Life Sciences Hand Carries: Risks & Challenges of Transporting Temperature-Controlled Products
1. Life Sciences Hand Carry overview
Hospitals, donation centres and clinics are often looking to send Life Sciences products across the globe for transplant and research purposes. Temperature-controlled logistics is of importance as these products are sensitive to atmospheric conditions and need to maintained at a certain temperature. Regarding these specific requirements, the ideal transport way is through a dedicated On-Board Courier that hand carries a shipment (including the thermal container and required documents) on board. This ensures its safe and fast transportation to the final destination.
Rather than proceeding a long waiting time, hand-carry deliveries are fast and secure as the courier carries the shipment with him/her into the passenger cabin. This delivery method provides a high level of supervision throughout the journey, leading to successful life-saving deliveries.
2. The Transport Procedure of Stem Cells
STEP 1: Once a donor is found as a match for a patient, the stem cells are extracted via apheresis technology. The medical team ensures the number of stem cells collected from the donor corresponds with the number of stem cells required by the recipient. Afterwards, the shipment is ready for pickup.
STEP 2: The stem cells are placed into the Credo Cube. The Credo Cubes will maintain a stable temperature of between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius throughout the journey and are used to protect valuable Life Science products. To maintain the quality of bone marrow throughout the transport process, a data logger will be placed in the box to record the temperature.
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STEP 3: The On-Board Courier carries the Credo Cube and contents to its destination. Throughout the shipment process, the courier stays alert and monitors the temperature to ensure the bone marrow remains in a good condition until the shipment arrives at the final destination.
3. Risks & Challenges of Life Sciences Hand Carries
Hand carries are the fastest and safest way to transport bone marrow shipments, however, there are significant risks and challenges that come with this delivery method that need to be mitigated by the logistics partner.
Packaging for stem cell transport needs to meet a high standard. Improper ways of handling the shipment can lead to stem cells issues. The logistics provider should be knowledgeable on Good Distribution Practice (GDP) regulations and provide high-quality packaging.
For example, the right packaging size and validation time will be determined in the shipment preparation process. Furthermore, the hand carry provider must assemble the packaging by placing the outer carton, package insulated base, PCMs, product, package insulated lid and temperature data logger accordingly. Without proper packaging, products cannot be maintained at the required temperature.
As mentioned, the optimal temperature for stem cells transport is between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. However, temperature excursions may occur if the Life Sciences products are not protected throughout the transport. For instance, shipments are not held properly, or are exposed to X-rays. Consequently, these factors cause external temperature to get into the Credo Cubes, and eventually endanger the life-saving cells.
Delays due to Inaccurate Paperwork
Another considerable risk are delays due to inaccurate paperwork. When On-Board Couriers are going through customs and security checkpoints, the right paperwork is needed for a smooth delivery. Moreover, if the paperwork is not held by the courier, the Customs Authority might detain or temporarily seize the undeclared product, which can eventually cause delays.
Flight cancellation due to coronavirus restrictions
Due to Covid-19, various countries have imposed restrictions or even lockdowns. As a result, airlines might cancel certain flight routes and reduce flight options overall. There are numerous countries that have been affected such as Singapore, India, Hong Kong, Australia, etc. This poses a huge challenge when it comes to transporting temperature-controlled products.
Lack of qualified On-Board Couriers
Well-trained On-Board Couriers are required for Life Sciences hand carries as they should have excellent knowledge in handling temperature-controlled products. They are capable of:
- Hand carrying the product and maintaining temperature parameters as set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) regulations throughout the journey.
- Monitoring the data logger and ensuring the temperature range is between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius at all times. If the temperature falls outside of this temperature range, they will immediately inform the client about the situation.
- Submitting the required customs paperwork and giving explanations to the Customs Authority if needed.
- Providing updates to the logistics company and recipient during every step of the hand carry transport, from check-in to customs clearance.
However, there is a lack of qualified On-Board Couriers due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. This leads to a significant challenge of Life Sciences hand carries.
How Royale provides solutions to overcome these challenges?
To overcome these challenges, Royale International has developed a Life Sciences Division that specializes in the worldwide handling and transportation of on-time and sensitive temperature-controlled products. In terms of packaging, we provide high-quality packaging with the right type, size, material, and validation time, ensuring your product is safely delivered to the final destination. Furthermore, we proceed the paperwork for your Life Sciences shipment. Ranging from customs clearance to import/ export permits and product verification reports, all documents that we process have fulfilled the requirements of Customs Authority, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and Bone Marrow Worldwide Organisation (WMDA) regulations.
On the other hand, Royale offers the best Life Sciences solutions with flexible flight routes. Despite flight cancellation in various countries, we are able to arrange transit flights with different airlines, assuring your shipments arrive at the right time and right place. Most importantly, our team incorporates professional and well-trained couriers globally, ensuring the highest level of security and personal care of your temperature-controlled products.
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Our dedicated team understands the critical nature of the industry and ensures your shipment arrives at the right time, right place, and within its required temperature!