dnata’s requirements.

The handler acquired the equipment at the end of September, and then began staff training and operational trials.

The first two cool dollies will be supplemented by a further two that are on order, Goovaerts informs. As well as the four units it will operate at Singapore, dnata has also ordered four more cool dollies to serve the market in Australia. The handler uses similar dollies in Dubai in the UAE and at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands).

Prioritising pharma
dnata operates a 1,400m² pharma and perishable handling centre at Changi, which is able to handle 75,000 tonnes of temperature-sensitive goods a year.

The facility was designed and built with flexibility as well as the specific requirements of perishables handling in mind. Its temperature-controlled areas are modular, enabling teams to manage changing handling demands with dedicated climate control capability.

A web-based monitoring system is also used to facilitate real-time management of all areas. dnata is able to provide its customers at Changi with a one-stop audit trail of all consignments processed through its cool-chain facility there.