Investing in Cold Chain Logistics for the Future of Biologics

UPS Healthcare's global facility expansion will manage and safeguard the future of medicine.

UPS Healthcare facility

The future of the pharmaceutical industry is taking shape before our eyes, and it's dominated by complex data analysis, preventative care, in-home medical support, and temperature-controlled biologics and therapies.

According to the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook, cold chain trends show 48 percent expected growth between 2018 and 2024 for medicines that require at least 2 to 8 degrees Celsius storage and shipping. Additionally, the overall market for cold chain services (packaging, transportation and data services) is expected to significantly accelerate growth over the next three years, growing by 24 per cent by 2024, after posting a 10 per cent increase from 2019 to 2020.

It's no surprise that these drugs and therapies hold great promise, but they also pose a great challenge due to the temperature-sensitive nature of transport and storage, ranging anywhere from 8 degrees to minus-80 degrees Celsius. Outside those ranges, biologics can quickly lose efficacy.

Traditional supply chains have previously been adequate for distributing mass-production synthesised drugs. But what happens now with biologics that must ship across more complicated routes under temperature-sensitive conditions?

Enter UPS Healthcare™ Cold Chain

In May 2021, UPS became the leading carrier in the market with a dedicated healthcare vertical, offering a suite of cold chain technologies, best-in-class capabilities and expanded global facilities.

Investing in cold chain at the right time, in the right places

Most healthcare and pharma companies prefer to focus on what they do best - research and development. Managing logistics, especially complex shipments like biologics, can drain precious time and resources.

UPS Healthcare, building on expertise and leadership displayed throughout the pandemic, recently began an aggressive, global expansion plan of network investments which offers companies the best in cold chain logistics and will continue to support the future of the healthcare industry.

These investments will also include added global expertise, larger ground networks, new and expanded facilities, and more transparency to parcel movement -- expanding our capabilities to provide customers with a safe, trusted way to store and distribute products.

UPS Healthcare's global strategy also includes reusable parcel facilities in the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and Mexico, providing more sustainable shipping options and cost-cutting opportunities. These locations come online in 2021 and 2022.

UPS Healthcare facility interior view of operations with conveyor belts

Site-by-site improvement

The sheer scale of UPS Healthcare's cold chain expansion is most evident in the ongoing facility creation and expansions taking place in strategic areas around the world.

By the end of 2022, customers will have access to roughly one million new square feet of high-level disinfectant compliant support space in the cold chain network. End-to-end services will improve shipping efficiency and cut costs.

The modernisation of cold chain facilities mixes new construction and upgrades to existing facilities. Here's a look:

Australia (Sydney)

This expansion of an existing facility from 5,000 to close to 25,000 square meters will be completed in the second half of 2022. The new facility will feature significant cooler and freezer storage enhancements, accommodating products at 25 to minus-30 degrees Celsius. A Marken presence in the same building will allow customers to tap into high-touch specialty services needed for clinical trials. Ultimately, this specialty facility will better support Australia/New Zealand and Asia-Pacific markets with compliance, special storage, and handling needs for pharma, biotech, and medical devices.

Czech Republic (Ostrava)

This new facility, which started operations this past September, features 3,800 square meters of dedicated healthcare space. The UPS Healthcare team plans a multi-client network serving wholesalers and distributors across Central and Eastern Europe. A cooled area in the warehouse will add even more function at some future date.

Germany (Giessen)

This new facility will come online in December 2022, offering 15,000-20,000 square meters of storage, including 10 percent cooler space and four percent freezer space. The design includes a good manufacturing processes (GMP) room and a dangerous goods (DG) bunker, both with special features and a controlled environment to ensure quality and safety.

Netherlands (Roermond)

This facility, opening in early 2022, will provide urgently needed freezer farm capacity, a crucial link in a strong, reliable cold chain for a multitude of biopharma products – including vaccines – throughout Europe. The UPS Healthcare team has newly added some 1,900 pallet positions to the cooler capacity (2 to minus-8 degrees Celsius) and some 1,400 pallet positions to the freezer capacity (up to minus-20 degrees Celsius).

Poland (Blonie)

This expansion and modernisation of an existing facility will launch in December 2021. It will warehouse 550 additional pallets in an area of 24,500 square meters at controlled room temperature (CRT) conditions of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and cold conditions of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Louisville, KY (U.S.)

This new facility sits just three miles from UPS Worldport, the company's automated, international air hub. The Louisville space features a variety of first-of-its kind services in the U.S., and expansion has added 690 pallet positions of freezer storage capacity and 2,890 pallet positions of cooler storage capacity. With more than 32,700 square feet of total storage area, it offers ambient, refrigerator, freezer, ultra-low freezer storage capabilities and dry ice manufacturing.

Mira Loma, CA (U.S.)

Open for business in March 2022, this new facility will expand the local healthcare logistics campus to 213,000 square feet. The facility will have ambient, cooler and freezer space, including ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers, as well as storage capabilities for large numbers of medical devices, and for small- and large-molecule pharmaceuticals that require specific cold storage.

Adaptation leads to growth

The world of medicines, cold chains, medical devices and laboratories changes daily. It's up to forward-thinking, visionary organisations like UPS Healthcare to think about growth and expansion in ways that will deliver on promises that have the biggest impact on the industry.

Now with 125 strategically located GDP/GMP facilities in 34 countries, UPS Healthcare is well- positioned to lead the world into the Age of Biologics.

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