The transport of over 25 tonnes of vaccines from Europe to Brazil on a single flight required 36 temperature controlled containers using vapour compression cycle. Typically, active air freight containers use non-flammable HFC-134a in a battery-powered vapour compression cycle, with fully redundant electric heating and compressor cooling systems and an insulated container shell. The cooling capacity and the refrigerant charge are low. Given the extreme sensitivity of the vaccines to temperature fluctuations, the entire shipment, equivalent to about 1.8 million doses, had to be transported in the specialised containers to maintain a constant temperature of 5°C.
Transporting healthcare products by air demands a rigorous logistical approach. If mishandled, the intactness of these products can be compromised by temperature changes during transportation. The requirement for temperature-controlled handling, storage and transportation is expanding as the growth of newly developed drugs, especially biopharmaceuticals and many clinical trials require such special handling. With the pharmaceutical industry moving over one trillion dollars worth of cargo every year, upholding a shipment’s quality requires specific equipment, storage facilities, harmonized handling procedures and, above all, strong cooperation among the cold chain partners.
Source 1 : Ajot
Source 2 : Iata
Source 3 : Montreal Protocol