How China Southern Airlines improved its capabilities of temperature-controlled shipping to Europe

China Southern Airlines has quickly become a strong player for shipments of pharmaceuticals in Europe. To improve its capabilities and product offerings, the company was looking for a partner that could help them develop a premium solution for temperature-controlled shipments. China Southern Airlines has now entered into partnership with Envirotainer that has provided both extensive training and knowledge. According to Mr Peng SUN, Regional General Manager at China Southern Airlines Europe, the company is now confident to approach pharmaceutical companies on the European market.

China Southern Airlines is one of the largest airlines, with fleet over 850 aircrafts, servicing 224 cities in over 40 countries globally. The company has the largest cargo capacity in Asia, including all its passenger aircraft belly and cargo fleet with 14 B77F and 2 B747F, serving major cargo markets such as America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and south-east Asia.

Pharmaceutical shipping is relatively new to the company but has evolved very rapidly over the years. China Southern Airlines is CEIV Pharma Certified for both airline operations and operations in Guangzhou, where the company has two cold warehouses to provide high-quality services for its customers.

Improved offerings with active temperature-controlled shipping

Previously, China Southern Airlines has offered temperature-controlled shipping using passive packaging solutions. The company wanted however to expand its offerings to be able to meet the requirements for stricter temperature control and the demands of the growing market of sensitive pharmaceuticals and biologics.

It did not take long for the company to find Envirotainer and conclude that it was a good player to partner with. With active containers from Envirotainer, China Southern Airlines could offer a premium and cost-efficient solution for temperature-controlled shipments. The representatives at Envirotainer were professional, helped develop the new premium service offerings and could provide extensive training and other services necessary. For Envirotainer, the partnership is an excellent opportunity to extend its network of partners across the globe.

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Premium shipping solution for sensitive pharmaceuticals

In spring 2020, managers from the head office as well as other employees from China Southern Airlines received training covering everything from leasing, operations, and quality related aspects. Employees were also provided with hands-on training to physically operate containers at Envirotainer’s Centre of Excellence station in Singapore. All training was finished just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after, the first business opportunity emerged. The first batch of commercial shipments out of Europe was originated from Basel, Switzerland, containers were prioritized out of two major gateways of China Southern Airlines, Amsterdam and Frankfurt to Pudong in Shanghai simultaneously.

“The whole incubation process gave us the feeling that people at Envirotainer are highly professional, the technology is cutting edge, and the container hardware well maintained. We are very comfortable to keep selling this product in the future,” comments Peng Sun.

A successful launch despite the Corona pandemic

Thanks to the high level of professionalism at China Southern Airlines, the company has had a successful launch despite the Corona pandemic.

“These days our European team has been working under great pressure to maintain the same level of service despite the Corona pandemic. To handle a completely new product under these circumstances needs devotion, enthusiasm, and ten times the effort than usual. The Pharma team at our head office gave us great support, as well as our team in Shanghai Pudong Airport. I must say the first crab has been quite difficult to eat, but we do enjoy the process,” comments Peng Sun.

Envirotainer continues investments in the APAC region

The APAC region is a focused area for Envirotainer with continuous investments and upgrades of services with more flexible lease packages of active containers. The airline partner network has expanded progressively since 2012 when the APAC regional office in Singapore was opened.

Clients can now benefit from more options of one-way leases and the company is continuously extending its network of stations.

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