Cold-Chain Logistics Supports the Growing Demand for Korean Healthcare Shipments

How crucial is a reliable cold chain logistics and supply chain for safe and swift healthcare shipments? Eun-Mi Chae, managing director of FedEx Express Korea, shares her views here.

The megatrends of longer life expectancy, global population growth and the rise of the emerging market middle class are driving an increased demand for healthcare goods. This demand is forecast to grow as the Asia Pacific middle class expands to account for two-thirds of the global middle class by 2030.[1]

The growth of the healthcare industry is good news for Korea, which represents the third largest pharmaceuticals market in Asia.[2] Korean pharma sales are forecast to grow to KRW 19.9 trillion by 2020[3]. Moreover, Asia Pacific sees a growing demand for the transport of a range of healthcare shipments that includes highly sophisticated clinical trial logistics; high-value pharma and biologics; medical devices; and, temperature-sensitive shipments.

Korean healthcare businesses can ride on these opportunities by expanding their business to overseas markets. Key to their expansion is optimizing their supply-chain to deliver these potentially life-changing shipments.

Logistics and transport need to be integrated into a company’s Quality System to ensure compliance with the regulatory and customs requirements in different markets. It’s crucial to collaborate with a reliable logistics provider that can offer quality assurance for the entire transportation process including a detailed audit trail throughout a shipment’s journey and Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) with proven standard operating procedures and protocols.

Given that about 40 percent of all healthcare products are temperature-sensitive, Cold Chain transportation plays a critical role in shipping these goods around the world. The right logistics partner will have cold chain best practices in place so that a specific temperature range is maintained throughout the shipping process while ensuring completion timelines are upheld and budgets are managed.[4] Together with a logistics provider, healthcare companies can pre-set KPIs and measurement, and implement technical tools like tracking devices, calibrations and reporting procedures.

The logistics provider needs to offer end-to-end temperature-controlled vehicles (TCV) that are optimized to handle cold chain shipments from pick up to delivery along with a range of services while the shipment is in transit. For example, passive packaging technology utilizes phase change, dry ice and gel packs to maintain temperature, while active packaging technology has power sources for fans or compressors.

Visibility, control and security of healthcare products throughout the shipment journey are vital. Companies need a logistics provider with the technology that can offer monitoring of and notifications about the integrity of the shipment.

Unexpected situations can happen. A logistics partner must have contingency plans in place so that proactive steps can be taken if issues arise during the shipment’s journey. In addition, it’s essential that the logistics provider has cold chain facilities in key airport gateways so that shipments can be stored at the right temperatures when necessary.

Korean healthcare companies can position themselves for success by collaborating with a reliable logistics provider so that their shipments reach their destinations safely and securely.


[1]The unprecedented expansion of the global middle class”, Brookings, February 28, 2017

[2]2016 Top Markets Report Pharmaceuticals Country Case Study – South Korea”, US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration’s Statistics

[3]2016 Top Markets Report Pharmaceuticals Country Case Study – South Korea”, US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration’s Statistics

[4] “The BSMA and envirotainer collaborate to provide free education to the biopharma industry”, Healthcare Packaging, January 21, 2017