UPS has unveiled the PharmaPort 360, an air freight container that safeguards healthcare shipments in the supply chain by enabling near real-time monitoring and maintaining product temperatures in extreme outside conditions.
“The stakes are high when there’s a patient at the end of the supply chain, and … the PharmaPort 360 will ensure better protection of potentially life-saving therapies,” said Mark Davis, product manager of UPS Healthcare Logistics.
The unit is designed with input from both the life sciences and transportation industries, is fully validated and tested, and exceeds rigorous healthcare industry standards for temperature-sensitive compliance during transportation, UPS said.
The container maintains strict temperatures by using both heating and cooling storage technology to allow tolerance for a wider range of extreme ambient temperature changes. It maintains temperatures within the required 2°C-8°C to prevent spoilage, and sustains the range for more than 100 hours.
The unit’s technology replaces the need for dry ice to eliminate the associated handling fees and hazardous materials charges, and holds the critical 2°C-8°C temperatures about 38 percent longer than current dry ice containers, UPS said.
Built-in sensors monitor shipment condition and GPS location, and transmit this data to UPS’s global control towers via GSM. Agents proactively monitor the container for select “heartbeats” such as internal and external temperatures, near real-time location, and battery life. When alerts are triggered indicating a potential risk, UPS agents can intervene with pre-established contingency plans to rescue a shipment in distress and prevent product loss.
The container has more flexibility for flight options, said UPS. While in transit, it neither consumes energy nor emits external heat, vapor or gasses, so it can fly in both upper and lower deck aircraft positions. The Federal Aviation Authority has also approved the unit to fly on both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft.
Photo from UPS