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April 11, 2023

SkyCell and Etihad: Strong partnerships overcome the most difficult challenges

In February 2023 over the course of six days SkyCell and Etihad Cargo successfully completed a shipment of temperature-sensitive vaccines in two 1500C containers between Amsterdam and Manila, via Abu Dhabi. The 1500C is a lightweight, hybrid container engineered to self-recharge and be highly resistant with shock-absorbent feet. It is also designed for door-to-door pharma deliveries and can withstand the most challenging environments.

With the average February temperatures in Amsterdam being 6°C, to the high seasonal February temperatures averaging 30°C in Abu Dhabi and Manila (as well as 78% humidity) – it was imperative that the SkyCell containers could keep the pharmaceuticals cool despite the continuously changing external temperatures.

Moreover, the customs process in Manila airport is prone to delays, usually due to technical and power supply problems – meaning containers could face waits lasting hours on the tarmac in 30°C heat. Compared to passive or active solutions which require power supplies or battery charging, SkyCell hybrid containers have a long independent run time, and a patented heat distribution system allowing them to withstand delays on the tarmac without any temperature excursions.


Meeting the challenge head on

Clearly, the route was not without challenges. However, SkyCell’s innovative containers were perfectly positioned to ensure the safe delivery of these vaccines, even despite the considerable risks the route posed.

High-value, life-saving medical products require safe transport and packaging. SkyCell’s 1500C hybrid container addresses the need for high-value and high-volume 2℃ to 8℃ pharmaceutical shipments. The self-charging hybrid container maintains stable temperature conditions – which was especially critical during this journey with such a high range of outside temperature variation. The full potential of SkyCell’s containers were tested, in deflecting shocks, sustaining steady protection under extreme conditions and long journeys.

The SkyCell container comes equipped with a self-charging system that helps safeguard the medicine during extreme conditions. This system allows the container to recharge itself when exposed to temperatures below 5℃ enabling it to be stored at this temperature for prolonged periods, such as while awaiting shipment in Amsterdam.

The 1500C container has an extended run-time of 270 hours in addition to its recharging capability. This means that the containers are not dependent on warehouse facilities and effortlessly remained in a stable condition throughout the 125-hour journey. This was helped by SkyCell’s double door system, which creates a separate cooling chamber to keep medicines safe and dry during any form of disruption like intermittent weather conditions.

Fabrice Panza, Manager Global Cool Chain Solutions at Etihad Cargo

“At Etihad Cargo, we transport high-value, temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals across a global network. As such, we require trusted partners to ensure door-to-door delivery of the most high-risk goods. SkyCell perfectly encapsulates this, by sharing our commitment to quality, sustainability and innovation.

In addition, thanks to SkyCell’s innovative technology, we were able to monitor the pharmaceutical cargo’s journey in real-time from Amsterdam to the Philippines, verifying that it maintained a constant temperature of +5 degrees Celsius and assuring the product quality from door to door”.


Door-to-door delivery, despite adversity

At a time when global pandemics, climate change, and geopolitical issues have shone a light on the challenges in pharma supply chains, more than ever there is a need for innovative solutions that deliver goods to their destinations safely and securely.

SkyCell is changing the game for how pharma products can be shipped across the globe and is challenging players within the same ecosystem to transform the global transportation of highly sensitive and high-value medicines to be safer, more secure, and more sustainable.

The partnership between SkyCell and Etihad Cargo has allowed the safe and efficient transport of vaccines, not only helping businesses to operate more efficiently but also helping people get access to their medications. That’s what we call a partnership with a purpose.

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