Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook

Global biopharma cold-chain logistics will hit $15.7 billion in 2019

10th edition of the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook predicts above-average growth


What the global biopharma industry collectively spends to ship temperature-controlled products will reach $15.7 billion in 2019, up from 2018’s predicted figure of $15.0 billion. There are trends toward increased use of ocean freight, while the spending on specialized packaging is relatively flat—a sign of both more competition, and more sophisticated evaluation of packaging technologies. These are some of the findings in the 2019 Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook, a compendium of market data, regulatory updates and technology trends published annually by Pharmaceutical Commerce.

“When we started publishing the Sourcebook 10 years ago, we assumed this part of the logistics industry would rapidly settle down into a commoditized, routine service,” notes Nick Basta, editor at Pharmaceutical Commerce. “Instead, what we find is an amazing intensity on new technology and new business practices, and a growing awareness of the importance of reliable shipping and storage practices by all participants.” Notable developments of the past couple years are the rise of reusable packaging (and the corresponding network of recycling centers); the stepping up of ocean-freight handling processes to ensure safe delivery; and the range of options for handling so-called “controlled room temperature” shipments (i.e., non-cold chain products, which are now more closely regulated).

Spending for clinical trial logistics is estimated at $3.5 billion for 2019, with the assumption that the great majority of this is temperature-controlled.

Global pharma cold chain sales

Cold chain products have roughly double the sales of non-cold chain products through 2023

The 2019 $15.7 billion figure represents a 4.5% increase over 2018; but that figure masks the continuing trend toward more temperature-controlled shipping by industry. Based on industry forecasts of overall pharmaceutical growth (and Pharmaceutical Commerce’s analysis of cold/non-cold products), the 2017-2023 growth rate for all pharma sales is 33%, while that for cold chain products specifically is 59%. In 2018, of the 66 new drugs or new indications approved by FDA, 29, or 44%, were cold chain products. “There’s a lot of excitement—and a lot of technology development—around the latest cellular and genetic therapies, which both require extreme cryogenic shipping conditions, and represent entirely new supply chain approaches,” notes Basta. “However, the volumes involved, to date, are a very small component of overall pharma logistics.”

The Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook contains market forecasts to 2023; updates on new regulations or guidances from US Pharmacopeia and the International Air Freight Assn., among others, and a directory of service providers in packaging, instrumentation, and air/ground/ocean transportation. More details, such as the Table of Contents, are available here. Contact Pharmaceutical Commerce at info@pharmaceuticalcommerce.com for details, or call (+1) 718 282 6112.