Global insight

From the left, Qatar Airways' Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Akbar Al Baker and cargo chief Ulrich Ogiermann

Qatar Cargo’s pharma skills reach out to India

QATAR Airways Cargo has extended its pharma reach to India.

The launch of two new Pharma Express routes connecting Doha with Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad will provide “a unique and dedicated service to [India’s] pharmaceuticals industry”, says a company statement.

The additional routes follow the success of the Brussels-Basel-Doha Pharma Express service launched by Qatar Cargo in January of this year.

The first new Pharma Express services will commence on 10 November and will operate from Mumbai, via Ahmedabad to Doha on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The second will begin on 11 November and will operate from Hyderabad to Doha on Wednesdays and Saturdays – both flights offering connectivity across Qatar Airways’ extensive global network.

Ulrich Ogiermann, Qatar Airways’ chief officer of cargo, notes that Qatar is the only airline offering such a dedicated service to the pharmaceuticals industry in the region.

Air cargo standards for handling time- and temperature-sensitive commodities such as pharmaceuticals are becoming ever more stringent, with stricter guidelines on temperature control, he advises.

Qatar Airways Cargo has developed a thorough understanding of the intricacies involved in safeguarding the integrity of these commodities. Because of its geographical location, with temperatures often above 40 degrees, Qatar Cargo has created fail-safe handling processes which provide meticulous and uncompromised service standards in line with Good Distribution Practice (GDP) requirements.

QR Pharma, a dedicated service for pharmaceutical and healthcare products, offers active and passive solutions, such as the use of temperature-controlled containers designed to maintain a constant temperature throughout the entire transportation chain, and a solution which keeps the product within a defined temperature band at all stages of the journey.

A vital factor is fast tarmac transfers at Doha through a quick ramp transfer process.

The carrier is the only Middle East airline to offer refrigerated or reefer truck services for ramp transfers, whereby sensitive commodities are collected from and delivered directly to the aircraft by temperature-controlled vehicles to ensure that the cool chain process is seamless, thereby eliminating risk to temperature exposure.

The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third largest in terms of volume and 13th largest in terms of value, according to reports.

It is one of the main reasons the Indian subcontinent is becoming a very important market for airfreight services.

With 27 freighter frequencies a week to India, serving seven destinations, as well as belly-hold cargo capacity to more than 10 destinations there, Qatar Airways Cargo’s presence in the sub-continent is expanding to meet this growing demand.

Qatar Airways Cargo has become the third largest international cargo airline in the world, according to latest IATA figures and now boasts a freighter fleet of six A330s, eight B777s and one B747.

The airline has also revealed plans for a new multi-deck cargo facility earmarked for 2018 at Hamad International Airport.

When complete, the new facility will increase the hub’s overall capacity to 4.4 million tonnes a year with the potential for further expansion to seven million.

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