Updated on 24 June 2015
The facility is designed to handle both actively and passively stored materials
Singapore: American Airlines recently announced the opening of its $5 million, 25,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled pharmaceutical and healthcare materials handling facility in Cargo City at Philadelphia International Airport. A former ground-service equipment facility was transformed into a cooled warehouse specifically to house pharmaceutical items.
Mr Thomas Grubb, manager of Cold Chain Strategy, American Airlines, said, "Pharmaceutical customers like a dedicated facility for their product because it could be impacted by particulate from other items when in a shared space. The two main goals are that the products remain safe and effective, while ensuring that the products it do not get destroyed and have their therapeutic effectiveness."
The facility was chosen for the Philadelphia airport because of the pharma and life sciences industries in the region, as well as its proximity to high user markets of these products. "We have so much material that comes in and goes to Europe and South America," Mr Grubb said. "It is right in the middle, so it is a perfect way to transport the product both directions."
The facility is designed to handle both actively and passively stored materials. In the active container management area, a maximum of 30 C-Safe RKN and Envirotainer pods can connect to electric recharging stations. Each pod has its own internal temperature control system between 0 and 25 degrees Celsius and is set at the temperature the customer requests.
The passive area consists of two cooled rooms - 6,000 square feet designated between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius for delicate products, such as vaccines, therapeutic protein treatments and blood/plasma products, and 3,000 square feet set between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Most passive shipments are contained in scientifically designed boxes packed with dry ice or gel packs to maintain a certain temperature for a specified time. There is also a deep frozen area reserved for items that need to be kept between minus 10 and minus 20 degrees Celsius.