UBCC 2021: The underlying importance of right packaging to keep the Cold Chain intact

Post By : Basundhara Choudhury
Post Date : August 11, 2021
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Eminent panellists on Day 2 of Agility India’s The Unbroken Cold Chain (UBCC) 2021 – A Thought Leadership Event Series, delved on the evolution of the packaging industry and the critical role that it played in ensuring an unbroken cold chain and seamless supply chain management.

The first session of Day 2, “Selection of right packaging – Cutting Waste & Optimizing space for Cold Chain”, saw experts exchange expert thoughts and ideas on making packaging solutions more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The panel, which was moderated by Rituparna Chaturvedi, Vertical Head India, Pharmaceuticals/ Life Sciences, Agility India, saw discussions around the role of packaging in regulating the efficient movement of shipments throughout the entire supply chain while preserving the quality of the components is a crucial one and packaging solutions now determine how to maximise consumer value, sales and profits of a company altogether. The panel appreciated efforts by companies to bring in the latest packaging solutions.

Christopher J Storch, Global Head of Sales, Va-Q-Tec Group talked about the need to make cold chain packaging more efficient, space-saving and environmental friendly. “At a time when there is increased demand for temperature-controlled logistics, globally in different industries like pharma, healthcare, perishable food, business and other verticals, temperature-controlled packaging solutions form a crucial part of maintaining the unbroken cold chain. This needs to be adjusted and need to comply with technical and regulatory requirements”, he said.

He also underlined how for environment friendliness, we have to look at reusing packaging solutions wherever possible.

He added that the industry needs to be in a place to replace damaged parts of packaging solutions wherever possible. For this, it is imperative to have a modular set up where damaged components can be replaced. By replacing single parts, we can save resources and cost.

Pratik Mehta, Head – Cargo Business, Bangalore International Airport Ltd talked about responding to partnerships more effectively and delved on BIAL’s “Go green” initiative.   

For sustainability, he underlined five focus areas: water, energy, environment, waste and ecological management. Mr Mehta also spoke about the best practices to lower the damage of products and packaging. He also focussed on airport connectivity and the importance of having the flexibility to choose the right route.

BVR Vijaya Bhaskar, Manufacturing and Supply Lead, Pfizer Healthcare Pvt touched upon the core of UBCC’s initiative and delved deep on visibility and infrastructure side. He shared that a change in primary packaging material for a pharma industry will require lot of regulatory pricing. He suggested weight reduction or optimised palletisation in lieu of that.

He also spoke about how important it is to monitor temperature throughout the journey of the consignment. At present, time tested and temperature-controlled devices are being used.

The type and thickness of insulations for the products have also changed in a way that it now sustains throughout the transit from the factory to the destination.

“While we are taking utmost precautions, we are also witnessing temperature excursions”, he said while delving into areas that need improvement.

Dominique Mayer, Senior Director- Global, Quality, Lifesciences, Agility spoke about the need of using more reliable solutions that are cost-effective. He also underlined how pre-clearance optimisation is important. “The one-size-fits-all concept is still being practised in the industry which should go away,” he said.

Samit Jain, MD – Pluss Advanced Technologies gave an overview of the type of packaging solutions that are present and spoke about how opting for a single type of plastic makes it easier for recycling. Putting an aluminium layer on top of packaging can be removed, he noted, while talking about sustainable packaging solutions.

Packaging now should be less about seeming attractive and more about its potential impact on the environment, he maintained.

Other eminent experts who joined the session included Andrew Meyers, Global Director of Cold Chain Consultants, highlighted that not one type, size of cold chain packaging fit for all requirements. Customization and Modularity in packaging is the need of the hour. Ravi Kumar Tummalapalli, Head of Logistics – APAC, Japan and China – TEVA Pharmaceuticals presented back to the basic saying ‘Reduce, Re-Use, Re-Cycle’ are key to environmental conservation and Pranav Malik, Head – EXIM Operations, Field Fresh Foods demonstrated thin line difference between Perishable & Pharma Cold Chain requirement.

The session concluded with some great actionable insights that could result in visible results if implemented in a planned and strategic way.

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