Typically, pharma cold-chain shipments via active (powered) containers are tracked from when the container is loaded, to where the container is taken off an aircraft; many containers never leave an airport. Now, however, CSafe is enabling its container to move farther along the supply chain, including trucking from the airport to the next destination. The company piloted such a service with DHL, where containers loaded with temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals were flown from Puerto Rico to Kentucky and then transported by truck to their destination in Chicago. The CSafe tracking service integrates its own asset management system with an as-yet unnamed supply-chain visibility platform, and a communications-enabled datalogger. Tracking data was collected and reported continuously (except when the container was in flight).
“This technology will bring the insight into shipment status and product condition that customers expect,” noted Tom Weir, CSafe’s COO. “The tracking devices continually collect data and deliver it in real-time to a cloud-based platform. From there customers and CSafe support staff will have 24/7 access to monitor every shipment and intervene if necessary.” The data service will be available to customers as part of their standard lease.
According to Weir, the service will eventually exist as a CSafe-branded offering, and is “agnostic” toward the datalogging devices that might be used. Provided that the installed device is deemed acceptable, the service will apply to any commercial logistics partner. Following further testing and development, it will be available on all of CSafe’s air cargo, parcel and cell & gene solutions.
Real-time tracking is undergoing a steady advance in the pharma cold chain. Originally, dataloggers were required to be physically removed from the shipment and their stored data downloaded manually; now it can be reported via WiFi or similar protocols. There are cloud-based service providers who will link multiple devices used in a supply chain globally, but there remain the complexities of who is collecting the data, and who is providing them to the shipper customer.