If it’s an IATA certified cold chain, this must be Belgium

An appropriately chilly Thursday in Belgium

Brussels airport has become the first European shipping hub to adopt a cold-chain certification programme for pharmaceutical cargo that industry group IATA claims “goes beyond” GDP requirements.

The decision – announced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) today – means that ground handlers, freight forwarders, truckers and airlines that use the Belgian airport will be trained how to ship pharmaceutical products in temperature controlled conditions.

IATA – which is an industry group for airlines – claimed the CEIV certification scheme “goes beyond the good distribution practices (GDP) covering air transport requirements and said it will allow Brussels-based stakeholders to offer pharmaceutical companies “the competitive advantage of assuring cold-chain integrity to their clients.”

Under current European Commission (EC) GDP guidelines organisations involved in shipping drugs and ingredients are required to have suitable equipment and procedures to monitor the temperature of storage areas.

The guidelines state that: "An initial temperature mapping exercise should be carried out on the storage area before use, under representative conditions. Temperature monitoring equipment should be located according to the results of the mapping exercise, ensuring that monitoring devices are positioned in areas that experience the extremes of fluctuations."

Beyond GDP

IATA spokesman Chris Goater told Outsourcing-pharma.com the certification scheme encompasses EU guidelines, national ones like that of the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA), WHO GDP standards and IATA temperature control regulations.

He added that it “It also goes beyond the GDP as all industry stakeholders can decide to undertake the CEIV certification whereas traditional GDP are more focused on wholesalers or distributors.

Finally, it incorporates all the specificities of the air cargo industry whereas the GDP are generic across all modes of transport and to that effect IATA has the expertise.”

Goater explained that third party firms that undertake the training will be required to pass an exam in order to obtain an IATA diploma and added that regular onsite assessments will also be carried out.

Certification will need to be renewed every two years.

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