Basel, October 31, 2012 - Panalpina’s operations at Brussels airport are the latest to obtain official GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certification. Having not only fully GDP compliant but also officially GDP certified facilities at strategic locations around the globe, is part of the company’s strategy to service its growing customer base in the healthcare industry.
Healthcare is one of Panalpina’s fastest growing business sectors, serving both pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. Today, Panalpina is one of the world’s top five supply chain service providers for the healthcare industry and the business accounts for around 5% of the company’s revenues. Panalpina’s newly GDP certified facility at Brussels airport has a dedicated area for storing pharmaceuticals in transit. Human (and veterinary) medicines can either be stored at between 2°C and 8°C or between 15°C and 25°C. The temperatures are constantly monitored and temperature sensitive cargo is handled by trained Panalpina personnel only. A special customer service desk coordinates and oversees the cross-docking and interim storage of the valuable goods.
Official certification is taking it one step further
Panalpina currently operates 14 facilities (Centers of Excellence) worldwide and expects to have 22 by the end of 2014 where the company is fully GDP compliant. “In Brussels, we were not content with being GDP compliant,” says Peter Herling, Managing Director for Belgium and The Netherlands. “As in the case of Schiphol Airport, we wanted to take it one step further and achieve GDP certification by an official body, in this case the Belgian FAMHP.”
The Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products audited Panalpina and issued the certificate. An official GDP certification is harder to come by but it also has one major advantage, says Herling: “For our customers in the healthcare industry selecting the right partner goes beyond comparing costs. They are required by law to audit contractors like us. With an official GDP certification in hand, it is much easier for us – and consequently also for them – to prove that we adhere to the highest quality standards and mitigate risk.”
Air freight hub in Huntsville next in line
Panalpina’s operation at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was already officially GDP certified in October 2011. The company’s operations at the Cargo Center of Luxembourg’s Findel Airport were the first to obtain official GDP certification in June 2010. Next in line for certification is Panalpina’s US air freight hub in Huntsville, Alabama.
The Good Distribution Practice sets standards for transportation and storage of medicinal products for human use, including levels of temperature, hygiene, pressure etc. In Europe, GDP guidelines are in line with the Directive of the Board of the European Community 92/25/EEC, while in the U.S. the guidelines are based on the Code of Federal Regulations 21 CFR 210/211 and USP 1079. Recently the EU has reviewed the GDP guidelines and a new version is expected to be in force by early 2013.
The Panalpina Group
The Panalpina Group is one of the world's leading providers of supply chain solutions, combining intercontinental Air and Ocean Freight with comprehensive Value-Added Logistics Services and Supply Chain Services. Thanks to its in-depth industry know-how and customized IT systems, Panalpina provides globally integrated end-to-end solutions tailored to its customers' supply chain management needs. The Panalpina Group operates a global network with some 500 branches in more than 80 countries. In a further 80 countries, it cooperates closely with partner companies. Panalpina employs approximately 15,500 people worldwide.