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Etihad Cargo expands cold storage capacity at Abu Dhabi Airport

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Etihad Cargo, in partnership with Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports, are preparing to launch a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical cool chain facility, which will significantly expand Abu Dhabi International Airport’s (AUH) pharmaceutical handling and storage. The expanded, dedicated pharmaceutical hub will double Abu Dhabi Airport’s cool chain storage capacity and enhance the airport’s capabilities for the storage, handling and transportation of cool chain products.

“Etihad Cargo is proud to have collaborated closely with Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports to launch the new pharmaceutical storage and handling facility. The expanded infrastructure will offer best-in-class pharmaceutical shipment solutions to Etihad Cargo’s customers and is the latest step in supporting Abu Dhabi’s vision to cement its position as a global pharmaceuticals and life sciences hub.”

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group

The latest cold storage facility will link the Middle East to not only Asia and Europe, but also the US and Africa, which will ensure seamless transportation of life-saving medicines and the latest treatments around the world. Etihad Cargo is aiming at being able to address the future challenges of pharma supply chain by investing into their infrastructure and Abu Dhabi hub. As a result, they will play a significant role in co-creating a robust and future-proof healthcare ecosystem in the UAE and around the world.

Etihad Cargo’s customers will benefit from the carrier’s expanded International Air Transport Association (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification for pharmaceutical and life science logistics, and provision of world-class, end-to-end temperature-controlled solutions for the transportation of pharmaceuticals across the carrier’s global network.

During the last year, Etihad Cargo transported over 50,000 tonnes of cool chain products. While the pharmaceutical and healthcare products were transported via its PharmaLife product, on the other hand, the fresh produce used the IATA CEIV Fresh-certified FreshForward product.

The additional 3,000 square-metre facility comprises the latest technology and features, including bulk loading docks with levellers, high-speed roll-up shutters, insulation and a real-time temperature monitoring system. The aforesaid infrastructure will enable efficient and fast loading, better control on temperature, more storage space, additional build-up and breakdown zones for improved production workflows, and upgraded cool chain facilities for Etihad Cargo’s PharmaLife product operations.

“The upcoming launch of this dedicated pharmaceuticals storage and handling facility will enhance AUH’s capabilities as a cargo hub and aligns with Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a global business, pharmaceutical and life science hub. The strong collaboration between Etihad Cargo, Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports will continue to increase pharmaceutical cargo volumes and further position Abu Dhabi as a major solutions provider in the logistics supply chain.”

Steven Polmans, Vice President of Business Development & Regulatory Affairs at Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone (ADAFZ)

To meet the requirements of personalised medication and treatment, including cell and gene therapies, Etihad Cargo is exploring the utilisation of artificial intelligence to improve forecasting and automation to enhance the carrier’s current capacity and capabilities.

Via the expanded cool chain facility, Etihad Cargo will also be further investing in sustainable solutions to make the transportation of pharmaceuticals more environmentally friendly, in line with Etihad Aviation Group’s sustainability plans and pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. More recently, Etihad Cargo entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the world’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled container.

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