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Etihad doubles cool storage capacity at Abu Dhabi Airport

The facility, which is set to open soon, would enhance pharmaceutical handling and storage at Abu Dhabi International Airport

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AD Airport signs with Etihad

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, is preparing to expand its pharmaceutical cold chain facility in collaboration with Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports. The facility, which is set to open soon, would enhance pharmaceutical handling and storage at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

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

Etihad Cargo transported over 50,000 tonnes of cool chain products in the past twelve months, including pharmaceutical and healthcare products via its PharmaLife product and fresh produce via its IATA CEIV Fresh-certified FreshForward product, prior to the opening of the new pharmaceutical facility at the carrier's Abu Dhabi hub.

The opening of the new, dedicated pharmaceutical hub will quadruple Abu Dhabi Airport's cool chain storage capacity and improve the airport's capabilities for cool chain storage, processing, and transportation.

"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," said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group.

"This joint venture located at Etihad Cargo's hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport provides the perfect location to link the Middle East to not only Asia and Europe, but also the US and Africa, so life-saving medicines and the latest treatments can be transported seamlessly around the world to those that need them the most. Investment into the carrier's infrastructure and Abu Dhabi hub will enable Etihad Cargo to meet the future challenges of the pharma supply chain and will play a significant role in co-creating a robust and future-proof healthcare ecosystem here in the UAE and around the world."

The additional 3,000-square-metre facility includes the most recent technology and features, such as bulk loading docks with levellers, high-speed roll-up shutters, insulation, and a real-time temperature monitoring system, which will allow for faster and more efficient loading with stricter temperature controls, increased storage space, additional build-up and breakdown zones for improved production workflows, and upgraded cool chain facilities for Etihad Cargo's PharmaLife ha. The new facility will also have new x-ray screening for customs inspections within a completely temperature-controlled environment and new specialized thermal coverings.

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

The new cool chain facility will allow for the safe storage and handling of a wide variety of pharmaceutical items that need varying temperatures and conditions. PharmaLife offers premium customised solutions to manage temperature-controlled settings ranging from -80 to 25 degrees Celsius via the carrier's array of leased active and hybrid containers to fulfill the standards for transporting dangerous products in frozen and deep-frozen conditions. Etihad Cargo also uses standard temperature containers that range from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Jubran Al Breiki, General Manager, Etihad Airport Services – Ground & Cargo, said, "This state-of-the-art pharmaceutical facility has been made possible through the partnership between Etihad Airport Services, Etihad Cargo and Abu Dhabi Airports and the expertise each brings to a project of this scale. In addition to offering a fully equipped pharmaceuticals centre, temperature-controlled rooms and 24/7 end-to-end cargo support, the innovative systems within the facility enable pharmaceuticals to be effectively tracked and traced. This benefits Etihad Cargo's customers and all other stakeholders with greater transparency, real-time status updates and makes the transportation of cargo quicker and more efficient."

From the newly established pharmaceuticals hub, Etihad Cargo will continue to work closely with customers and partners to ensure the smooth, efficient, safe and on-time delivery of pharmaceuticals and life sciences products. 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. The carrier has already replaced 3,000 containers from its original aluminium unit load device (ULD) fleet with a more environmentally friendly, lightweight version. 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. In the coming months, Etihad Cargo will be participating in Pharma. Aero's green pharma lane project, expanding on the successful launch of Pharma Corridor 2.0.

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