Marken, the clinical logistics subsidiary of UPS, is starting the new year with a continuation of 2017 practices: more offices in Asia, and more options for pharma clients. Most recently, it announced in mid-January that its Shanghai office will be expanded with a kit-building center, including a processing area for patient sample-collection kit assembly, dedicated temperature-controlled storage, and office space. There are additional Marken offices in Beijing and Hong Kong. Growth in clinical trial activity in China is justification for the expansion: “Shanghai is a strategically important gateway for China, as an important domestic hub for kit distribution but also as a key hub for distribution of clinical drugs and movement of biologic specimens,” said Michael Culme-Seymour, VP Asia Pacific.
The month before, Marken announced that it will open a new branch in Ahmedabad and expand into larger spaces in Hyderabad and Delhi. Both offices will be operational in the first quarter, 2018. The office moves are a response to increased client demand and also enables further expansion of its transportation network in the country. When complete, the company says, Marken will have six fully equipped locations in India, including its 24/7 Global Control Center in Mumbai.
And in October, the company announced the acquisition of Touchdown International Ltd, a privately held specialty logistics company in Taipei, Taiwan. Now to operate as Marken Taiwan Ltd., the company will provide courier services across Taiwan, and will leverage both Marken’s and UPS’ transportation networks.
It’s been just over a year since UPS acquired Marken, and integration of Marken’s logistics services with the UPS global network is proceeding apace, according to Wes Wheeler, Marken CEO. What the company calls a “hybrid” service, combining Marken’s network with UPS’ air and ground transportation assets, is now being carried out in the Western Hemisphere, and in Europe, with 10% of Marken’s shipments using UPS air. “The support we are receiving from our UPS parent is very strong and is opening up many new opportunities to serve our clients,” says Wheeler. “We are working every day to add lanes to the hybrid service which we believe will allow us to provide a broad range of transport solutions to our clinical clients.”