2 years ago, a large biopharma manufacturer approached Sonoco ThermoSafesince their current shipments of high-value biologics from Amsterdam to Sydney were failing at a rate of 1 in 5 shipments. These failures were causing lengthy investigations of around 28 days per failure. Sonoco ThermoSafe partnered with DHL Global Forwarding to solve this problem with the world’s only smart, active container—the PharmaPort 360.
Edwin Groenewoud, Customer Relations Team Leader at DHL Amsterdam, who has been managing these shipments, says that “We’ve had problems with active containers on this shipping lane, due to reliability issues and the lack of visibility in tracking data. The PharmaPort 360 has provided us flawless reliability, no temperature excursions and great visibility through the real-time GPS tracking. Additionally, the Sonoco PharmaPort team has done everything we could have asked, including creating a custom software visibility platform specific to our needs.”
The PharmaPort 360 (see Figure 1)is a smart active container with proprietary technology which maintains a rock-steady 5°C temperature, for a minimum of 72 hours in constant +30°C heat (and over 96 hours in controlled ambient conditions). The actual performance of the PharmaPort is shown in Figure 2 which charts the operational data from the internal temperature sensors of the container, over several hundred shipments.
Where PharmaPort really shines, though, is in its built-in telemetry. As the only active container with comprehensive monitoring built into the container structure and approved by the FAA, the PharmaPort provides a wealth of operational and environmental information: monitoring all internal/external temperature, location and mechanical functions; transmitted to the cloud in near real time; and requiring no human involvement to start/stop/retrieve monitors of any kind.
“PharmaPort’s built-in ability to securely track all these location, environmental and mechanical conditions just by powering on the container brings significant new capability to the market. Additionally, as the newest vintage active container, our fleet age provides additional relief from mechanical issues present elsewhere,” says Chris Day, director of global business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe.
David Bang, CEO of LifeConEx and global head of DHL Temperature Management Solutions at DHL Global Forwarding, was the driving force behind introducing the PharmaPort into the DHL portfolio. “Customers routinely come to us for advice on packaging selection. What has attracted us to the PharmaPort 360 solution is its flexibility, reliability and predictability. The telemetry allows us to manage shipments predictably, and between the ground handling and data analytics capabilities of DHL and the reliability of the PharmaPort, we can provide a high level of assurance to our customers.”
Bang notes that PharmaPort has been foundational in building a stronger partnership between DHL and Sonoco ThermoSafe, as the global capabilities of both organizations became recognized by the two. “Both organizations have an international footprint, and for us this has been a wake-up call that we can meet demanding client needs successfully,” he says.
Today’s international pharma-logistics market is being buffeted by capacity constraints, growing demand for high-reliability services, and tightening regulatory requirements. Use of the PharmaPort 360, with its reliability, simplicity and predictable performance, can take many of the worries off the plate for supply chain managers and logistics providers alike.