A Bentley for the price of a Skoda: Why active containers turn out to be cheaper

Anna Järphammar Communication Manager
anna.jarphammar@envirotainer.com

More than 150,000 pallets of pharmaceuticals are shipped in Envirotainer’s active containers per year. In May, the company had a record low 0.03% temperature deviations, meaning that virtually all shipments stayed within the set temperature interval. For the first half of 2021, Envirotainer is delivering well below 0.1% in temperature deviations and even more importantly, zero product losses. This differs dramatically from the industry at large.

IATA reported a few years ago that as much as 20% of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals are exposed to temperature deviations due to a broken cold chain1. Furthermore, 25% of all vaccines have degraded when they reach their destination because of incorrect shipping1. The reason for choosing less reliable shipping methods is usually the belief that active containers are more expensive, but this is frequently not the case.

Get help to calculate Total Landed Cost

When it comes to the pharma cold chain, it can pay off to check whether active containers could be a better option. Active containers keep a constant temperature inside the container, indefinitely if batteries are regularly recharged. Many take for granted that passive shipping alternatives, basically insulated boxes without active temperature-control, are cheaper than active containers.

"We recommend everyone to calculate Total Landed Cost. Our active containers are much more volume efficient, so you can fit many more products in the container compared to a passive container of the same size. Now that air freight rates have changed due to the lack of air freight capacity, our containers can often be a more cost-efficient option. And you get a lot for the money – you get a Bentley for the price of a Skoda, considering the vastly improved protection for the products," says Kersten Drummer, Head of Key Accounts, Forwarders at Envirotainer.

To help customers minimize the costs of their cold chain pharma shipments, Envirotainer offers help with load optimization and calculating Total Landed Cost.

"We have a Load Optimization Tool that customers can use, and we’re always ready to help them with their calculations. We also offer help with calculating Total Landed Cost. There’s money to be saved if you take the time to dig a bit deeper into the shipment costs. Also, temperature excursions can result in products having to be discarded and replaced. This is costly both in terms of money and for the environment. Many don’t know that these costs can be avoided without emptying your wallet," says Kersten Drummer.

New air freight rates make active containers more attractive

Air freight rates take both freight weight and freight volume into account. Air cargo space is limited – and has become even more so in the wake of the corona pandemic – and this has influenced air freight rates.

To minimize shipment costs, it is essential to keep a close eye on volume efficiency. A packaging solution in which you can maximize the number of products shipped will often turn out to be cheaper. Active cold chain containers have far less insulation material, meaning that the air cargo space can be used much more efficiently.

Real-life example: Save money by shipping in active containers

Some time ago, Envirotainer helped a customer calculate Total Landed Cost for shipping 200,000 boxes of pharmaceuticals. When compared to a passive pallet (half PMC), the customer could actually save €0.3 per box by using the active container RAP e2 from Envirotainer, with advanced electric cooling and heating technology to safeguard the pharmaceuticals. The total savings per year, based on 200,000 boxes, was €55,000. In short, the customer could save money by using a superior cold chain solution.

"Volume efficiency has become more important, and our active containers are outstanding in that aspect, apart from being able to keep temperature deviations to a minimum. I would also like to add that with the current capacity shortages, it becomes even more crucial not to lose products due to temperature excursions during the shipment," explains Kersten Drummer.

Releye® RLP: the new reliable container with 170 hours of autonomy

With the launch of the new active container Releye® RLP, Envirotainer aims at providing customers even more peace of mind with a cold chain container that offers unsurpassed 170 hours of autonomy. Meaning that you don’t have to recharge batteries for more than a week. With redundancy on all critical parts, Releye® RLP is probably the most reliable container on the cold chain market.

The new container also has a new size, 3 Euro pallets. That places Releye® RLP between Envirotainer’s bigger 5 Euro pallet container RAP e2 and its smaller 1 Euro pallet container RKN e1. Compared to the 1 pallet RKN format, Releye® RLP utilizes the space of two RKN containers on an aircraft to deliver three Euro pallets, an increase in volume efficiency of 50%.

"Our goal is to always raise the bar of what we can offer to our customers. With Releye® RLP our customers will have even better opportunities to optimize shipped volumes. Apart from offering extra safety margins, Releye® RLP is a medium sized container, so there are more shipping alternatives to maximize the use of the aircraft cargo space," comments Kersten Drummer.

References

1. IATA, CEIV, Center of Excellence for Independent Validators, Pharmaceutical Handling, How to Become CEIV Pharma Certified, Q1 2018, https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/pharma/Documents/ceiv-pharma-specifications.pdf

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