A few weeks back when it was too hot to fly in Phoenix, Arizona, the global news networks showed us scenes of air passenger disruptions and the valiant efforts of problem-solving ground staff. But my first thoughts were for the cargo, specifically the temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and medical devices held on the sweltering airport apron for longer than anticipated, their time-critical journeys interrupted, rerouted, rescheduled.

It’s a tough job for carriers to achieve excellence in life sciences and healthcare handling. When ground temperatures are too high, it affects aircraft lift and engine performance. At 35,000 feet, air temperatures fall to -51°C (-60°F). Wind shear can cause sometimes violent turbulence and velocity changes. A heavy downpour can result in hydroplaning and uncertain impact for cargo. Despite all of these challenges in air transportation, extremely vulnerable pharmaceuticals must be transported with end-to-end cold chain traceability, sensitive items (including multimillion dollar equipment) must arrive undamaged, and everything has to be delivered on time. It’s business as usual, as lives may depend on it.

Because it’s a tough job, DHL decided to create an annual carrier award for reliability and excellence in life sciences and healthcare air shipment handling. Called the DHL CARE Award, it recognizes companies that ensure the highest levels of air cargo shipment quality and ground handling, along with demonstrating innovation in both technology and process.

We announced the winners of this year’s DHL CARE Award at the DHL Global Life Sciences and Healthcare Conference in Singapore in June – Lufthansa Cargo & Swiss WorldCargo, United Cargo, and Emirates SkyCargo. Well done to you all for high levels of shipment performance combined with rigorous certification, bold infrastructure investments and more.

As Mother Nature continues to disrupt the best laid shipment plans, and as customers demand faster and more flexible delivery of medications, medical devices and other life sciences products, we congratulate all of the carriers delivering essential temperature-controlled air services with high levels of speed, shipment quality and visibility.

Published: August 2017

Images: Shutterstock/DHL