Covid-19 fuels growth of temp-controlled pharma packaging

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Spurred on by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the global temperature-controlled packaging for the pharmaceutical market is set to grow 9.48 per cent over the period 2020-2027.

A new market research report by Market Research Future (MRFR) says a number of factors are driving the growth, with Covid-19 leading the immediate charge.

Cold chain solutions have evolved as the pharmaceutical industry caters to the growing demand among patients and the rise of lifestyle diseases. The development of new drugs and therapies can spur the demand for cold chain logistics, says MRFR. “The packaging market is driven by strict regulations to enhance distribution methods of pharmaceutical goods”.

Immediate growth is being driven by the desperate need to get the various Covid-19 vaccines to health authorities around the world. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lucrative pocket for temperature-controlled packaging solution developers in the pharmaceutical industry,” says MRFR.

It notes that guidelines outlined by health organisations for the preservation of vaccines and drugs have led to the development of containers and shippers capable of maintaining the vaccine’s integrity in spite of the container being exposed to ambient temperatures. Dry ice has been utilised for maintaining the thermal temperature of the sensitive vaccines.pharma cool chain

Temperature-controlled packaging containers are being developed by keeping the sustainability factor in mind, the research company says. Specifically, they are being designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions, adhere to quality standards and reduce the risks while delivering defective products.

Logistics companies are integrating digital technologies for monitoring and tracking their products. For instance, Softbox has partnered with Pfizer in the supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with the help of a reusable ultra-low temperature insulated shipper.

Shippers vs containers
By product, the temperature-controlled packaging for the pharmaceutical market has been divided into insulated shippers and insulated containers. The insulated shippers segment accounted for more than 62 per cent market share.

MRFR says this segment stood at a valuation of USD 3.17 billion and is projected to display a CAGR of 9.26 per cent during the seven-year period. This is due to rising investments in insulated packaging solutions which offer effective packaging solutions for temperature-sensitive and time-critical products.

Insulated shippers are lightweight containers used in the shipping of sensitive products and MRFR says the development of reusable insulated shippers for the distribution of low-temperature vaccines is likely to further boost demand.

Covid-19 vaccine Softbox shippers
UPS delivery service arrives with SoftBox boxes containing the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at the CHSLD geriatric care, where the first patients will be vaccinated in Montreal, Canada, 14 December 2020. The first patients in Canada will be vaccinated there with the Pfizer BionNtech vaccine. EPA/ANDRE PICHETTE

Active vs passive
The active systems segment controls the major share of the temperature-controlled packaging for the pharmaceutical market, according to the report. “It is expected to remain highly attractive over the next couple of years,” the report says noting it is projected to surpass a market valuation of USD 5.0 billion over the forecast period.

By temperature range, the market has been segmented into more than 20°C, Up to 10°C, and 10°C to 20°C. The up to 10°C segment is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 9.93 per cent during the forecast period. It accounted for 48.2 per cent market share in 2017.

MRFR says this is due to the increasing use of packaging solutions with a temperature range of up to 10°C in high-risk products such as blood products, vaccines, insulins, and other protein-dense pharma products.

On the basis of payload capacity, the market has been segmented into more than 150 L, 40-150 L, up to 10 L, 10-20 L, and 20-40 L. The up to 10 L segment currently accounts for the largest market share. It is expected to touch a market valuation of over USD 2.6 billion over the forecast period.

Type of use
By type of use, the market is split into single-use and reusable. The single-use segment is leading the market due to its disposable nature accounting for more than two-thirds of the market share in 2017. But the reusable segment is touted to deliver a sharp growth rate over the forecast period owing to sustainable measures taken by pharmaceutical packaging experts.

End-use industries of the market are pharmaceutical and clinical trials with the former segment set to deliver higher performance than the latter throughout the forecast period, the researchers say. In 2017, the pharmaceutical exceeded a value of USD 4.0 billion. This performance is a result of the growing supply of drugs and blood to patients at hospitals and critical care centres.

Regional outlook
North America is expected to be highly lucrative for the market owing to various lifestyle diseases, a large volume of patients, and large disposable income levels.

Stringent safety policies pertaining to pharmaceutical products and a growing geriatric population will likely boost this region’s market demand, MRFR says. Trade agreements between countries and a boom in international trade will also augur favourably for the market, it adds.

emirates envirotainer
The covid-19 vaccines require differing temperature control compliance, adding to the complication of getting them out across the world.

APAC is also deemed to be extremely lucrative owing to the rise of infectious diseases and the need for cold chain solutions for preserving vaccines. Recently, Envirotainer decided to establish a new station in India for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines.

The new station is expected to host RAP e2 and RKN e1 containers and play a critical role in air freight solutions. Acquisitions are expected to grow in the region as the market undergoes consolidation, it adds.

Competitive landscape
The MRFR report notes that the temperature-controlled pharma packaging market is very competitive and marked by expansions and alliances.

Key players involved in the market are va-Q-tec AG, Pelican Bio Thermal, Storopack Hans Reichenecker, Cold Chain Technologies, Envirotainer, Sofrigam, KUEHNE + NAGEL, DHL International, United Parcel Service (UPS), DB Schenker, Sonoco ThermoSafe, and Softbox Systems.

Sonoco ThermoSafe is dominating the market with 5.2 per cent market share. “This is due to its large product portfolio of protective packaging, insulated slippers, and durable insulated containers,” says MRFR, adding that it is “focusing its efforts on expansions and product developments for gaining customers”.

On the other hand, Storopack Hans Reichenecker has 3.8 per cent market share with customised packaging solutions coupled with cushioning to deter any impact during road transport.

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