Friday, July 31, 2015

American Airlines Opens New Cold Storage Facility for Pharmaceuticals

By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times
American Airlines celebrated the opening of its $5 million, 25,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled pharmaceutical and health care materials handling facility in Cargo City at Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday.

Airline officials chose to transform a former ground-service equipment facility into a cooled warehouse specifically to house pharmaceutical items. Previously, the items were held in a portion of the 89,000-square-foot refrigerated building across the street, where other items, including produce, seafood and flowers, are stored while in transit.

American Airlines Manager of Cold Chain Strategy Thomas Grubb explained that pharmaceutical customers like a dedicated facility for their product because it could be impacted by particulate from other items when in a shared space.

“The two main goals are that the products remain safe and then remain effective, because basically we’re not just talking about shipments at an airport,” he said. “We’re talking about a patient at the other end. It’s not just a matter of making sure it doesn’t get destroyed in route, but also when it gets to them that it has the therapeutic effectiveness that it needs to have.”

The facility handles both actively and passively stored materials.

In the active container management area, a maximum of 30 C-Safe RKN and Envirotainer pods can connect to electric recharging stations. Each pod has its own internal temperature control system between 0 and 25 degrees Celsius and is set at the temperature the customer requests.

The passive area consists of two cooled rooms — 6,000 square feet designated between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius for delicate products, such as vaccines, therapeutic protein treatments and blood/plasma products, and 3,000 square feet set between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. Most passive shipments are contained in scientifically designed boxes packed with dry ice or gel packs to maintain a certain temperature for a specified time.

There is also a deep frozen area reserved for items that need to be kept between minus 10 and minus 20 degrees Celsius.

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