Compliance Manager, Gefco Forwarding Netherlands B.V.: Sarina Walidin

What changes do you see happening in relation to pharmaceutical models and trends globally? For example, serialisation and digitalisation.

Freight forwarders have developed and invested a lot to ensure compliance with the European Union (EU) serialisation legislation that went into effect in February 2019. The pharma industry is one of the most demanding industries in this respect, because medicinal product data needs to be visible and accessible throughout the chain. This means that everyone in the chain - acting on behalf of the freight forwarder - has to retrieve real time data and needs to create visibility to provide customers with ‘chain data’.

With serialisation, can you provide some insight into the work you are doing on this project?

At GEFCO Amsterdam and in the UK we have implemented serialisation facilities in accordance with the EU Serialisation Guidelines. GEFCO facilities are able to perform verification checks and decommission medicinal products for export outside of the EU. As the last storage entity within the EU, it is mandatory that we are able to decommission for Customs and other authorities, because this is the last point in the chain where medicinal products can be decommissioned before they enter the aircraft.

How is the Pharma Gateway Amsterdam (PGA) tackling this subject?

PGA has launched a project team to align the services performed at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. PGA started off by obtaining CEIV certification as a ‘closed chain’, but we are now working in project teams by focusing on specific subjects, such as track and trace and new regulatory requirements.

From an innovation perspective, do you think the pharma air cargo business will be driven by people or technology?

Developments in the pharma industry are moving at a fast pace, and technology and digitalisation will replace a lot of manual work. As medicinal products are required to be serialised from production level, pharma shippers are likely to desire visibility of the complete chain from manufacturing to final delivery. A combination of product location, temperature, humidity, serial number, and batch number will become the ‘common data set’ that must travel with the product and be accessible to shippers.