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IATA insights on new temperature-sensitive product requirements

Andrea Graf-Gruber of the International Air Transport Assn. addresses the shifting landscape for air carriers.

The Intl. Air Transport Assn. (IATA) started in 1945 and has more than 240 members representing 84% of global air cargo traffic.

On day one of Cool Chain Europe 2013 in Basel, Switzerland, Andrea Graf-Gruber discussed the global landscape for air carriers.

The pharmaceutical industry is counting on air travel more and more, with speed and on-time delivery key factors. Interestingly enough, air cargo accounts for 35% of value of shipped goods, but only .5% of volume. Think small, but very expensive items like drugs!

IATA preaches a safe, secure, reliable, efficient, and profitable air cargo supply chain, but there are many challenges that need to be addressed.

Not only is IATA challenged to provide a carbon footprint for “green” concerns, but also safety challenges, as well due to mis-declared or wrongly marked goods.

There needs to be less paper as well, a problem being tackled with a new electronic airway bill.

Airport operations and ground handling remain a problem. Do airport personnel and ground handlers understand the nature of time and temperature-sensitive materials when there is a weather or mechanical delay?

A new label was introduced in July 2012 due to a plethora of labels roaming the globe. Graf-Gruber stressed than much else has to be done, but the correct standardized label is an important start in the process.

A poll taken between August and October last year of 180 stakeholders in 59 countries revealed that 61% of airlines, ground handlers, shippers, etc., had implemented the label, but 39% have not—for a wide variety of reasons. More education is needed.

Ground handlers do not have an understanding of temperature-monitoring devices—how and where they are used and the wide variety of types available. IATA has established a working group to set up a compliance audit, not to punish but to show the value and benefits of compliance.

An audience member from J & J, discussing thermal mapping requirements, asked if IATA could help with temperature mapping of aircraft cargo holds and ground storage facilities. Graf-Gruber was very open to the discussion.

“Service providers have to help industry meet regulatory requirements,” Alan Davis of J & J told me after the presentation.  Davis is J & J’s Supply Chain Temperature Control Leader based in Skillman, NJ.  “There is no way we can get through all we have to without their help.”

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