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May 4, 2022

As China went into lockdown, SkyCell successfully delivered life-saving vaccines door-to-door from Europe to Beijing

Conditions on the ground for logistics businesses currently operating in China are challenging. With Covid-related lockdowns in force, travelling to and within the country requires extensive planning. Indeed, the transport of goods in Shanghai has ‘almost ground to a halt’ with logistics managers expecting it to be weeks, or even months before logistics operations return to normal. These internal issues are made even more complex by the closure of Russian airspace, adding more time to what is already a considerable journey for flights originating from Europe, for example.

As a result, the customer had expressed concerns about the complexity of the journey and whether these barriers would impact the arrival time and the integrity of the vaccines. However, SkyCell was well disposed to meet this challenge head on: using hybrid 2500C containers and the SECURE real-time monitoring platform, we ensured the cargo was protected during the entire transit period, giving the customer complete peace of mind of a safe and secure shipment.

The vaccines in question required a consistent internal temperature of between +2°C to +8°C – this is a delicate range, which increases the risk of potential temperature excursions with single use solutions. This lane is typically executed on a one way pallet shipper (i.e. a carton box with gel packs for cooling). Given the current circumstances in China, this would not have been sufficient as a pallet shipper is not able to maintain the required internal temperature within the necessary range. As a result of this wide range of variables, it was an absolute necessity to conduct an extensive lane risk assessment. For this lane, SkyCell had mapped out multiple scenarios, using different routings based on the real expected temperatures, in order to have the best estimate of the critical control and risk points.

Throughout the eight day journey, the external temperatures on the ground were fluctuating wildly. SkyCell’s inbuilt real-time monitoring software, SECURE, showed that at different points throughout the journey the external temperature had extremes of between -3,5°C to +19,3°C, especially at Beijing Capital International Airport. These variations in temperature happened in a very short time frame – risking destabilising the internal temperature. For many other solutions, this flux in temperature could be critical and risk the spoilage of the cargo – however, with SkyCell, the internal temperature remained stable.

SkyCell hybrid containers are uniquely designed for a challenge like this: with an industry leading standalone runtime of 202 hours, the 2500C was able to both maintain stable internal temperatures throughout the journey, but also accommodate the rapidly changing conditions on the ground. This was especially important during shipments where unexpected delays occur, such as airport congestion, a long wait on the tarmac and in this scenario, delays caused by multiple fumigations upon arrival at Beijing airport. SkyCell containers, however, navigated both the expected and the unexpected obstacles along this journey effectively.

Despite the vast number of variables to account for in this shipment, the customer received the shipment on time, with zero temperature excursions and with the life saving vaccines intact and ready to be used. SkyCell was the only provider equipped with the tools to ensure the success of this shipment: primed to manage the unexpected, we always aim to exceed expectations, guaranteeing protection for door to door. With lockdowns in China showing no signs of ending soon and the conflict in Ukraine continuing to disrupt airspace, pharmaceutical shippers are obviously concerned about how these conditions will affect their operations in the short and long term. However, SkyCell has demonstrated that through solutions capable of considerable independent run time, real-time monitoring and secure containers, what could have been a perilous journey, was ultimately a smooth one.

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