Supplying Innovative Solutions Since 1994 - Call 708.331.0094

Industry Experts Gather at Second Annual Cold Chain Council

QProducts & Services

BY AMY WUNDERLIN ON AUG 15, 2017

The second annual Cold Chain Council, hosted by Q Products and Services, brought together thought leaders from each part of the cold chain. The educational forum, held June 13, in Chicago, featured several panels, presentations and a roundtable discussion, and was moderated by industry veteran Michael Cole.

The forum’s first panel, “Delivering Fresh Margins in Today’s Complex Cold Chain,” included presentations from Gary Campisi, senior director of Quality Control, Walmart; Luke Gowdy, general manager, Sourcing Transportation, C.H. Robinson; and Rob Ondrus, director of Produce, Reinhart Foodservice.

Of particular interest was Campisi’s presentation describing the challenges in transporting fresh foods, specifically in regards to tropical fruit. The demand for such commodities like avocados, papaya, bananas, guava and mangoes has significantly increased in the last few years, presenting a number of shipping challenges.

Wal-Mart tripled it sales in mangoes in 2016 compared to 2015, and Campisi says some are predicting mangoes will eventually overtake bananas in sales.

Shipping tropical fruits in mixed loads is especially difficult because the cold chain requirements for tropical fruit limit compatibility with other products. Most tropical commodities require warmer transit temperatures no colder than about 50 degrees. Improper temperatures result in chill damage.

The retail giant currently is seeking additional solutions to its tropical fruit dilemma, hoping for further low cost technology in packaging, such as Q Products PalletQuilt, which was designed to protect individual pallets of produce commodities traveling in varying trailer temperature zones.

“We can only get by for so long with blankets and quilts and hoping for the best,” Campisi adds.

Presenters in the second panel, “Cross Border Capacity Crunch: Finding the Right Mix for Seasonal Demands,” included: Gary Olson, president of Brewery Operations, Minhas Brewery; Kelli Saunders, president and CEO, Morai Transportation; and Stephen Mollard, director of Intermodal, Canadian National. The panel provided great perspective on the challenges associated with securing temperature controlled capacity out of Mexico and into Canada. “Passive Thermal Protection provides equipment flexibility and protects the temperature integrity of the product” Saunders explained.

Also speaking was Brandon Clark, Global Transportation Manager at Amway. His presentation, focused ontransportation challenges and opportunities in a global supply chain.

Jon Davis, meteorology team lead at Riskpulse, touched on a sometimes controversial topic—climate change—and its effects on the supply chain. Titled, “Climate Trends and Supply Chain Logistics: A Changing World,” the presentation explained how changes in weather patterns are creating both challenges and opportunities for logistics providers.

Davis discussed historical weather trends, data analytics and the solutions Riskpulse can provide in regards to weather and climate in the logistics world.

Riskpulse applies weather to things, beginning with raw data. Their solutions have played a big part in the agriculture and energy industries for years but are now seeing more applications throughout the supply chain.

Davis walked the audience through historical weather trends over the last 50 years, showing the globe’s warming trend and extreme weather.

“The spread has widened out, which is extremely important in logistics,” he notes.

The reason for this warming Davis explains is sea surface temperature anomalies. The anomalies indicate that the summer of 2017 will be one of the hottest ever, bringing increased risk of heat and humidity related transportation and shipment issues and an increased demand for temperature-sensitive products.

“With the more extremes in time, you get a huge variance regionally in what kind of temperature trends you tend to get,” he says.

Impacts of extreme weather trends include huge differences in trade lanes, but also bring potential for new openings throughout the year.

“Some of the biggest opportunities are now in shoulder seasons,” Davis adds. “Novembers are completely different than they used to be. The extremes that we see bring up opportunity, and it is amazing the new things can be done to earn cost savings.”

Q Products & Services will host the third annual Cold Chain Council on June 25, 2018.

Featured Article

QProducts & Services

Pharmaceutical cold chain logistics is a $13.4-billion global industry

Pharmaceutical Commerce’s annual Cold Chain Sourcebook projects moderating growth of 38% between 2015 and 2021


The 2017 edition of Pharmaceutical Commerce’s annual Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook estimates that managing the transportation of temperature-controlled products (refrigerated and frozen) will total $13.4 billion this year, growing at a 5-6% rate, and representing a moderation of the 8–9%/yr growth rate of the past several years. At the same time, the value of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals being shipped is projected to grow 10.7% this year (Fig. 1), suggesting that the industry is learning how to manage cold chain costs more efficiently.

The growth of temperature-controlled products is continuing at more than double the rate of non-temperature-controlled products, indicating that the cold chain business in biopharma will continue to grow healthily. The Sourcebook estimates 2017 non-cold-chain pharma logistics costs at $66.5 billion rising at a 4–5% growth rate. By 2021, pharma cold-chain logistics will be worth $16.6 billion, and non-cold chain at $76.5 billion (Fig. 2).

“There has been only moderate growth, if any, in freight transportation costs across the board in recent years,” notes Nick Basta, editor of Pharmaceutical Commerce, “and since freight transportation comprises roughly 70% of cold chain logistics costs, that moderation is a factor in the slower growth rate in cold chain logistics spending by biopharma.”

The global pharma industry today is almost $1.2 trillion, and between 2015 and 2021 is projected to rise by 41% (Fig. 1). Within that, products that require refrigerated storage and transport are worth around $283 billion, and will rise 70% between over the same span, while non-refrigerated products are projected to rise by about 32%. The drivers, of course, are the continuing transition to biologically based products in new product introductions; additional drivers are the tightening requirements for life sciences shipments, combined with the growing internationalization of pharmaceutical trade. Biosimilars introductions are rising throughout the world (the first product was introduced in the US in 2015), and while this will cut into biopharma revenues, it is also expected to expand the market for biologics-based products—a potential growth factor for the cold chain logistics business. Continued strong growth in insulin products and vaccines is also propelling growth, as is the broader adoption of all these products from developed economies to underdeveloped ones, especially in Asia.

Controlled room temperature
In past years, there was a clear demarcation between biologics and other products that required refrigeration, and tablets and similar products that did not. With the introduction of Good Distribution Practices (GDPs)—and their requirement for temperature monitoring of all types of pharma products, the lines are beginning to blur. Some CRT shipments employ logistics practices identical to temperature-controlled shipments: insulated containers, refrigerants and temperature-monitoring electronics. But many CRT shipments still follow traditional practices as pharma manufacturers become adept at analyzing the environmental conditions of their shipments, and documenting the temperature stability of their products (the amount of time a product can be outside its label temperature but remain effective). “The combination of these factors enable some manufacturers to continue to employ conventional logistics practices, while convincing regulators of the safety of those shipments,” says Basta. “However, the noose is tightening around these practices, and manufacturers are shifting to use of such practices as thermal blanketing and temperature monitoring to provide better quality assurance.”

Another trend to watch closely is the evolution of a variety of precision medicine innovations, ranging from cellular therapies to biomarker testing or regenerative medicine in the form of stem cells. Some of these therapies involve extracting blood or tissue samples from patients, conveying them to a facility for genetic or other manipulation, and then returning them to the patient. Every step in this process is potentially a cold chain task, with tight constraints on the condition monitoring of the shipment. “There are a lot of new technical requirements to these therapies,” says Basta, “including freezing the biomaterials during transit, and developing new packaging methods derived from the clinical research world.” However, most of these therapies are still in the developmental phase, and the volumes involved, from a pharma logistics perspective, are relatively small.

About clinical trial logistics specifically: The Sourcebook also looks at the clinical logistics field (not differentiating between cold chain and ambient, as most trials use temperature controls in some part of the process). Clinical trial logistics involves shipment of products to be used in trials to study sites which may be dispersed around the globe, as well as shipment of medical samples to centralized analytical laboratories. Trial initiations and the scale of trials will generate a logistics volume of around $3.2 billion in 2017 (Fig. 3). Based on estimates of future trial volume, location and industry R&D spending, the Sourcebook forecasts logistics spending growth at about 2% per year, to about $3.4 billion in 2021.

Methodology
To perform its analysis, Pharmaceutical Commerce starts with the current lists of approved drugs, and what their labels say for storage and shipping conditions. Drugs in the pipeline are also evaluated to the extent possible. That fraction of approved drugs is then compared to measures of overall pharma sales (from organizations like IMS Health and Evaluate Pharma), and overall pharma logistics spend and volumes. Data are broken down according to shipping mode (air, ground, sea) and the spending proportions between transportation, packaging and instrumentation.

The Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook, now in its eighth year of publication, is available for purchase from Pharmaceutical Commerce. Email info@pharmaceuticalcommerce.com for more information.

QProducts & Services featured in Pharmaceutical Commerce Magazine’s March April Edition

QProducts & Services

The following is an excerpt from Pharmaceutical Commerce Magazine. For full article click here

Thermal blankets find a growing cold chain role

Management of controlled room-temperature shipments generates rising demand

By Nicholas Basta

The pharma cold chain is dominated by refrigerated products—those that need to be kept between 2–8°C in storage and transportation. A broad-based network of insulation technologies, technical practices at freight forwarding companies; and devices and systems for air, ground and ocean transportation have evolved to manage these requirements, all driven by the grim reality that an exposure to elevated (or freezing) temperatures can spoil a pharma shipment, putting thousands, if not millions, of dollars of product inventory at risk.

In recent years, however, added attention has been paid to temperature requirements outside the 2–8° range. Frozen (and “deep frozen”) shipments are important for a small number of commercial shipments, but also for many clinical research shipments. A much bigger universe is “controlled room temperature” (CRT). The simple reality is that many CRT shipments have historically been delivered by general freight—putting the carton or pallet on a truck and hoping for the best. Now, with the growing emphasis of the EU GDP standards, pharma companies and their logistics providers are compelled to pay closer attention to CRT shipments, including monitoring temperature in transit and documenting excursions. To ensure compliant delivery of CRT products, some shippers are making use of the same cold chain packaging technologies as refrigerated: insulated boxes packed with gel refrigerants, and managed more or less the same way the 2–8° products are.

Since only about 7–10% of pharma products require refrigeration, the implication is that 90–93% are CRT—a market 10 times the size of the refrigerated cold chain, and representing an enormous added expense for pharma logistics. The industry is eager for alternatives. One approach is to be more rigorous about the “stability budget” of a CRT shipment— determining, through lab testing, how much time can be spent at an elevated (or depressed) temperature before the product undergoes degradation. Armed with these data (and the environmental characteristics of a shipping lane), a pharma shipper can defend the operational performance of a logistics process to regulators. The challenge, then, is to limit, rather than absolutely eliminate, temperature excursions. Enter thermal blanketing as a performance option.

Covers, blankets and more

In practice, thermal blanketing involves at least three approaches: a thermal “cover” that provides protection against sunlight while providing a slight degree of insulation; a thermal blanket, which mates a cover material with an insulating layer; and thermal quilts or other advanced technologies, which provide a thick, durable material for a higher degree of physical and thermal protection.

Thermal covers have been around for many years for pharma shipments, even of refrigerated containers, because of the reality that the containers can spend hours sitting on airport runways or exposed to high temperatures on a loading dock. A cold-chain container with a set amount of refrigerant can lose significant refrigerating capacity under direct sunlight; the cover cuts that substantially. Thermal covers have been offered with non-woven plastic construction. An enhancement of the thermal cover is to coat it with a reflective material, such as aluminum-containing polymer composite, for even better light reflectiveness.

In recent years, providers of thermal blanketing materials have significantly expanded the insulation properties of their offerings:

  • Q Products: offers QFoil, a thermal blanket with a metallized outer layer and varying thicknesses of inner liners, and a variety of quilted products for encasing drums, pallets or the internal walls of entire containers or truck trailers.

 

  • TP3 Global : based in the UK, provides a variety of configurations under the SilverSkin brand name, ranging from multiple foil layers and insulation of bubble-wrap structures; the products can be delivered fitted for pallets or other typical dimensions.

 

TP3 Global and Q Products struck a cross-licensing agreement last year; each company sells the other’s products in their respective geographies.

 

Tech service

Specifying the appropriate blanketing material can be as complex as a conventional refrigerated container—at least for the pharma industry. A key guidance document is Technical Report No. 72: Passive Thermal Protection Systems for Global Distribution, Qualification and Operational Guidance, a document published by the Parenteral Drug Assn. in 2015. The report covers most conventional configurations of boxes that contain insulation and refrigerant materials, but also includes several sections on thermal blanketing. Susan Li, manager of Temp True Packaging at UPS Healthcare Logistics, notes that engagements with UPS clients usually require an analysis of the shipping lanes, seasonal temperature variations, and the stability characteristics of the product being shipped—and the degree of risk the client is comfortable with. “Different shipping lanes around the world will have differing requirements; in addition, while some CRT products are specified for a 15–25° range, others are for 2–30 °C or other ranges,” she notes. Thermal blankets, while conceptually simple, have already attracted considerable engineering know-how. Q Products’ sales manager Paul Yadron notes that the company has a tech services department to run performance testing of the materials in environmental chambers, and it is customary to work with pharma clients on their shipping lane requirements. Besides developing customized configurations of the blanket, clients can factor in the reusability of the material. Q Products is aiming for something of a home run in thermal blankets: outright replacement of conventional insulated containers. “This could work, with some products that are delivered in a routine ‘milk run,’” he says. Various industry sources note that the US’ regulation of CRT shipments lags behind that of other countries—Europe in particular, as well as Canada. A significant fraction of US shipments still go by general freight (which might be perfectly acceptable, as long as stability budgets are respected); but the direction overall is for a tightening regulatory environment. Expect to see more blanketing in the years ahead.

Welcome to Q!

Visit our products page in the menu above to find out more about our cargo security and passive thermal protection products!!

QProducts & Services and Riskpulse enter new partnership:

QProducts & Services

Chicago, IL, January, 2017: Riskpulse and Q Products & Services (QPS) have joined forces to create a market-leading, technology-led customer experience for temperature sensitive shipments. The partnership supports the complex needs of supply chain logistics by providing the global market with a new standard to quantify shipment risk. This data-driven approach provides shippers and carriers with a clear understanding of when and where to apply the optimal passive thermal protection solutions.
Riskpulse provides its clients with a clear understanding of how weather impacts their transportation network. As sensitive products travel through the network, QPS helps ensure the temperature integrity is maintained along the way. Together, the industry leaders will guide shippers and carriers into making proactive and informed decisions about their supply chain. QPS and Riskpulse clients are empowered to take charge of the weather and confidently balance quality, risk and cost on every shipment by giving them the ability to:

  • Perform historical lane analysis to challenge assumptions and surface overspending on shipment insulation equipment and modes.
  • Visualize risk-by-route up to 10-days in advance and reduce manual effort of interpreting weather conditions across specific origins, destinations, waypoints, arrivals and departure times.
  • Act on missed savings opportunities by adapting to conditions and dynamically selecting the optimal protection based on cargo-specific tolerances.
  • Qualify performance capabilities through real world temperature studies to instill confidence in passive solutions.

QProducts & Services leads the US passive thermal protection market with their flagship, patented CargoQuilt® and PalletQuilt® products. Their European counter part, TP3 Global, manufactures Silverskin™, Europe’s best-known thermal cover and blanket brand. Available worldwide, these temperature protection products support all modes of transportation, including: Over the Road, Intermodal, Air, and Ocean shipments.

Riskpulse Is a supply chain risk analytics company that helps its clients and their partners increase the predictability and stability of their financial and physical operations. Many of the largest food shippers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers trust the Riskpulse Score (RpS) and the Riskpulse suite of cloud-based software applications to standardize their quantification of risk and guide their operational planning. Headquartered in Austin, TX, Riskpulse is rapidly becoming the standard way for members of the supply chain to get the signals they need to optimize for risk.

For more information, please Click Here!

QProducts and Riskpulse Establish Partnership

QProducts & Services

 

FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE IN REFRIGERATED TRANSPORTER MAGAZINE ONLINE CLICK HERE

Riskpulse and Q Products & Services (QPS) have joined forces to create a technology-led customer experience for temperature-sensitive shipments.

The partnership supports the complex needs of supply chain logistics by providing the global market with a new standard to quantify shipment risk. This data-driven approach provides shippers and carriers with a clear understanding of when and where to apply optimal passive thermal protection solutions.

Riskpulse provides its clients with a clear understanding of how weather impacts their transportation network. As sensitive products travel through the network, QPS helps ensure temperature integrity is maintained along the way. Together, the industry leaders will guide shippers and carriers into making proactive and informed decisions about their supply chain. QPS and Riskpulse clients are empowered to take charge of the weather and confidently balance quality, risk and cost on every shipment by giving them the ability to:

•Perform historical lane analysis to challenge assumptions and surface overspending on shipment insulation equipment and modes.

•Visualize risk-by-route up to 10 days in advance and reduce manual effort of interpreting weather conditions across specific origins, destinations, waypoints, arrivals and departure times.

•Act on missed savings opportunities by adapting to conditions and dynamically selecting the optimal protection based on cargo-specific tolerances.

•Qualify performance capabilities through real-world temperature studies to instill confidence in passive solutions.

QPS provides the US passive thermal protection market with its flagship, patented CargoQuilt and PalletQuilt products. Its European counterpart, TP3 Global, manufactures the Silverskin thermal cover and blanket brand. Available worldwide, these temperature protection products support all modes of transportation, including over the road, intermodal, air and ocean shipments.

For more information, go to www.riskpulse.com.