Emirates opened SkyPharma, a dedicated cool storage facility for pharmaceutical goods, at Dubai International on Sunday. The Dubai based airline expanded its existing 80,000 SkyCargo square meters by another 11,000 sq metres, including 4,000 sq metres of temperature-controlled facility for pharma cargo, termed as SkyPharma.
Last year, Emirates SkyCargo opened a Dh700m, 15,000 sq metres of cool chain facility at the Logistics District in Dubai South, formerly Dubai World Central, including 4,600 sq metres for pharma products.
Before the facilities at Dubai South and Dubai international Airport opened their segregated areas, pharma shipments were handled at Emirates’ general cool chain cargo areas. The segregation followed the European Union’s stricter guidelines, including those calling for appropriate temperature controls for medical products during transportation, issued in 2013.
Emirates SkyCargo handles pharmaceutical products such as diabetes and cancer medication, blood derivatives and vaccines. Traditionally, pharma cargo has been a fraction of the total cargo volume for Emirates. In the financial year ending March, it carried 11,000 tonnes of pharma cargo out of 2.5 million tonnes. Some of the busiest routes for pharma cargo movement for Emirates remain between manufacturing hubs and consumer markets.
About 50 per cent of global pharma cargo transportation in terms of volume is from Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, to Asia, and 30 per cent is from India to the US. Meanwhile, air cargo costs are expected to remain flat this year amid a slowdown in global economic activity.