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Pharma shippers turn to sea freight for reliability

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Pharmaceutical shippers have urged airlines to become more reliable, in a good-natured discussion at the Life Science and Pharmaceuticals conference last week in London.

Global category leader for AstraZeneca, Julian Wann, said that by the end of next year the company would be sending 70% of its volumes by sea, while this year it was 44%. Mr Wann said that with air freight 78% more expensive per kilo than sea, it was partly a price-related decision – but he argued that the complexity of the air cargo supply chain meant that in some cases air freight was less secure and had higher risks.

“It’s not all about price – it’s about getting there,” he said. “The value is in having the right product at the right place at the right time – and the highest percentage of our problems come from air freight.”