DHL, UPS Build Up ‘Cold Chain’ Shipping for Pharmaceuticals
Investments come as report says changes in drug manufacturing put a greater premium on temperature controls in logistics
The largest U.S. logistics companies are preparing for a boom in spending on specialty drugs that require temperature-controlled shipping by investing in so-called cold-chain infrastructure.
On Thursday United Parcel Service Inc. announced it is building a health care distribution center in the Netherlands, just a month after opening an air freight facility at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol dedicated to health care shipments. .
The announcement comes in the same week that Deutsche Post DHL AG released a white paper that said pharmaceutical manufacturers face an “exponential growth in the need for temperature assured distribution and handling of materials, from active ingredients to finished products.”
The boom stems from a move by pharmaceutical companies away from so-called “small molecule,” chemical-based drugs, which includes most over-the-counter pill-based medications. Instead, the manufacturers are moving toward more structurally-complex biotechnology drugs, including hormones and cancer drugs, which in general require strict temperature controls when shipped.