November 12, 2019: Emirates SkyCargo, which has opened a 1,000 square metres pharma facility at Chicago airport this year, has been certified as compliant to European Union good distribution practice (EU GDP) guidelines by SGS, a leading certification services company. In line with its focus on fit-for-purpose facilities and development of pharma corridors between main pharma origin and destination stations, the freight division of Emirates has also moved its pharma handling operations at Copenhagen to a dedicated GDP certified facility for pharmaceuticals developed by WFS.

The carrier has carried over 75,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals across the world during the financial year 2018-19. The GDP certification for the Chicago facility validates the high standards adhered to by the carrier when transporting temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. This facility developed in partnership with ground handler Maestro has a total capacity of close to 15,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals per year and offers a pharma corridor temperature-controlled zones for acceptance and delivery, pharma cargo build-up and break down, storage and direct ramp access. Since its launch, the facility has handled close to 6,900 tonnes of pharma.

Meanwhile, WFS facility offers end-to-end handling of pharma cargo in a temperature-controlled environment with two separate temperature ranges of 15-25°C and 2-8°C. With four dedicated gates and the capability to accept both loose and built-up units, the facility will bolster Emirates SkyCargo’s pharma handling operations in Copenhagen. The shift ensures that there is a maximum focus on following the guidelines for handling pharmaceutical cargo including avoiding contamination with other kinds of cargo such as food and perishable goods.

Henrik Ambak, Emirates senior vice president, cargo operations worldwide, said, "Copenhagen is an important pharma station for Emirates SkyCargo and the move to a facility that provides dedicated pharma handling is aligned with our customer requirements for protecting the integrity of valuable pharma cargo while also ensuring that cargo is transported rapidly and efficiently.

"Our current priority is to strengthen our pharma corridors programme. We have done this by adding more relevant pharma origin and destination stations to the initiative- we have expanded the initiative to 25 stations globally from the 12. We’re also working to ensure that the capabilities we are developing with support from our ground handlers are fit-for-purpose. The Chicago GDP certification is also part of our overall plan to connect pharma cargo efficiently and securely," he added.

Emirates SkyCargo operates more than 8,600 square metres of GDP certified space dedicated to the combined handling of pharmaceutical products at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central. The carrier also operates a fleet of close to 50 dedicated Emirates pharma cool dollies which provide temperature protection on the ramp when cargo is being moved between the aircraft and the terminal. Through a partnership with DuPont, Emirates SkyCargo has rolled out a set of innovative thermal blankets called the Emirates White Cover which also provides the first level of protection against external temperature fluctuations for cargo.

Emirates SkyCargo’s cargo hold capacity comprises Emirates’ fleet of more than 265 aircraft, including 12 freighters – 11 B777Fs and one B747F. During the last financial year, Emirates SkyCargo moved close to 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.

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