FRAGMENTATION of quality – and conflicting, confusing standards across the air cargo industry – will prohibit it from enjoying the rich pickings that pharmaceuticals and life-sciences shipments have to offer.

Polarisation among the ‘those-that-can’ and ‘those-that-cannot’ supply chain operators is too evident, a former pharma industry professional-turned air cargo manager warns, writes Thelma Etim.

The proliferation of the pharma and life-sciences sector is being fuelled by the increasing prevalence of wide-ranging diseases and conditions ranging from coronary artery disease, cancers and HIV to ‘flu, obesity and diabetes – not forgetting the presence of older populations around the world, notes Alan Dorling, global head of pharmaceuticals and life-sciences at IAG Cargo, the freight arm of BA, Iberia, Vueling Airlines and, more recently, Aer Lingus.

The pharma and life-sciences market is growing above standard cargo growth which, buffeted by volatile oil prices, has been painfully underperforming. Prior to 2015’s prolonged downwards spiral – modal shift, China’s slowdown as it metamorphoses into a consumption-driven economy and slowing global trade have all played their part in this general air cargo slump.

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