Air China plans cold chain pilot with support from Envirotainer
February 16, 2016
Air China Cargo is launching a cold chain service this spring starting with stations in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Frankfurt and Geneva in a six-month pilot aimed at capturing a share of the pharmaceutical market.
The flag cargo carrier of China plans further network expansion in 2016 based on market demand.
To implement the pilot, it has signed a global master lease agreement (MLA) with Envirotainer, a Sweden-based secure cold chain company for the pharmaceutical supply chain. This is the first time Envirotainer has partnered with an airline based in mainland China.
The partnership aims to enhance the connectivity for pharmaceutical companies doing business with their suppliers and customers in China, while improving the availability of containers for exporters in China through the airline’s extensive network.
“We are extremely pleased to be Envirotainer’s first airline partner in mainland China,” said Ray Lo, vice president at Air China Cargo. “We place great importance in ensuring that pharmaceutical products carried on us get absolute care. With the extensive expertise and global presence Envirotainer has in the active cold chain, this allows us to ensure that temperature-sensitive shipments are just as effective and safe as when they left the production line.”
The partnership is expected to benefit bio-pharma companies importing and exporting active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), intermediates and other bulk and semi-finished products to and from the world’s second largest economy.
“The partnership with Air China Cargo is another positive step forward in China, Apac and indeed worldwide, as more stations and capacity are added to the portfolio in order to support the growing demands,” said Bourji Mourad, head of global partner management at Envirotainer. “Our Singapore-based global partner manager Paul Seet will be assisting Air China Cargo with the roll out of this agreement as well as managing the partnership between our two companies.”
As part of its continued network expansion, Envirotainer opened a service station in Shanghai, China, in November 2015 to support growing cold chain business to the pharma supply chain. Envirotainer says it will continue to invest and open its network to ensure that its cold chain products are available globally. In the past year, the company has taken several steps to strengthen its position, including the opening of a US headquarters in New York and a new office in Singapore, a stronger product and service offering, and the increase of production and of its container fleet size to satisfy market demand.
As the only flag cargo carrier in China, Air China Cargo has a fleet comprising 15 freighters. With the support of its passenger network, Air China Cargo serves more than 170 destinations globally, 26 of which are served by freighters. The cargo carrier also has over 1285 truck services to supplement its freighter and passenger belly network.