Korean Air, SkyCell partner on hybrid container leasing

Korean Air B747-8i
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Korean Air Cargo and SkyCell sign an agreement for the cargo carrier to lease SkyCell’s hybrid containers. The partnership follows SkyCell’s recent launch of a service centre in Seoul and the appointment of Charlie Cho as business development director for Korea as of 1 January.

The agreement on hybrid container leasing comes at a crucial point as logistics demands rise around COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and related treatments this year.

SkyCell notes that cold-chain maintenance for vaccine transportation is a significant challenge for the global logistics industry, particularly during the current pandemic, and through this partnership SkyCell and Korean Air say they can ensure these life-saving medicines reach patients “timely and in pristine condition”.

Eum Jae Dong, Senior Vice President and Head of Cargo Business Division at Korean Air
Eum Jae Dong, Senior Vice President and Head of Cargo Business Division at Korean Air.

Eum Jae Dong, senior vice president and head of Cargo Business Division at Korean Air comments: “We were attracted to the fact that Skycell has recently opened a new station in Seoul, and that its sustainable and self-recharging hybrid containers are in line with our green management policy.

“Through this agreement, we are pleased to expand our service offering to the pharma industry with SkyCell’s hybrid containers and provide our clients with a safe and sustainable solution to protect sensitive products.”

Chiara Venuti, director of Business Development and head of Airline Partnerships at SkyCell adds: “We at SkyCell are proud to partner with Korea Air and ensure vital medicine reach their destinations fast and without spoilage.

“As we navigate this difficult time together we are committed to helping our partners achieve their goals, and ensure these vital medicines are transported in a safe and timely manner. When shipping vital pharmaceutical products, there is no room for error, and we are happy to support Korean Air to ship pharmaceuticals in a sustainable way,” Venuti says.

Chiara Venuti, Director of Business Development and Head of Airline Partnerships at SkyCell
Chiara Venuti, Director of Business Development and Head of Airline Partnerships at SkyCell.

The Korean pharmaceutical industry has seen rapid growth over the last five years almost three times faster than the manufacturing sector at an annual rate of around 7.0 per cent. This growth has been led by locally developed novel therapies and biosimilars.

Exports of Korean pharmaceuticals marked an all-time high of USD 7.4 billion last year, an increase of 74.4 per cent from 2019. The partnership will meet the growing demand for hybrid containers as safe and sustainable pharma solutions for sensitive and critical drugs such as oncology drugs, SkyCell says.

“As the ‘tiger nation’ for pharma export, South Korea needs reliable and sustainable cold chain solutions,” notes Charlie Cho, business development director Korea. “SkyCell’s hybrid containers offer Korean pharma shippers the reliability they require while reducing the carbon footprint.”

Charlie Cho, Business Development Director Korea
Charlie Cho, Business Development Director Korea, Korean Air.

SkyCell says its hybrid containers allow pharma companies to optimise supply chains using data to predict and control risk. Using over three-quarters of a billion data-points on factors like temperature, location, and time, SkyCells says it enables a “market-leading and audited failure rate of less than 0.1 per cent, while reducing CO2 emissions by almost half.”

In 2019, Korean Air was awarded the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification. IATA’s ‘CEIV Pharma’ is an international standard that indicates an airline’s capability to manage pharmaceuticals, including the handling procedure, equipment, and facilities. More than 280 checklists are evaluated by validators to authorise the certification. Korean Air highlights that in partnership with SkyCell, Korean Air will continue to meet, and exceed, these standards.”

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